If we go during their winter, it might be fun to try some skiing in the southern hemisphere!
New Zealand has a killer reputation for adventure, and Roy’s Peak is no exception. This semi-brutal, yet intensely worthwhile, hike is right next to the picturesque town of Wanaka, not to be confused with Wakanda (sorry Marvel fans). It takes an hour and a half to drive from Queenstown, but you’ll probably be too busy looking out the window to bother checking the time anyway. Wilderness in Wanaka fully encapsulates New Zealand’s beauty: crystal clear lake waters meeting beech forests, snow-capped mountains mingling with the clouds, and classic Kiwi friendliness. You might never want to leave. Both hiking aficionados and roaming rookies visit quite often with the agenda of tackling Roy’s Peak. Most will opt to stay a few days because, even though Roy’s steals the show, it’s certainly not the only act on stage.
Wedged onto one of the few flat openings in the Southern Alps, Wanaka is a wonderland of mountains and peaks. An amphitheatre of summits surrounds the small town, culminating with the 3,000-meter-high silhouette of Mount Aspiring itself. Closer to home, you can embark on countless day walks through tussock, rainforest, and high-alpine habitats. Isthmus Peak is a doozy for the views. The top straddles the joint between the two regional lakes, which means you get stunning panoramas of both glittering Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka deep in the basin below. Roy’s Peak is another favorite, with an Instagram-worthy summit shot filled with snowy ranges and cobalt waters. For more hardcore types, the Gillespie Pass Circuit and the Routeburn Track are options. They weave into the Mount Aspiring National Park, onto rock spurs, and into valleys that are totally uninhabited.
Map of Wanaka
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If you haven’t heard of Roy’s Peak, you’ve probably seen at least one glorious pic of it on Instagram. With bird’s-eye views of sparkling Glendhu Bay and fresh air that feels therapeutic to inhale, it’s hands down one of the best hikes in New Zealand. Oh, did I mention that most people hitchhike to get there? […]
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From the sheer-cut fjords of South Island to the smoke-sputtering volcano cones of North Island, New Zealand is brimming with breathtaking natural sites. It’s an obvious destination for any adventure-hungry traveler, touting more wild bays, shimmering beaches, misty rainforests, and snow-capped mountains than you can shake an endangered kiwi bird at (but definitely don’t do […]