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Lake Hayes Loop Track, Arrowtown

Lake Hayes Loop Track, Arrowtown

One of my favourite photos from the Queenstown region was taken on the Lake Hayes Loop Track. 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.

Lake Hayes Loop Track

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 walk was enjoyable.

Hiking Lake Hayes in Winter, Queenstown, New Zealand

There are some 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 track is perfect winter / spring as a little bit of snow really brings the scenery to life.

READ MORE: 14 of the Best Walks in Queenstown

The Lake Hayes Track, Queenstown, New ZealandHiking Around Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New ZealandLake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand

Lake Hayes From Above

You’ll get an awesome view of Lake Hayes from the hill above Arrowtown. Check out the Sawpit Gully Track — it’s our favourite hilltop walk in Arrowtown. You can also see it from the road up to the Remarkables Ski Area.

READ MORE: 10 of the Best Things to Do in Arrowtown

Getting There

Lake Hayes is around 14 km from Queenstown — if you’re arriving by car from Central Otago it’s a good 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

Walking the historic streets of Arrowtown, New Zealand

Are you planning a trip to Queenstown? Check out our three – seven day Queenstown 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.