A geological playground of nature and self-discovery, Queenstown, New Zealand is an adventurer’s playground. From lakes and valleys to mountainous peaks, every day presents a new opportunity for exploration. To truly get in touch with this natural wonderland, the best method of transportation is on foot. Learn about some of the best hiking opportunities Queenstown has to offer in this week’s blog.
It may be named after a long since departed monarch from another time, but visit Queenstown today and it isn’t at all difficult to see why it was considered a town fit for a queen. The Māori name Tāhuna means shallow bay, and it is from that bay that you can begin to see the majesty and might of the mountains that it finds itself nestled within. As you stand gazing up at these magnificent Southern Alps, it is indeed very difficult to ignore their call as they beckon you toward the ultimate alpine adventure.
Te Wahipounamu is, not surprisingly, a World Heritage Area and home to The Routeburn Track, one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand. While 32km may seem like a short hike, there is nothing small about it in the least, and you can expect around three solid days of hiking. Fitting words will elude your vocabulary for these few days, suffice to say that referring to the views you will encounter as ‘grand’ falls shy of the mark. Expansive panoramas lead to stunning vistas, taking your breath just as surely as the challenge of the climb itself.
Your introduction to this magnificent climb is gentle and inviting, as the consoling warmth and comfort of beech and moss guide you in their inimitable way. Glacial water sparkles as it cuts through the soft earth beneath the reassuring bridges that convey you onwards and upwards. The snow-capped peaks reflected in the tranquil waters make way for the crash of waterfalls, thundering far and wide as sub-alpine plants force their spiky tendrils through the hardening ground. As you reach the highest point of the track, the gulf between you and the rest of the world seems unimaginable. Your humble abode awaits with a well-earned rest, and as the sky darkens, Earth’s beauty makes way for cosmic awe of the universe itself imposing itself above, and all around.
It is hard not to be humbled by all of this, and as the sun once again makes its way around, it brings with it the beautiful and shy fauna that share this precious part of the world with you, including the world’s only alpine parrot, the Kea. There is so much to see, hear and even feel that the only way to truly do it justice is to experience it first-hand. Queenstown is your first port of call, but the true majesty lies in what can be found all around it. The Routeburn Track is a wonderful place to start.
Those looking to establish a ‘base camp’ within the confines of luxury can explore Anantara Vacation Club at Oaks Shores Queenstown.