Roys Peak Track Wanaka
Roys Peak Hike in winter, summer or anytime
Roys Peak Track is an excellent 3 hour walk straight up the mountain to the top, it can be pretty hard going. It’s a 5 to 7 hour round trip walk from the car park to the top and back. I did this walk in the summer time, but if you prefer the stunning views of snow capped mountains then enjoy the walk in winter, but be prepared, it’s damn cold up there. The start of Roys Peak Track is only 6 km from Wanaka town. From the summit of Roys Peak you will get the best ever views of the South Island Lakes and Wanaka town, well worth the slog and slightly boring hike to get up there. If you are hiking in the summer, expect the sun to be beating down on you throughout your trek so take plenty of sunscreen.
In summer, if you start the walk at around 3 am – yeah I know – you should make it to the top for a stunning Roys Peak sunrise – at least you should get a carpark and the track is a bit quieter at this time.
Keep reading below for the full walk details with points of interest, photos and more info on Roys Peak Track.
If you don’t have that much time but still want stunning views of mountains and lakes, then do the Rocky Mountain Summit Track instead, it’s only 3 hours return.
Roys Peak car park
In 2019 the Otago Council upgraded the car park with space for 100 cars. However, it can still get full by 9am. You should not leave valuables in your car as theft can sometimes be an issue. At the moment the parking is free with a donation, but this may change.
Roys Peak Winter Weather
Summer is obviously the best time to walk to the top of Roys Peak, but it can still be a hot slog with no pretty snow capped mountains to take photos of. If you can hack it, go in the winter when there is still snow around. Although it’s rare for the snow to sit on Roys Peak, however the surrounding mountains should still be a delight. The entire trail is completely exposed. In the winter, you should expect some snow along the trail and at the top, and even ice in some stretches. Make sure you have good winter gear with you.
Finish off your holiday with some awesome things to do in Wanaka. If you haven’t done the new waterfall climbing adventure, you don’t know what you’re missing, it’s thrilling. There are two levels, 1.5 hour beginner climb or the big 4 hour intermediate waterfall climb.
Quick Facts about this walk
- Location: Wanaka, Central Otago, South Island NZ
- Distance: 16 kms
- Roys Peak Hike Time: 5 to 6 Hours
- Difficulty: Hard – You need to be reasonably fit to complete the track.
- Wheelchair Access: No. Not suitable for prams or pushchairs either.
- Route: Double back the same way
- Elevation: 1578m
- Wet Feet: No
- Water: There is nowhere to fill up a water bottle on Roys Peak so take plenty of water with you
- Toilets: Yes, one at the base and one at the viewpoint 30 mins from the summit
- Dogs: No
- Mobile Coverage: Yes
- Camping: Not allowed on Roys Peak
- Last Updated: November, 2019
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Points of interest along the walk
Point 1: Roys Peak Car Park
Just a 6km drive out from Wanaka village on a sealed road. There is a new sealed car park for 100 cars in 2019 with more room than before. You can’t miss the toilet.
Point 2: Wallis Alan Scaife Resting Place
Mr Wallis 1887-1965
He picked the best spot in the South Island. The trail is steep and follows switchbacks until you reach the top.
Point 3: Roys Peak Summit
I thought if I start walking at 0900H that would be very good. But I was meeting people heading back down to the car park before I was even half way to the top. One group left at 0530 H just so they would reach the top before it got too hot. I was amazed at the age of the walkers, 60 years plus, at 57 years I felt quite young, but my legs didn’t. Then when I did manage to crawl to the top Mum and the kids beat me to the best seat on the mountain.
Many will only hike as far as the famous Roys Peak viewpoint, I continued on, right to the very top. The viewpoint is often confused as “Roys Peak”, but this first viewpoint is actually not the top summit. You still need to hike for another 30 minutes to reach the true top of Roys Peak Track.
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I always use Booking.com instead of Airbnb for all my accommodation now. It works out cheaper, they don’t have those extra “Service Fees” or extra “cleaning fees”. Looks cheap until you get to pay. Plus Booking.com have a lot of holiday homes now, pretty much the same selection as Airbnb. You won’t miss out on the range.