Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit (autumn), Remarkables Range NZ
The Queens Drive-Wye Creek circuit is a great walk high up in the Remarkables Range, with unparalleled views of the Queenstown area, steep drop offs, and rugged alpine scenery. Not one for those with a fear of heights!
Our second time to do this really excellent circuit walk, which offers extensive views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, rugged alpine scenery, and enough exposure on the Queens Drive portion to get the heart pumping. You won’t find many more dramatic and yet accessible day-walks than this.
We first did this walk in summer of 2018/19, and you can see that post here. It was a bit easier on this occasion in March, when there was no snow at all on the somewhat hair-raising Queens Drive portion of the route. Definitely one of the best day-walks I’ve done, but you need a head for heights, and basic navigation skills.
I noticed the fear I experienced on the Queens Drive had pretty much gone this time, so I was able to relax and enjoy the spectacle. The scenery was much the same, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted an excuse to write another post and include more photos, so here it is again…
Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit (autumn): The Scenery
I think the lighting was a little better for photography than when we first did this walk, although it was still pretty flat and overcast.
Shadow Basin and Queens Drive
Starting at The Remarkables ski field car park, you walk up the road a bit until a junction with another vehicle track to the right. Take this right turn and follow the track beneath the Shadow Basin Chairlift to the viewpoint over Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown.
If you don’t like heights you can go back down from here, but otherwise your adventure is about to begin. The Queens Drive starts just 20 or 30 metres to the left (south) of the lookout, and climbs steeply to then run along the western face of The Remarkables. This section is dramatic and a bit scary, but in good weather and with little snow I doubt there is any real danger.
A Boulder Field, Wye Creek Basin, and Lake Alta
You’ll eventually emerge onto a large boulder field: just head on through this, eventually keeping to the left to enter Wye Creek Basin along the edge of the biggest tarn, and drop down to the middle of the tarns to join the Wye Creek Route. This route is marked on some maps but I don’t think we ever saw a proper track, so you have to do your best not to tread on delicate alpine plants as you head up to the saddle on the left of point 2050m. From there the track is obvious enough as it heads down to Lake Alta, and then returns to the ski fields and car park.