If you’re reading this, you’re probably doing the exact same thing I once did when I decided I wanted to hike Roy’s Peak. While words on a website can’t physically prepare you, it can guide you in the right way on what to expect.
Roy’s Peak is a mountainous walk in Wanaka, New Zealand, with stunning views over Wanaka, Lake Wanaka, and Mt Aspiring/National Park. It’s a popular day walk taking anywhere from around 6 hours + to complete in full from car park – summit – back to car park.
While the track is located in Wanaka, it is still easily accessible from Queenstown so make sure you allow time if you are travelling to and from other local areas.
Getting there early will allow you to get a park in the carpark located at the bottom of the walk located along Mount Aspiring Road. We got there just after 6.30 am to only a few cars already. However, bear in mind this was during the weekday and due to Coronavirus, there were very few tourists in New Zealand.
Roy’s Peak Track:
The track itself is in pretty good condition, a well packed dirt track with a few stones and holes to look out for. You will find some people have created their own tracks that cut up the side of the hills instead of swooping around in a zig zag. These aren’t necessarily quicker routes to take, you’ll find they might tire you out more as you’ll be walking straight up a hill. The track itself generally swoops around corners and goes up in a zig zag formation most of the way up.
You’ll start off on a farm track, the walk up hill officially starts here at the very beginning. There may or may not be farm animals around while you walk through, and make sure you research into when the track is closed for lambing season.
The track in total for a full hike is 16km, so expect yourself to walk around 8km up and 8km down give or take a bit. This means the first few km’s of track you might find a bit tiring at first as you get use to hiking up a constant hill with very few flat parts of the track. The next bit of walking you’ll find yourself getting use to the tedious track and come the last bit, you’re probably wanting to be at the top by now.
No matter how fast or how slow you walk, you will always get a view no matter where you walk. The view doesn’t change but as you get higher and higher, you’ll see more and get a great lookout over the surrounding land.
Roy’s Peak Weather
A pretty obvious topic to cover but it is important to understand that New Zealand weather can change very quickly so it is best to be prepared for anything.
We had been checking the weather for Wanaka a week before we left, then the day before we were due to do Roy’s Peak and then also the morning of. We were very lucky with the weather, it was due to rain that afternoon and then possibly the next morning so we decided not to take that risk. It was relatively cloudy but the sun did come out for a bit and it got surprisingly warm. We hiked during Spring so there was a chance for any kind of weather, there was snow on the surrounding mountains and on part of the peak itself.
The track has zero shelter so be aware of being exposed to sunshine, rain or wind. It gets quite windy at the lookout and peak so keep an eye on any loose items or rubbish.
When it comes to dressing for the weather, layering will be your best friend. This way you are prepared by taking off layers on top or adding layers like a puffer jacket and rain coat/wind breaker jacket. Gloves and beanies and scarves are also handy to keep yourself warm and sheltered.
Like I mentioned afore, it is usual to finish the route in 6 hours + in total. You don’t have to go all the way to the peak to get a view, it is an extra 1km+ from the look out point. The look out point is where everyone has that famous Insta worthy shot, you still get an amazing view so don’t feel too disheartened if you don’t go to the peak.
Make sure you allow some breaks in your walk, don’t feel as though you have to aim for the 6-7 hour mark. There are a few rocks and even a picnic spot to stop for a meal or a photo. The corners on the tracks are relatively flat so you can easily park up there for a stop too.
The walk down we personally found a lot easier, even though it can be tough on your toes or knees. We only stopped once on the way down but numerous times on the way up!
Things to know
- There are two toilets, one at the start of the hike and one at the lookout. These aren’t really ‘toilet’s’ but more of a long drop.
- There aren’t any rubbish bins so be a tidy kiwi and take your rubbish home with you.
- There is a small donation at the start of the track which you can pay via a honesty box.
I hope this guide has inspired you to hike Roy’s Peak and explore a bit more of New Zealand. I know personally this walk has inspired me to find some more amazing hikes to do.
Feel free to check me out on Instagram here to keep up to date with what I’m creating or where I’m exploring next.
I also have a post on Queenstown from 2017 here all about some picture perfect places to check out.