5 Must-do scenic lookouts in Queenstown

Learn where you can go in and around Queenstown to get fantastic scenic views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains surrounding Queenstown.

Places tend to look more impressive when you can get a bird’s eye view of them. Queenstown is no exception, because it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and Lake Wakatipu.

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This article lists five places you can go to get scenic views of Queenstown. Some scenic viewpoints you can easily drive to, while others you will have to walk to.

I’ve listed the scenic lookouts in order of ease of access with the most accessible ones listed first.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a map pointing out the locations of the five scenic Queenstown lookouts.

1. Glenorchy-Queenstown Road lookout

Genorchy-Queenstown Road offers views of Glenorchy from the south looking north.

About 23 km (14 mi) out of Queenstown starting from the roundabout just before you get onto Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, you should reach a high point on the road that gives you a nice scenic view of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains surrounding Glenorchy, which is located north of Queenstown.

Make sure to do this drive on a day that does not have low clouds to really be able to enjoy the view. The view is best from late morning to early afternoon hours.

There is a small pullout at the sharp bend in the road where you can briefly stop to admire the scenery.

Scenic view from the Crown Range road lookout point in winter on the South Island of New Zealand

Scenic view from the Crown Range road lookout point

2. Crown Range lookout

Crown Range offers a scenic view of Queenstown from the east looking west.

Crown Range Road is a road that you can drive up in any season, but because there is a greater chance of snow on the mountains surrounding Queenstown in winter, you may want to try driving up in winter to get really nice mountain views. Just make sure that you check the driving conditions for Crown Range Road before you head out.

The road can be accessed either from the Wanaka side via the Cardrona Valley or from the Queenstown and Arrowtown side.

Once you reach the top of Crown Range Road, stop at the large pullout to enjoy the views. You could also walk up a trail to get to yet higher ground for more fantastic mountain views.

3. The Remarkables lookout

The Remarkables is a mountain range that offers scenic views of Queenstown from the south looking north, east, and west.

While the Remarkables ski area is primarily used for skiing during winter and hiking during summer, you can also just drive up the road to get views of Queenstown, Ben Lomond, Queenstown Hill, Cecil Peak, and other mountains surrounding Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

You can find the Remarkables ski field access road on your left when driving from Queenstown to Kingston.

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Please check whether the ski field access road is open before you visit.

You can do this by checking whether there are any alerts listed for the Lake Alta Track, which is accessible via the Remarkables access road.

4. Queenstown Hill lookout

Queenstown Hill offers a scenic view of Queenstown from the east looking west and south; and views to the east if you walk past the lookout point to the highest point on Queenstown Hill.

Queenstown Hill Time Walk is one of the easier walks you can do to walk up Queenstown Hill and get good views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.

I say it is easy, but you still have to have a good dose of fitness to get up the hill because it is quite challenging but not more challenging than Ben Lomond and much shorter.

One Christmas Day, I walked up this hill on three separate occasions – morning, midday, and late afternoon. I’m not a super-fit person, neither was I very sore the following day, so if I can do it, so can you.

5. Ben Lomond lookout

Ben Lomond offers scenic views of Queenstown from the north looking south and also looking all around.

The Ben Lomond Track is one of the hardest tracks you could ever do around Queentown, but it is also one that offers fantastic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables.

Scenic view from Queenstown Hill in winter on the South Island of New Zealand

Scenic view from Queenstown Hill in New Zealand

The Department of Conservation lists 3 – 4 hours return to get to the Ben Lomond Saddle, where you can already get great views, and 6 – 8 hours return to get to the Ben Lomond Summit.

They also list the Ben Lomond Track as an easy walking track. This is probably because it is well signposted and easy to follow.

However, it is mostly all uphill and you require a good level of fitness, so I would not rate it as an easy walking track. Also note that Ben Lomond is higher than Mount Roy, which is also quite demanding to walk up.

The amount of time you take to walk this track depends greatly on your fitness level. And the higher you manage to reach the better the views will get, with the Ben Lomond Summit at 1,748 meters (5,734 ft) also offering views of the mountainous scenery north of Queenstown so in the direction of Mount Aspiring.

I’ve done this walk but only got a little past the Ben Lomond Saddle when I decided not to climb up towards the summit but rather turn back due to muscle pain and not having enough hours left in the day to get back down the mountain.

Nonetheless, even if you get till the Ben Lomond Saddle, the views will be to die for, making you feel like you are on top of the world.

While you could walk up Ben Lomond starting from the very bottom, you could also first take a ride up with the Queenstown Gondola and then do the walk starting from a higher elevation.

But be aware that you will miss out on the views that the track offers of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains to the west of Queenstown unless you reach the summit, of course.

Note that the ride up with the gondola is not free.

Locations of the five scenic Queenstown viewpoints

Below you’ll find a map pointing out the five Queenstown lookouts mentioned in this article. Note that the numbers on the map correspond to the numbers used in this article.

Figure 1. Map displaying the locations of the five Queenstown lookout points.

Final words on the 5 Queenstown must-do scenic viewpoints

In this article, I’ve listed five free locations you can visit to get fantastic and sometimes majestic views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains surrounding Queenstown.

But you could also pay to get scenic views by, for example, booking a scenic helicopter flight.

Queenstown can be visited in any season to see the wonderful scenery surrounding it. However, winter is my favorite season because the chance of mountains with white tops is so much greater then.

In any case, if you visit Queenstown, make sure you do not leave until you have visited at least three of the five locations mentioned above.

 

Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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