Summary of my walk to Glendhu Bay:

I did the walk around Lake Wanaka from Waterfall Creek to Glendhu Bay in just over 3 hours at a distance of 10 km. I found the track quite good with a few steep parts here and there.

The day was really sunny, this made the little lakefront beaches sparkle. I also enjoyed the wide views out to Mt Aspiring National park, even with a little snow on the mountains. Walking the track from Wanaka to Glendhu Bay rather than the other way, will give you better views I think.

The sign says it’ll only take 2 hours and 30 mins but at a steady pace and taking photos it took me just over 3 hours.

After the Wanaka flood the lake washed out bits of the track making biking a challenge in the soft sand. Still a great ride though and I’m sure all the driftwood will wash away over time.

Biking the track

If you bike the track it’ll probably take you around 1 hour (from Waterfall Creek) depending if you’ve got electric or not. It’s pretty tough going if you don’t have an e-bike. You can hire an e-bike electric mountain bike and collect it from Wanaka town at 10am.

SAVE 40% on last minute tickets on the Wanaka Jet Boat Ride.

Glendhu Bay Track Walk in Wanaka, Copyright
Glendhu Bay Track Walk in Wanaka, Copyright

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Wanaka, South Island, NZ
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Time needed: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Medium
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: One way
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: Only at Waterfall Creek and Glendhu Bay (long drop)
  • Dogs: Leash only
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes, good

Summary points about this walk

Points of interest along the walk​

Point 1: Start of the walk at Waterfall Creek car park

Plenty of parking at the start of the walk. I didn’t take our friends dogs this time but I have done before, they love this walk, especially chasing the rabbits! So long as they are well behaved you don’t need to have them on a lead. But you must pick up all your poo.

Point 2: First & second lookouts are quite close together

At the top of the second small climb is the better of the two look outs. Take a couple of minutes and enjoy the view. This is the best point to look down on to Ruby Island.

Point 3: Third look out point about 20 mins in

If I’m walking the dogs, this is usually as far as I’d go but today I’m walking all the way to Glendhu Bay. Take a sharp left off the track up to the seat, sit awhile and take in the massive views over Lake Wanaka.

Point 4: Slaughterhouse Creek & first lakefront beaches

There really isn’t much to see at Slaughthouse Creek, just a bridge over the stream. But you can walk down to the Wanaka lake edge and dip your toes in the freezing water. However, if you walk a bit further you’ll be rewarded with much nicer beaches.

Point 5: Turn off to the lake front

When I got to this sign, I’m like, if I go down to the lake will I need to double back or carry on and how far is it? I went to the lake thinking it would continue and meet up with the track, but it doesn’t. However, I’m really glad I did the detour, the lake beachfront was stunning and it only took me 5 mins to get there.

Point 6: Damper Bay just over half way

As I rounded the corner and headed down into Damper Bay I was rewarded with an excellent view of the lakefront beach. The track continues behind the beach with not many opportunities to get on it. But wait until you round the next corner for something even better! Damper Bay is 5.7 km along the 10 km track.

Point 7: More stunning lakefront beaches

Just around the corner are more lovely beaches, much nicer than Damper Bay. I stopped, had a bite to eat, drank some water and paddled in the clear lake water for awhile before heading off. The sand was nice and soft here.

Point 8: Along the last bit of the walk to Glendhu Bay

Not quite as much to see on this part of the walk back to the car park at Glendhu Bay. You can see all the drift wood all over the track after the flood when Lake Wanaka got really high. I’m sure next time I walk this it’ll all be gone!

Once you reach the car park you can continue on for another 1.7 km to the Glendhu Bay campground. When I did this walk the place was packed and it’s a massive campground too! Loads of people enjoying the lake with their boats and jet skis.

See more of my walks in Wanaka