One of my favourite photos from the Queenstown region was taken while hiking around Lake Hayes. It was in winter, the hills surrounding the lake were dusted with snow and everything was perfectly reflected in the glass-like water. This small lake, 14 km from Queenstown, is popular with dog-walking locals and cyclists, but the two hour hike is a great option for anyone who finds themselves in Queenstown and wants a nice relaxing walk.
Hiking around Lake Hayes
It takes around two hours to hike around Lake Hayes and the good news is that it’s mostly flat. It’s one of the easier hikes in the region, but if you don’t have the time it’s fine to just do a small section (that’s what we did the first time). I started the circumnavigation of Lake Hayes at the main car park and walked anti-clockwise — which way you do it will probably be determined by the time of day and the light. The best photo was from that first stretch (I did it in the late afternoon in winter) but the whole hike was enjoyable.
There are some nice little bays and coves as you get to the lower part of the track and the views in all directions are stunning (I took the photos below on our previous visit as it was completely in shadow when I hiked it). The Lake Hayes hike is probably better in winter / spring as a little bit of snow really brings the scenery to life.
Other Hikes in and Around Queenstown
There are so many hiking options in and around Queenstown and I certainly haven’t done them all. I’ve done a few though — Queenstown Hill and Bob’s Cove really stand out (and they are also fairly easy). I haven’t tackled the more strenuous hikes such as Ben Lomond yet but they are on the list!
READ MORE: Hiking the Queenstown Hill Track
Getting to Lake Hayes
Lake Hayes is around 14 km from Queenstown — if you’re arriving by car from Central Otago it’s a great place to stop on the way through. It’s very close to Arrowtown, one of New Zealand’s nicest small towns. There are also some scenic roads in the area so it’s good to explore a bit and see what you find.
READ MORE: Walking the Historic Streets of Arrowtown
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