OK, so climbing a hill, when you’re surrounded by mountains, is kinda like finding a dry rock in your peanut M&Ms.
Except it’s not, because Queenstown Hill, just out of town, is more than worth a peek, and you can make its peak in an hour if you get a wriggle on.
The walk concerned is the Queenstown Hill Time Walk, which sounds dangerously like a slightly insalubrious dance from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is a rocky delight, as it happens, and when you summit, you’ll be surprised at the staggering views from above the tree line. The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, parts of Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau River all slide into view.
The Time Walk features a series of information panels that showcase the past, present and predicted future of this stunning part of the world, each explaining the different epochs on Lake Wakatipu. They include depictions from the first Maori settlements through the heady gold rush years to the more recent development of Queenstown into the adventure capital of the world.
Representing all this, a reward near the top of the climb, is a huge ironwork sculpture called ‘The Dream Basket’, a link from past to present and into the future.
It will stick in your mind, as will the climb through the fragrant Douglas fir into the alpine-like landscape of dry tussock.
In a town often overrun with people, the prohibiting of mountain bikes and the relative lack of other folk up here makes for a refreshing change. The walk itself is a strenuous but doable 500m climb that you’ll be well glad you took the time to do.