Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ

Fabulous views over Lake Wanaka are a highlight of this walk up Roys Peak. Just expect to be joined by a few hundred others in peak season!

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ

Roys Peak has become a favourite destination for Instagrammers, attracted by the prospect of epic views over Lake Wanaka. The views are really excellent, but as a hike it can be lack lustre, as at least half of it is through unattractive pasture, and it’s along a vehicle trail the whole way. Still, on a clear day it’s worth joining the crowds of walkers making their way either to the summit, or else to that particular spot about two thirds of the way up where you get a picture of yourself or your friend backed by the best bit of Lake Wanaka. 

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Instagrammers queueing for that famous shot. A bit sad, but at least they were orderly.

I’ve done this walk three times in ten years, and I’ve seen the car park expand significantly during that time, but there were still people parking well up the road on the day I took these shots. Amongst the walkers are a good portion who have probably never set foot on a mountain before, some who play music out loud (you suck), people dressed in jeans, some wearing coats on the way up in the summer sun, and people carrying babies (respect).

All in all not the experience I look for in my hiking, but if you walk it out of season and maybe get up there early, then you might be able to enjoy the mountain with a few less people. And it was nice to see a variety of people enjoying the great outdoors.

No track notes required, but here’s a link to DOC info. There’s a 1200m height gain, although it’s a very steady ascent on a vehicle track.

Roys Peak Track: The Scenery

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Once out of pasture the mountain starts to look quite nice.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Boats on Lake Wanaka.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Not hard to take some big panoramas on this walk. This from the summit.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
The rather famous view of Lake Wanaka, although not from the spot where the queue was.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Sophia arrives at the summit. Mt Aspiring in the background.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Some people on the summit.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
There’s a track that continues on from the summit into the backcountry.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Mt Aspiring just tips over 3000m of elevation, and lends its name to the national park.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Sophia descending back down from the summit.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
One of a few epic panoramas I took. Hard to know which to include.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Not sure if this succeeds as an artistic shot, but I rather like spear grass so it made the cut.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Sophia stopping to admire the view on the way down. Her hair looks rather mane-like.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Perhaps if you zoom in a bit on the girl on the right you will see that on a fairly warm day walking up the mountain she is wearing jeans, a net dress over the jeans, and a coat, plus holding a bag over one shoulder. She looked a bit goth/emo. There were certainly some characters out that you wouldn’t usually see on a mountain.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Occasionally I talk Sophia into posing for a photo.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
There’s views all the way down..

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
The pasture was often full of thistles. Not so fond of this section.

Roys Peak Track, Wanaka NZ
Just some good honest fun between friends.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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