It’s a straightforward walk up to beautiful Lake Alta from the Remarkables ski field car park. And another short option is to climb to wide open views of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown from Shadow Basin Lookout. If you are willing to do some boulder hopping and navigate one steep section, then you can combine the two into a circuit. You’d be hard pressed to get so much alpine scenery and epic views from any comparably sized walk in NZ.
Track notes at the end. For anybody with a real head for heights you can consider venturing from Shadow Basin Lookout onto Queens Drive, an unmarked route high up on the west face of the Remarkables. You can see that route marked on the photo below. You can go on to complete a fabulous circuit, returning via the Wye Creek Tarns and Lake Alta: see that post here.
Lake Alta – Shadow Basin Lookout Circuit: The Scenery
Shadow Basin Lookout
Queens Drive (part)
Here’s a few shots from our side trip part way along the Queens Drive. It starts just to the left (south) of Shadow Basin Lookout. It’s not that obvious. Check out my post on the full walk for detailed tracks notes.
We walked this circuit anti-clockwise. The route follows a vehicle track until near Shadow Basin Lookout. There’s then a short track through a boulder field to reach the lookout. If you are not continuing on to the Queens Drive then back track from the lookout and cross a boulder field to the ridge, then find a spot to drop steeply to the lake.
We intended to do a much longer loop, and would complete the Queens Drive – Wye Creek loop in January 2019. We realised then we had gone only about halfway along the Queens Drive on this occasion.
On our first trip to Queenstown in 2008 we walked up to Lake Alta and back from the car park, and I’ve included a few pics from this day also. If you wanted to visit the lake and lookout without the off-track portion, then consider just walking up and down both tracks. Neither are all that long.