We had no intention of hiking Roy’s Peak on our New Zealand trip but after the Tongariro Alpine Crossing we were keen to squeeze in more amazing day hikes. The New Zealand National Parks website lists Roy’s Peak as easy, I am not sure which ultra fit person wrote that listing but I am here to say it is far from easy but so, so rewarding!
We were in New Zealand in the middle of Summer so we knew we had to start hiking early. We got up at 5am so we could go via the Wanaka Tree and then on to the start of the hike. The start of the hike is about 11 minutes out of Wanaka and by the time we made it to the start it was about 6.15am. There was only a couple of cars in the carpark so we knew we were some of the first people to start the hike for the day. As a side note the hike is on private property and is closed from 1 October to 10 November for lambing season. There is a small donation box at the start of the hike to contribute to keeping the track in good condition.
The hike up is pure steep hill, our calves were already burning about 10 minutes in but we were committed to making it to the top. Luckily even though it is super tough right from the start, the views are also amazing right from the start. Watching the sunrise over Lake Wanaka was absolutely breathtaking. For the next two and a half hours we just gritted our teeth and pushed ourselves up the hill. As we got closer to the top we could see that the peak was completely covered in fog. We crossed our fingers that it would move by the time we got there.
You have probably seen the amazing photos people take at Roy’s Peak – if not check out this link. I had assumed these photos were actually taken at the top… I was wrong. It was slighlty heart crushing when we realised that we still had not made it to the top. The good thing is that it is not that much further, about another half an hour and we finally made it to the top… completely covered in fog!!
With a handful of other people we sat and waited, and waited and waited. Luckily I had read a review were a girl had waited at the top for hours for the fog to move when she finally decided to walk down within 100m of her descent the fog was completely gone. The fog had literally just been sitting right at the top of the peak like a little piece of candy floss. With this in mind we decided to go back down a little bit and it was exactly the same the fog was just sitting right on the top of the peak and under it was beautiful clear blue skies and views of Lake Wanaka.
Photos cannot do justice to the breathtaking scenery from the top of Roy’s Peak. It was worth every painstaking step.
On our way down the path was absolutely packed with tourists making there way up to the top of the peak. By this time (about 11am) it was nearly 27 degrees and we were so grateful that we had got up early and did the hike before the heat struck. It took us a little over two hours to get back to the bottom. The downhill was probably just as tough on our bodies as going up. My knees were pretty achey the next day. But seriously after 3 hours of pure uphill and the most amazing views of my life I was nearly skipping down.
Would I recommend hiking Roy’s Peak? In an absolute heart beat. All four of us have said it was one of the best things we did on our trip, it is super hard work but seriously rewarding! Helicopters are also available to take you to the top but if you have the ability to walk yourself it makes the view even more amazing because you have worked so hard to get there.
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