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Gladstone Track, Lake Hāwea

Gladstone Track, Lake Hāwea

Often overshadowed by the more popular lakes nearby (Wānaka, Te Anau and Wakatipu), Lake Hāwea is just as scenic and usually a lot less crowded. The Gladstone Track is the perfect mid-range hike — you’ll see beautiful views of the beach, lake and mountains from above, with plenty of chances to get down to beach level.

The Gladstone Track

The Gladstone Track runs along the shores of Lake Hāwea, from the dam on the west side all the way to Johns Creek. It should take around 90-minutes each way. The signs say some of this is also the Lake Hāwea Walkway but it’s all the same track so it’s hard to get lost or confused. You can start at a few points along the way, or drive between the various car parks and entry points if you don’t feel like walking. You can also cycle.

Gladstone Track, Lake Hāwea, New Zealand

We started at the car park on Flora Dora Parade. We then walked back towards the dam before heading to Johns Creek.

Lake Hāwea dam, New Zealand

The first part of the track features some awesome views of the lake. There are a couple of viewpoints looking right over the beach — the view reminded me a lot of the Greek Islands! You’ll also see some cute cribs (holiday houses) looking out over the lake.

READ MORE: Where Are the Best Beaches in Wānaka

A viewpoint on the Gladstone Track, Lake Hāwea, New Zealand

There are a couple of beaches to check out too. It’s just one long beach really, but Scotts Beach and Kite Surfers Beach have their own car parks and public toilets etc. If you’re not going to do the whole walk I’d recommend to see some of the views from above and then check out one of those two beaches.

A beach on the Gladstone Track, Lake Hāwea, New ZealandScotts Beach, Lake Hāwea, New Zealand

Lake Hāwea Views

The Track soon leaves behind the relative bustle of Hawea township. The views remain though! You’ll pass by a Frisbee golf course and from there it’s not too far to Johns Creek.

READ MORE: 10 of the Best Walks in Wānaka

Hiking and cycling in Lake Hāwea, New ZealandJohns Creek, Lake Hāwea, New Zealand

Johns Creek

You’re probably wondering if it’s worth walking all the way to Johns Creek. It is, as the views are quite different and the beach at Johns Creek is really nice. You could skip it if you’re in a hurry though (or maybe just drive all the way to the end).

Johns Creek Beach, Lake Hāwea, New Zealand

The Details

  • It should take around 2.5 – 3 hours return to walk the Gladstone Track. If you know someone who can pick you up at the end it’d save you a lot of time.
  • There are lots of places you can start the Gladstone Track, and it’s easy to just do small sections of it.
  • Lake Hāwea is a tiny town just 15 minutes from Wānaka. You’ll pass through on the way to the West Coast (or the Isthmus Peak Track) – but stop for a while if you can spare the time!

Are you planning a trip to Wānaka and Lake Hāwea? Check out our travel guide + our Wānaka itinerary!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.