When we were in Wanaka we were weighing up whether to do the track. It is undeniably breathtaking and, as a blogger, it seemed weird turning my back on a photo op which is the backbone of NZ Instagram content. But the reason we came to NZ was to escape, get back to nature, and do things based on what we enjoy rather than Instagram. So the decision was made for us and we sought out alternatives.
Although the view at the top of Roy's Peak is jaw dropping, the walk itself is back and forth up a hillside so it's not terribly interesting. One of the things we wanted to seek in the alternatives was a walk which was interesting throughout. These Wanaka Walks are great alternatives if you're looking for fewer people, beautiful views, and nothing insanely challenging.
ROB ROY GLACIER TRACK
Although Rob Roy Glacier is one of the most well-known day walks in the Wanaka region, it was hardly crowded at all. The track is a 40 minute drive from the centre of Wanaka through rolling green fields, past waterfalls, and amongst several thousand sheep. The walk itself starts from a small carpark and follows an icy blue river hugging the side of the mountain towards Rob Roy Glacier. Through luscious green forests, the track winds up to the first glacier viewpoint, past towering waterfalls, up to the plateau where the full beauty of Rob Roy is seen.
LAKE WANAKA CIRCUIT
The walk around Lake Wanaka is a must-do when visiting the town. This low-impact walk can take as long as you like, and walks around Lake Wanaka through greenery and past. As a loop, you can go as far or as close as you like.
GRANDVIEW MOUNTAIN TRACK
This walk is not spoken about much and there was barely any information online, all we had to go off was a comment on a forum and decided to check it out. Luckily, we were not disappointed. We saw a total of two other people for the entire walk which is my idea of heaven.The walk began on the flat and required splashing through several streams and a fair bit of mud. We began to meander up the side of the mountain and that is when the views really started to kick off. Winding through a dramatic valley with sharp peaks, it was impossible to ignore the perspective.
Eventually, the walk moved from back of the mountain towards the front, and the vista over the lake made its first appearance. The panoramic view over both Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka was breathtaking and rivalled the vista from Roy's Peak, but most notably, the stillness with which we got to enjoy it was unparalleled. We had a break is the weather and were able to see Mount Aspiring in the distance which was stunning.
THE OUTLET TRACK
This is a gentle walk along a trail commonly used by local walkers and cyclists. The walk meanders alongside Clutha River from Lake Wanaka through to Albert Town. The waterway is wonderfully peaceful, with icy blue waters lapping gently on the stones with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. Although this walk doesn't have the same punch as Roy's Peak or Grandview Mountain Track in terms of views, if you are looking for a peaceful walk around Wanaka, this is our favourite and is not as crowded as the Lake Wanaka Circuit.
MEG HUT AND PISA RANGES
A little further out from Wanaka is Cardrona. Home to the famous Cardrona Hotel (which is well worth a visit if you can), this small township transforms into a skiing haven during the winter. In the warmer months, the out-of-this world rolling mountains are covered in uniquely toned tussock-style grass. From Cardrona, there are several walks but none are quite as good as Meg Hut.
June 24, 2021