One of the better walks near Wanaka, rugged Breast Hill (1578m) provides views of Lake Hawea and mountains in all directions.
I first learnt of the track to Breast Hill (1578m) from an Instagram follower who used to live in Wanaka. It was his favourite day walk in the area, and I came across another blogger who rated it highly, so I had to give it a go. It is indeed an excellent walk, especially once you hit the ridge, and then again when you get out of sometimes smelly farmland and into Hawea Conservation Park. There are great views of Lake Hawea the whole way, of golden tussock grass hills, and of the steep rugged slopes of Breast Hill itself, as well as various mountain peaks all around.
It’s a bit of a work out to get up there, but once on the tops it’s pleasant walking with views as you make your way to the summit. Track notes at the end.
Breast Hill Route: The Scenery
The route is on a marked track the whole way. The first third (give or take) is in farmland, then you enter Hawea Conservation Park. There are longer tracks that take you into the backcountry where you can stay in huts, and you can also complete long loops, but we returned the way we came. Allocate a short day (5-7 hours?) for this one: probably at the hard end of moderate.
You can get more information on tracks and huts in the area on the DOC website. The Breast Hill Track is a section of the Te Araroa.
There is a small layby about 300m past the trail head where you can park your car. Otherwise a few people just squeezed their cars in on the side of the road.