Crown Peak ascent, near Arrowtown NZ

Excellent winter scenery on the ascent up Crown Peak (1735m) from in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. 360 degree views from the summit are a highlight.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

The walk up Crown Peak (1735m) from Arrowtown is yet another underrated hike near Queenstown. There were excellent 360 degree views from the summit rocks, and a variety of scenery with Central Otago’s roly-poly mountains and wrinkly ridgelines, some pointy peaks, valleys, the Wakatipu Basin, and a nice angle on Lake Wakatipu itself.

I think this would be best done in winter (depicted here), as the scenery was certainly enhanced by snow, and there was no shelter for the whole walk. The start and end of the walk is less interesting than the middle bits, and I can recommend a descent along the Bracken Saddle Track through an attractive narrow gully. Track notes at the end.

Note you can also climb Crown Peak from the Crown Range Road, which would be shorter but I suspect steeper. There are various other walks to be done around Arrowtown, and here is a partial selection on the Arrrowtown website. I very much enjoyed the ascent of Brow Peak

Crown Peak ascent: The Scenery

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Dropping down the New Chum Gully Link Track, with Crown Peak just visible at the back.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Glencoe Station and Mt Beetham (929m).

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
First snowy bits.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Looking back at the track (section 12, Peters Way) as it winds its way around point 1080m.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Brackens Gully
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Love the contrast of speckled tussock grass against snow, and high mountains in the background.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Looking down towards the Wakatipu Basin.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Brackens Gully left, and and Mt Sale (1708m) right.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Deep snow near the summit. Justified our use of gaiters, although it was never very steep and we didn’t need our ice axe. There were two guys up there in just regular hikers, one in shorts and the other jeans. I hope they got wet feet!
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Sophia on the summit rocks.
Views from the summit
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Crinkly textures looking down the Cardrona Valley towards Wanaka.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
I love the subtle textures and contrasts in this photo of (possibly) Quartz Knoll in the Pisa Conservation Area. The track to this peak and others in the vicinity starts at the big car park at the high point of the Crown Range Road.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
I wondered if this distant mountain might be Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Lots of snow.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Looking towards Mt Sale.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
The Cardrona Valley at centre.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
The Remarkables (left), and Lakes Wakatipu and Hayes centre right.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Mt Pisa in the distance I think.
One the way down
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Leaving the summit.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
On the way down. The Gibbston Valley in cloud just off to the left.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Looking back up at the summit. The afternoon lighting made for a more colourful shot on the way down than when we ascended.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Lake Wakatipu at back, and Lake Hayes.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
The track winding away down there.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Sophia was waiting for me at this picturesque spot. I can get delayed taking too many photos, but who can blame me with scenery like this. As you can see it was already golden hour but we weren’t even a third of the way down.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
The Gibbston Valley filling up with cloud.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Pleasing ridgelines on the descent. You can just see Sophia bottom right.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Sunset, only we had quite a way to go before we finished!
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
A rather dusky looking image.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Approaching a gully on the Brackens Saddle Track.
Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
Looking back up the gully on the Brackens Saddle Track.

Track Notes

Referring to the map below: Starting at the ‘you are here’ point (Ford St), we took 14a (Tobins Track), 8b (New Chum Gully Track), 9 (New Chum Gully Link Track), 12 (Peters Way), 11b (Miners Track), 16a (Crown Peak Track), then returned down 16a, 13 (Bracken Saddle Track, also referred to as “such and such” pack track on a sign at the end of 16a, but I can’t remember the name), Glencoe Road, walking west and north, then back to Tobins Track (signposted; 14b and 14a) and the final descent to the start. All pretty obvious, and I can recommend doing the circuit section in the clockwise direction as we did. Plan for a full day.

Crown Peak ascent, Otago NZ
A map of the trails we took. Starting at the ‘you are here’ point (Ford St), we took 14a, 8b, 9, 12, 11b, 16a, then returned down 16a, 13, Glencoe Road west and north, then 14b and 14a again back to the start. All these tracks are well signposted. We were happy with doing the circuit section in a clockwise direction.

 

 

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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