Ok, so I’ll confess right now, I biked around Lake Hayes instead of walking. I had my e-bike with me and just jumped on and rode it. Located 15 mins drive from Queenstown or 5 mins from Arrowtown. The walk is a lovely loop right around the Lake Hayes, about 8 km which would take you 2 to 3 hours if you walked it. Took me 1 hour 30 mins to bike, but I was stopping for lots of photos. The track is easy, nice and wide with lovely views of the lake all the way round. Go in the morning as early as you can before the wind gets up, then you’ll get those stunning photos of a mirror lake.
Hope you enjoy my photos and description of the the whole walk below.
We parked up at the Lake Hayes Pavilion at the show grounds. It’s the easiest place to get onto the track as the entrance is straight off the main highway to Queenstown. But there are multiple places to start including Brendemeer Bay, North Lake Hayes picnic area, the Arrowtown Road and off Speargrass Flat Road. Doesn’t matter which way round you go.
There’s a lovely boardwalk along part of the trail to protect the local wildlife, including a substantial number of Australasian Crested Grebe. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of them, I did see a fair amount of ducks, geese and Pukeko. There is quite a bit of rowing that happens on the lake.
Go early to see the stunning reflection on the mirror lake of the mountains of the Wakatipu Basin and the landscape as you walk around. The Lake Hayes walkway is also good for biking. While there are a few narrow sections, beginner bikers will enjoy the ride. Lake Hayes is one of the most popular Queenstown bike trails. This is certainly one of the best walks in Queenstown, I urge you to get out there and walk or bike it.
Lake Hayes Reserve is about three quarters of the way round Lake Hayes. It’s a really big picnic area with newish toilets and lots of parking for big vehicles. So long as there isn’t any algae bloom going on, you can happily swim in the lake with the ducks and geese.
It’ll take you 2 to 3 hours to walk around the whole of Lake Hayes. Took me 1 hour 30 mins to bike instead.
The distance between Queenstown and Lake Hayes is 12 km. The road distance is 21.6 km.