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Tobins Track: Great Views of Arrowtown from Above

Tobins Track: Great Views of Arrowtown from Above

Arrowtown, only 20 minutes or so from Queenstown, has a very different vibe from its famous neighbour. The historic streets are some of the most atmospheric in New Zealand, but it’s also good to get above town for some wide-open views. Tobins Track is fairly short and easy (if you follow my advice at least) and provides great views of Arrowtown from above, as well as lots of mountains and even some distant lakes. Join me as I hike Tobins Track (and try to learn from my mistakes!).

Hiking Tobins Track

Tobins Track starts off at the end of Ford Street (a short walk / drive from the town centre). From the car park you’ll need to cross over the bridge, and from there you’ll take the 4WD track all the way to the top. At least that’s what you’re supposed to do…

Arrow River, Arrowtown, New Zealand

A Horrible Detour

After a little while I came to a plaque that said something about Mr Tobin, and presumably what he did to get a track named after him. There are a couple of steps which lead to a path through the forest, so off I went up the hill thinking I’d soon arrive at the top of the track. I was wrong. I got a long way up the hill before realising it didn’t actually go anywhere, so I had to trudge back down. The track was muddy and there were little stabbing branches everywhere. It was very frustrating (I wasted over 30 minutes on that detour) and I considered turning back then and there, but then I remembered I’d probably need to write a post about this walk, so I continued.

View above Arrowtown, New Zealand

Another (better) detour

So, I was back on the right track and was excited to finally get to the top. After a little while I came to a gate, which some little orange arrows were pointing me through. This had to be it, I thought. I walked for ages up that hill before eventually coming to a sign. I located the “you are here” marker and realised I was on another track entirely. That was two wrong turns in less than an hour – I’m not sure if it’s just terribly signed or I was just a bit “slow” that day (in my defence, I was a bit hungover). This detour was better (it was the New Chum Gully Track) but it was still annoying having to walk all the way back down to the road and then up again to the top of Tobins Track.

View from New Chum Gully Track, Arrowtown, New ZealandNew Chum Gully Track, Arrowtown, New Zealand

The End, finally

After struggling back to the junction, I finally realised that Tobins Track was just all the way up that 4WD track that I was walking on from the very beginning. I eventually made it to the top, but it was more frustration than any sense of achievement. Still though, the views from up there are good and it’s worth doing, I just wish the signage was better. Those two detours could have been easily avoided with better signage (or by someone with a better brain I guess). It should take 30 minutes to reach the top (and less on the way down) but I ended up walking for over two hours. Hopefully you won’t end up doing the same after reading this post!

View from Tobins Track, Arrowtown, New ZealandThe top of Tobins Track, Arrowtown, New ZealandHiking Tobins Track, Arrowtown, New Zealand

Are you planning a trip to the Queenstown region? Check out my other posts!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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