Queenstown is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. And for good reason—just look at the mountains here! From the snow-capped Remarkables to the serene Walter Peak, each mountain here tells its own story.
For today, we’ve compiled a list of the best mountains in Queenstown, revealing why they are truly the crowning glories of this alpine city. So strap on your hiking boots or wax your skis—let’s embark on a mountain journey!
1. Ben Lomond
From the stands at the base to the rocky summit that rises to 178 meters, the Ben Lomond track offers a challenging yet rewarding hike. The trail unfolds through lush forests, wildflower-filled meadows, and steep, rugged terrain.
It’s a full day’s trek that will test your mettle but reward you with unparalleled panoramic views. The trailhead begins practically in the city, making it an easy choice for a spontaneous day hike.
This close proximity doesn’t compromise the wilderness experience either. Once you ascend, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world, far from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown’s lively streets.
From the top of the summit of Ben Lomond, you can gaze upon the remarkable beauty of Queenstown, the sparkling Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding mountain ranges. On a clear day, you may even see as far as Fiordland and Mount Aspiring.
About halfway up, look for a small, unmarked trail leading to the right. This detour takes you through an enchanting moss-covered forest and offers a serene spot perfect for a quiet lunch.
2. Cecil Peak
Standing tall at an impressive 1,978 meters, Cecil Peak is not just another mountain in the Wakatipu Basin. It’s a dream come true for hikers: the trail to the peak is rugged, steep, and absolutely thrilling.
With panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges, standing atop Cecil Peak feels like being on the roof of the world. As the day wanes, the setting sun creates a stunning silhouette of the peak against the vibrant hues of the sky, a sight that takes your breath away.
While most hikers start their journey from the base, there is a lesser-known starting point that offers a more scenic and tranquil route. A boat can drop you off at a secluded spot along the lake, from where you can begin your hike. This shortens the trek and provides an opportunity to experience the beauty of Lake Wakatipu up close.
3. Walter Peak
Walter Peak stands tall at 1,800 meters, offering breathtaking views of Lake Whakatipu and the surrounding alpine scenery. The mountain is a visual treat, with its rugged cliffs, verdant slopes, and stunning water views.
As the day unfolds, the changing light paints a mesmerizing picture of the mountain, making it a photographer’s dream.
What sets Walter Peak apart is the wealth of experiences it offers. The mountain is home to the Walter Peak High Country Farm, where visitors can immerse themselves in authentic New Zealand farming life.
From feeding sheep and deer to getting up close with Scottish Highland cows and alpacas, the farm offers a delightful peek into rural living.
While most visitors take the steamship to reach Walter Peak, we suggest renting a bike and taking the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail. It’s an exhilarating route that brings you face-to-face with the raw beauty of Queenstown’s countryside.
4. Mt Nicholas
Mt Nicholas stands tall and proud, offering breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges. Its rugged cliffs, verdant slopes, and tranquil water views make it a paradise for nature lovers.
What sets Mt Nicholas apart from other Queenstown mountains is the unique experience it offers at the Mt Nicholas Station. This Merino sheep farm allows visitors to immerse themselves in authentic New Zealand farming life.
From feeding sheep to understanding the process of wool production, this hands-on experience is both educational and fun. The farm stretches over 100,000 acres and is committed to maintaining the health and well-being of its livestock and preserving the natural beauty of the landscape.
While most visitors opt for the farm tour, there’s a lesser-known activity that offers an intimate encounter with the landscape. Rent a bike and explore the Mt Nicholas Station Bike Trail. This off-the-beaten-path adventure takes you through some of the most stunning scenery on the farm, away from the usual tourist track.
5. The Remarkables
The Remarkables Ski Area’s high altitude and north-facing sunny slopes make it a dream destination for skiers and snowboarders.
The resort caters to all skill levels, with an excellent learners’ area for beginners and challenging terrain for the more experienced. It’s not just about skiing, though—the area also offers opportunities for snowboarding, tubing, and even snowshoeing.
The Remarkables offers some of the most stunning views in Queenstown. From the top, you can gaze out over Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding peaks, a sight that leaves visitors speechless.
This unique vantage point makes The Remarkables a must-visit, even for non-skiers.
While most visitors stick to the main ski area, head to Lake Alta, a glacial lake nestled in the mountains. It’s a quiet escape from the bustling ski slopes and offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks.