In winter and spring the top half of the track is gets covered in snow and ice. But despite its easy access and location to central Queenstown, the climb up has many challenges. Tom and Zi are the creatives behind Craving Adventure. Then the view opens up with Ben Lomond’s rocky peak appearing in the distance and you can already see the steep and exposed path to the top that awaits you. This is what you should bring with you for the Ben Lomond Track, both for comfort and for safety. The start of the track lies just 5 minutes outside of Queenstown’s centre, so you don’t have to go out of your way to do this hike like with some of New Zealand’s Great Walks for example. Some highlights from this video include: 00:01 The gondola to Bob's Peak below Ben Lomond The views are out of this world, I can honestly say that I haven’t found a hike in New Zealand that beats Ben Lomond’s epic views. For about half an hour your views are limited to the surrounding hills. The trek from the gondola is still a good 6-7 hard miles. Not only was this so steep that climbing up was a serious challenge, you also really don’t hear mountainbikers coming until they are basically about to hit you. The stunning panoramic views along the entire length of the track delight and entertain hikers the whole way. The whole hike from the top of the Skyline Gondola to the Ben Lomond Summit and back should take at least 5-6 hours with stops. For more information and up-to-date alerts about the Ben Lomond Track, access the official Department of Conservation website. Description Although Ben Lomond can be done from Queenstown proper, a start from the top of the Skyline Gondola will save an hour of work (not to mention around 400 metres of vertical climb). Beached As is narrow and flows well for the adrenaline seeking mountain biker but sticking to the Ben Lomond walking track is a much nicer experience for hikers. But if you think taking the gondola will shorten your trip up Ben Lomond to 2.5 'moderate' miles, then you are nuts! It takes 6 to 8 hours to walk up and down Ben Lomond if you start walking from the Tiki Trail. Hiking Ben Lomond: the gondola route (2-3 hours return) There are two main ways to tackle this peak. Skyline access road - find the location of the skyline access road here. The summit appears to be only a few minutes away from the saddle, but the hike from the saddle to the summit will take approximately 1-hour. Plan your trip to be down before the sun sets! Apart from the gondola, luge and mountain biking park there is also a restaurant called Stratosfare at Skyline, a startgazing site, and a paragliding center. The most popular start to the Ben Lomond Hike is to hike the Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak. As you start the Ben Lomond Track from the gondola, the first part is through the woods and still shaded. While it looks like the peak is right there in front of you, it will take you another hour to reach it. From the Skyline complex, follow a well-signalled track through the woods until it emerges into an opening that will give you the first views of Ben Lomond towering above. The Skyline Access Road is basically just a long and windy gravel road for machinery and maintenance crew to get up to the gondola. The time will fly by while you’re resting, the Ben Lomond Saddle is the first time on the hike you’ll get to see the awe-inspiring peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park. This is the full Ben Lomond hike from Queenstown. Be very careful when you cross these intersections, mountainbikers can come down at high speeds and are often so focussed on racing down that they might not even notice you. 1748m - Ben Lomond peak. Sunscreen: The sun in New Zealand is always harsh, even in winter or on overcast days you can easily get sunburnt, so always wear sunscreen. It’s practically in the city, but still sufficiently challenging and offers a great scenic view of the area from Lake Wakatipu, Arthur’s Point and Queenstown. There is some free parking available at the start of the Access Road, but if you can’t find a spot there, you can park at one of the many all-day parks available in town and take the short walk to the access road via Thompson Street and Glasgow Street. SNOTEL Site: Ben Lomond Trail State: Utah Site Number: 333 County: Weber Latitude: 41 deg; 23 min N Longitude: 111 deg; 55 min W Elevation: 5972 feet Reporting since: 1980-06-03 Questions about this site. It is not that interesting in terms of scenery compared to the Tiki Trail, and also a bit longer, but not nearly as steep to a good option if you don’t feel like exhausting yourself before the real hike even starts. The Trail to Ben Lomond: Our hike started just past where the gondola drops you off and heads off through pine forest. More site notes. Ben Lomond. We are Tom and Zi, the creatives behind Craving Adventure - a travel blog with a strong focus on adventure, offbeat travel and authentic experiences. Gondola Open Hours: Tap here for Skyline Queenstown Gondola open hoursGondola Prices: Tap here for Skyline Queenstown Gondola prices. I did it! Even if you think you’re a seasoned hiker, still add another hour on top of your regular pace. 2-3 hrs return from Gondola. From the top of the gondola the track is 11 km long. Note that if you’re planning on hiking from town and not using the Skyline Gondola you’ll need 6-8 hours in total. In winter you are required to carry and be able to use alpine equipment such as ice axe and crampons, as the track may change between snow and ice to very slippery and muddy. 6-8 hrs from Queenstown (40km) Be sure to take; water, sunscreen, hat, layers/ wind jacket, and snacks. Then once you walk out of the woods you get out in the open and this is where the track starts to go up through grassland. If you are tired you can use the gondola to go down. Site notes: Data is provisional and subject to revision. After approximately 1-hour of hiking above Bob’s Peak you’ll reach the Ben Lomond saddle, where you’ll find a bench seat at an intersection with the Moonlight Track. Ben Lomond Summit (6-8 hour return hike) One of the highest peaks in the Wakatipu basin providing the most stunning views of the region. Although Ben Lomond can be done from Queenstown proper, a start from the top of the Skyline Gondola will save an hour of work (not to mention around 400 metres of vertical climb). Hiking and Trail Guide. Access. Headtorch: Make sure you have enough daylight hours to go up and back down when you start the hike, but as the hike can easily take longer than expected, take a headtorch with you just in case. A very important detail about Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve, is that is is also home to a world-class mountain biking park. When I finally found a way to get off the mountain biking trail it turned out I did in fact manage to get on the Tiki Trail, just way further up than intended. The Ben Lomond Track starts at the top of Skyline Gondola. Even in the height of summer the elevation and exposure to cold winds can lower the temperature drastically, so be prepared to throw on a warm layer and a windproof jacket. A challenging hike to beautiful vistas above Queenstown and the Lake Wakatipu basin, Ben Lomond is a hike you don't want to miss when you come to New Zealand. I missed a marker and ended up on a grade 6 double black mountain biking trail. In 2018 they chose to wander, to explore and to show others how to follow their path. The Ben Lomond Saddle is also a critical point on the hike to reassess the weather conditions, which could have easily changed in the time its taken to journey here. Hiking to the Saddle After making your way up, either through the Douglas fir forest or by gondola, you will start your ascent to the Ben Lomond Saddle. Start Point: Begin at the bottom of the Queestown gondola. © 2017 - 2021 Skyline Enterprises Limited. Through their in depth and easy to follow travel guides & itineraries they help you travel more, travel better and always encourage you to take the path less travelled. Photograph is of the Ben Lomond Trail SNOTEL site. Follow the signs to the Ben Lomond Saddle, and eventually you’ll meet another trail which comes from the Skyline Gondola. Not too long ago a guy slipped and slid down 100 meters. However, climbing Ben Lomond is not a joke and should not be underestimated, but the reward is well worth the effort. The Ben Lomond Track is of medium - advanced difficulty and requires being reasonaby fit. I started from the bottom of the Skyline Access Road because it has free roadside parking. A communication device in case you need assistance. The map includes the 3 different start locations, and we've separated the Ben Lomond Saddle from the Summit section. So be prepared for a big day out, and if you have any doubts about your ability to complete the hike it could be worth taking the Skyline Gondola to cut a significant portion of climbing (and descending) out of your journey. Make sure you aren’t put off by the steep start to the hike, hang in there, it gets easier. This can be a full day walk so take extra clothing, drinks and food. The Ben Lomond Walkway hiking experience The track starts climbing through a plantation of firs, before you leave the forest behind and enter tussock country, where you’ll be able to see Ben Lomond above you. Beautiful Queenstown down below, Lake Wakatipu winding in front of you, the Remarkables and Bayonet Peaks across the lake in the distance, Moke Lake far below on the other side and the Southern Alps stretching behind it. This is the Ben Lomond Saddle where wide vistas on either side reward you for coming this far. In the summer, Ben Lomond is an easy rated track flooded with tourists. And the best thing is, you can head out straight from your Queenstown accommodation without the hassle of organising transport or paying for a guide. Once you have soaked in the views, retrace your steps on the way back. Tiki to the top of the Gondolo took about 25 minutes, and they have a … You can also start near Lomond Crescent. #travel #hikes The full hike takes 6-8 hours and has an incline practically the whole way, so one thing is for sure; this certainly counts as leg day! The Ben Lomond Track in Queenstown is arguably one of the most rewarding day hikes in New Zealand. From the top of the gondola, it takes 4 to 5 hours and from Queenstown, it takes 6 to 7 hours to complete the trail. The reward for 6-8 hours of walking (return) is a spectacular panoramic view of the Remarkables mountain range, Lake Wakatipu and the bustling town below. There are 3 potential starting points to the Ben Lomond Track: From the bottom terminal of Skyline Queenstown, taking a scenic Gondola ride to the top of Bob’s Peak will save you (and your knees) up to one hour of hiking. Combined with the Tiki Trail, the Ben Lomond Track is 14 km long. Hat and sunglasses: You should wear a hat and sunglasses for the same reason you should wear sunscreen; to protect yourself from the sun. Along Lomond Crescent, which is where the Skyline Access Road starts, there is free roadside parking all day long. Next time you find yourself in Queenstown, be sure to check out this amazing hike. Since access to the Ben Lomond track from the One Mile Creek track has been closed, you have two options to reach the Ben Lomond summit: Option 1: Tiki Trail to the Skyline Gondola to the Ben Lomond Track This option is the best if you want a full-day hike straight from town. The summit is special (especially in winter / early spring) but if you only go as far as the saddle you’ll still see some incredible vistas. Luckily this is where the Skyline Gondola goes, and you can shave a good chunk of time (and effort) by riding up and starting your hike from the top. When you’re on the top you’re standing at 1748 meters above sea level and just climbed a total elevation elevation of 1403 meters. This route will lead you through old Douglas Fir’s and into some of Queenstown’s most beautiful native Beech forest. The start of the Tiki Trail is at 345 meters above sea level, the top of the gondola at 770 meters, the Ben Lomond Saddle sits at at 1326 meters and Ben Lomond’s Summit stands at 1748 meters, so you’ll climb a total elevation of 1403 meters if you start from the bottom! Frankton Arm WalkwayThe Frankton Arm walkway is also wheelchair-friendly, and the relatively flat … Ben Lomond Track: We did this after the gondola - See 686 traveler reviews, 493 candid photos, and great deals for Queenstown, New Zealand, at Tripadvisor. You gotta have some serious skill to land that I’d say! As mentioned before, the Skyline Access Road and Tiki Trail do meet about halfway up, so my plan was to switch over to the Tiki Trail as soon as I could. The views are pretty great and the path is well-kept. Tiki trail - find the location of the tiki trail here, 3. We've hand picked 5 fun things to do in Queenstown with kids, that parents will love too. Rainjacket: The weather can change quickly in the mountains. 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