Oh Wanaka, how could we have missed you on our first trip to New Zealand a few years ago? I have no idea what got into us back then. Luckily we didn’t make that mistake this time and spent a few days in Wanaka. And what shall we say? We fell in love with the cozy place on the South Island from the very first moment.
Admittedly: a very specific photo spot is partly responsible for the fact that we really wanted to go to Wanaka. When we saw pictures of Roy’s Peak, it was all over us and we knew: That’s where we want to go. Come what may. What that meant exactly: 1.30 Meters in altitude, lots of sweat and one of the most strenuous ascents in a long time. In this blog article we will tell you why the hike to Roys Peak is worth it despite all the effort.
1. Spectacular: The hike up Roys Peak No question: The hike up Roys Peak is one of our most spectacular, but also one of the most strenuous Hiking in New Zealand. What makes the track so special? During the entire ascent you can look forward to amazing views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain ranges including Mount Aspiring.
The path leads in serpentines up. The bad news: It’s going steadily uphill. Overall you have to 1.200 Elevation from the parking lot to the top of Mount Roy. The condition of the path is really anything but varied. The Roys Peak runs almost exclusively on a kind of gravel path.
The strong wind made the hike very strenuous for us. We were unlucky that it hadn’t rained much for weeks and the trail was incredibly dusty. The wind (or rather storm) meant that the dust was constantly being whirled up and we ended up in real clouds of dust. Of course it doesn’t have to be the same for you.
The most famous photo location on Roy’s Peak After about two hours of hiking you will reach the famous Lookout: A narrow path meanders along the ridge here and provides a Postcard motif par excellence.
We don’t want to destroy any illusions now, but unfortunately lonely looks different. Pretty crazy: Most of the time you have to stand in line until it is your turn. After all, everyone would like to have a photo of themselves without other people. We ourselves were at Roys Peak in the high season (January) and had to at least 20 Wait a few minutes.
From the Lookout it’s another approx. 30 Minutes to actual summit of Mount Roy on 801 meters. The way back to the valley follows the same route. A little hint: Don’t underestimate going downhill, because you still need enough strength in your legs for that.
Important information for the hike to Roys Peak In total you are about 6 hours uphill and downhill again. So be sure to take enough water and something to eat with you. It should be at least 1.5 liters of water per person. Maybe more depending on the heat. There is no way to refill water along the way. In addition, there is hardly any shade on the entire route.
We were very happy to have had our jacket with us. While it was midsummer warm in the valley, it was incredibly stormy up on the mountain and it got noticeably cold. Mid-high trekking shoes are perfectly adequate – the terrain itself is not very demanding. (Our tip: we swear by our Scarpa shoes on hikes like this). And don’t forget sunscreen!
Warning: We were on Roys Peak in midsummer (January). In winter (June, July, August) the conditions are completely different than in summer. You have to be prepared for snow and ice in the cold season. Alpine equipment may be necessary! The Roy’s Peak Track also has between October 1st and each year . Closed November for the lambs.
Arrival to Roy’s Peak Track The start of the track is a few kilometers outside of Wanaka town centre. You will reach the parking lot in about 03 Minutes drive westbound along Mount Aspiring Road. The number of parking spaces is limited. We were advised to be there before 9am. Well, we didn’t quite make it and at about I still got a place.
2. More travel tips for Wanaka The small town of Wanaka is cozy and manageable. In Wanaka you are spared the tourist hustle and bustle that you may have experienced in Queenstown. However, Wanaka doesn’t seem extinct – quite the opposite.
Lake Wanaka One of the most beautiful things about Wanaka is of course its idyllic location on the lake of the same name. The crystal clear Lake Wanaka is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand. We were in Wanaka in midsummer and were really lucky with the water temperature: It was above average and so we went swimming in the lake every day.
Along the shore near the town center there is a narrow pebble beach with plenty of sun loungers and a few shady trees.
Wanaka Tree: The most photographed tree A rather curious sight: A tree grows out of the water of Lake Wanaka. The Wanaka Tree is without a doubt the most famous tree in the region.
The Wanaka Tree is a popular photo motif, especially at sunrise and sunset. Warning: be prepared for people with tripods positioned around the tree. We did without a tripod and long exposure and preferred to enjoy the sight.
From Wanaka town center you can reach the Wanaka Tree after a short walk west. At sunrise the light is probably more atmospheric. We were there at sunset. The sun had already disappeared behind the mountains and the tree was already in the shade.
Big Fig Wanaka: our very favorite restaurant in Wanaka In two days we went twice to the “Big Fig “ eat because we loved it so much. The concept is to our liking: “Slow food served fast” – so the food is regional and seasonal. You simply determine the size of your plate (small, medium, large) and choose from several main courses and salads from the display case. Pay quickly and then you can already enjoy your meal. With a bit of luck with the weather you can sit outside.
Every single dish tasted excellent without exception. In addition, the prices – especially for New Zealand Conditions – are extremely fair: A medium vegetarian plate costs 10,50 NZD (so not even 10 Euro). Conclusion: Great recommendation and a special treat for us personally, after we had had enough of burgers & co. on our trip.
3. Our accommodation tip for Wanaka In Wanaka we had another stroke of luck: The Wanaka Alpine Lodge is a dream of accommodation. So we couldn’t help it and for two nights we slightly exceeded our intended travel budget. The two hosts, a New Zealand couple, have opened a luxurious Bed & Breakfast just outside the town centre. They live on the neighboring property and only rent a few rooms.
The attention to detail of the owners is noticeable as soon as you enter the property. The entire area is very well maintained and the furnishings in the rooms are of a very high standard. One of the best things is the breakfast: The hostess prepares it herself and her husband also takes care of the well-being of the guests. In no other accommodation in New Zealand have we had such a delicious breakfast as here. The lodge is run very personally. This means: You get to talk to the hosts and to other guests at breakfast.
One tiny disadvantage: The Wanaka Alpine Lodge is about 3 kilometers outside the town centre. So you’re dependent on traveling by car. But don’t worry: parking in central Wanaka is quite easy. We always found a parking space.
You can book the lodge here: Wanaka Alpine Lodge
4. Our travel guides for Wanaka and New Zealand We have already tested three different travel guides on our trips to New Zealand. If you are planning a round trip through New Zealand and also want to stop in Wanaka, then we can recommend these two.
Stefan Loose Travel Guide New Zealand We can highly recommend the Stefan Loose Travel Guide New Zealand. What we love about the Loose travel guides is that they are very well researched – including the one about New Zealand. We are happy to accept the slightly higher weight.
Lonely Planet New Zealand On our last trip to New Zealand (2018) we chose the classic travel guide from Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet Travel Guide New Zealand (English). We were very satisfied with this one too. It’s a bit more compact than the Loose.
You can also buy the Lonely Planet travel guide in German: Lonely Planet New Zealand travel guide
5. More New Zealand Travel Reports Our route through New Zealand The most beautiful day hikes in New Zealand Christchurch: Sights & Tips Lake Tekapo: Our Tips Dunedin & Otago Peninsula The Catlins – New Zealand’s rugged south Helicopter flight via Queenstown Transparency: Affiliate e Left This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliates Left. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. cool thing right? A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you already done the hike up Roys Peak? Do you have any other tips for Wanaka or questions? Leave us a comment – we look forward to it!