Cedric and Melody are pretty much our resident experts when it comes to gorgeous hikes in New Zealand, so you should trust them when they say the Mount Crichton Loop Track is a goer!
- Quiet beech forest
- Walking next to sheer drops with the river below
- Historic gold prospecting
- Great views of Lake Dispute and Lake Wakatipu
Slow And Peaceful
Queenstown is full of amazing hikes such as Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. But if you need to rest your quads from all those mountain tracks, this local’s-favourite is a great option.
The Mount Crichton Loop Track begins and ends at an easy-to-access carpark off Queenstown-Glenorchy Road. Since it’s a loop, take your pick which way to head. We chose clockwise, which I think is a slightly more difficult way. The hike has a few little hills, but it’s pretty easy walking whichever direction you go.
We started off in beech forest, which I’m so taken with. It’s shady and cool, but the little round leaves let in the sunlight in such a pretty way. In some sections, the track runs next to a sheer cliff. Way down below we can see the bright blue river.
A Bit Of History
The area used to be used for gold mining, and there are sections where you can see barren, grey mounds of rock standing out amidst the greenery. There’s also a narrow tunnel that was once used as a trail race. Once you squeeze through it, you can wander down to a waterfall.
The track also passes an old hut which was built by Sam Summers in 1930. He lived here, prospecting for gold for 10 years and often walked to the hut from Queenstown. You can take a peek in the little hut which still has its fire-place and bunk beds. A little information sign told us he grew a veggie garden and strawberries by the cliff. What a life!
A Beautiful View
In the last section of the track, there’s a grassy flat valley and then a short incline to a lookout over Lake Dispute and Lake Wakatipu. There are a couple of benches to rest and eat a snack while you enjoy the view. It’s not far from here back to the carpark.
Although this walk is less dramatic and sublime than many of the hikes in the region, it’s a good way to experience the mossy forest and get a little history lesson at the same time. It’s a great one for winter when the snowy hikes are dangerous, or if you’re looking for a gentle walk.
- Walking shoes
- Sun protection
How To Get There
The car park for Mount Crichton loop track is about 15 minutes south-west of Queenstown along the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road.
- Brush up on your local history
Beginner – the track is pretty easy going, though there are a couple of hilly parts. Take care with kids as the track is sometimes next to a steep drop-off.
2-3 hours walking
Just keep walking, walking, walking