Roy’s Peak is one of the most popular day hike in Wanaka, and the views at the top are well worth hiking for! You can expect a gradual and steep ascent up to the summit, and a steep descend back down. The viewpoint is absolutely incredible and make sure you go to the summit as well, with is only 30 minutes from the viewpoint!
When I hiked Roy’s Peak, the weather was perfect and even better -it snowed the night before! For the first time in weeks. So, part of this hike I was walking on fresh snow, which was my first time ever doing this. The snow was also fluffy, which was an excellent surprise to the icy snow I saw in Arthurs Pass.
Walking up this track in snow was an incredible experience although, quite slippery in some areas. There was a moment where I went ass to grass to descend. Even so, it was an absolutely epic hike!
You will need a reasonable amount of fitness to hike this track.
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Where is it?
Roys Peak is in Wanaka, about 10 minutes from the city centre. The trailhead is located on Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, or simply type in “Roys Peak Carpark” on google maps.
Wanaka is located roughly 1 hrs drive from Queenstown, and is a beautiful town, which has to be on your New Zealand road trip.
Roys Peak is a 16km return hike. The trail follows through farmland with a gradual incline and switch backs till the summit. The trail isn’t marked but follows one defining dirt track all the way to the top. It will take you roughly 5-7hrs to complete this hike.
This hike can be completed in winter or summer; however, it is closed during a period from October to November for lambing season. In winter, hiking poles are advised.
In my opinion, first part of the hike is the steepest. It is that weird incline where you aren’t sure if you should be hiking on your tippy toes or not. This lasts for about 1 hr of the hike, before the incline feels a bit more comfortable.
During the ascend you will be greeted with incredible views over lake Wanaka, surrounding farmland and the surround mountain ranges. As the hike passes through farmland, please be respectful and leave no trace, as well as don’t disturb the sheep.
The hike to the lookout point takes about 2-4 hrs, depending on your fitness level. This is where you will be able to capture that Instagram worthy shot. Just be warned that you will probably have to wait in line to capture the famous photo!
Photography tip: If you are travelling with someone, get the to stand on the hill next to the bathrooms, while you walk along the ridge of the lookout. This will give you better views and photos!
Although some might stop here, the summit of Roys Peak is about another 30mins from the lookout. The path is still steep, but by this time you should be used to it. The views after you follow the corner leading around the back of the peak are incredible. First thing you will see are the mountain ranges hiding behind Roys Peak.
The viewpoint at the top of the summit is only a small platform, but offers beautiful panoramic views. You can see just how far you’ve come, and the trail you have just spent the last few hours walking up.
You descend down the same path you walked up on.
Where to stay in Wanaka?
- For campervans and families: Wanaka TOP 10 Holiday Park
- For budget: Wanaka Backpackers Worthy
- For Glamping: Mt Gold Glamping
- For Luxury: Edgewater hotel
- For hot tubs: Archway Motels and Chalets OR Luxury Secluded Wanaka Escape
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