Queenstown and Arrowtown have so many places to go running, it’s hard to know where to start.
Whether you’re a rookie or a hardened trail runner, there’s plenty of options. Many of the shorter local walking tracks are suitable for running and then there’s a whole host of competitions like the Queenstown Marathon and the formidable Kepler Challenge.
So, if you’re training for your next big challenge, or just want to stretch your legs and experience Queenstown’s beauty, here’s five trails that must be on your Strava app.
The Simple Scenic Route: Queenstown Gardens and the Frankton Track – 45 mins +
Start in the Queenstown Gardens and head along the lower path, leading to Park Street. Keep going and you’ll end up on the Frankton track.
This trail follows the edge of the lake and is pretty much flat the whole way with shade from the trees. For an extra-long run, you can run all the way to the bridge and back (this would almost be a half marathon distance).
Alternatively, park your car at the beginning of the Frankton track and run to the Boat Shed café (coffee break optional) and back for a quick 45min ish refreshing run.
The stunner: Moke Lake – 45-minute loop
This track so pretty it feels a bit like you’re cheating. Drive along the dust road to the popular camping ground, where there’s plenty of parking and toilets.
The loop has a few inclines, but is overall easy going with spectacular views. Cool off in tranquil Moke Lake afterwards, but beware of lingering sand flies.
Uphill training: Queenstown Hill – 30mins +
This track is less than a mile long, but it’s uphill all the way. The beginning of the track is particularly steep, levelling out a little as you wind through the pine trees.
Don’t stop at the ‘Basket of Dreams’, push up the final slope for rewarding views and remember to take is easy on the descent to save your knees from injury!
Track starts on Belfast Terrace and parking is available at the track entrance.
A bit of history: Mt Crichton and Sam Summers’ Hut – 1.5 hours +
This loop tack incorporates great views at the top, and a little history – Sam Summers’ old gold mining hut is in the middle of the track (and there’s a toilet here too).
You’ll overlook Lake Dispute and cross the Twelve Mile Creek twice. There’s plenty of shade under native trees on this run. Keep an eye out for track signs as the path is not always obvious. The track has been improved and levelled recently, but there’s still tree roots and rocks to watch out for.
The challenger: Ben Lomond – 4 hours +
This popular walking track is an uphill struggle. You’ll need to be comfortable running uphill for this one or your legs and knees will certainly be sore.
You can start at the bottom of the gondola (or the top, to make the track slightly sorter) or One Mile Creek. Take it easy through the trees and make your way to the clearing. This is about one third of the way up and as you reach the saddle, you’ll see Ben Lomond’s peak on your left.
The crawl to the very top is steep and rocky, but rewarding, with beautiful panoramic views.
**Note that these run times are an estimate, run at your own pace and enjoy the trails. The Department of Conservation centre has maps, weather alerts and trail advice for many of the walking and running tracks in the region, they’re worth a visit if you’re new to these trails.
Remember to bring water and energy gels or similar for those longer runs and tell someone where you’re going. Above all, stay safe and happy running!