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. Complete Ben Lomond via Tiki Trail and receive 86 points. So once again, while you’re at the saddle you should assess your energy levels. The Skyline Access Road is basically just a long and windy gravel road for machinery and maintenance crew to get up to the gondola. It takes 6 to 8 hours to walk up and down Ben Lomond if you start walking from the Tiki Trail. Hike to the Ben Lomond SADDLE As you start the Ben Lomond Track from the gondola, the first part is through the woods and still shaded. HELPING YOU TRAVEL MORE, TRAVEL BETTER AND ALWAYS ENCOURAGING YOU TO TAKE THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED. For more information and up-to-date alerts about the Ben Lomond Track, access the official Department of Conservation website. 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. You’ll wanna sit there and just stare at the view for hours, but you still need to get back and the way down takes almost as long as the way up. 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. However, climbing Ben Lomond is not a joke and should not be underestimated, but the reward is well worth the effort. 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. This is the Ben Lomond Saddle where wide vistas on either side reward you for coming this far. I’ll be honest though, we decided to go up the gondola and come down knocking off about an hour and 40 minutes off our round trip. The most popular start to the Ben Lomond Hike is to hike the Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak. There’s only one way up to the summit from the Saddle, you’ll follow a narrow and exposed trail that will probably require some help from your hands for balance. Once you have soaked in the views, retrace your steps on the way back. Keep an eye out along the way – the hidden artefacts in the forest will leave you feeling like you were in the company of giants. Once you reach the saddle between Ben Lomond and Bowen Peak the track climbs the northeast ridge until it loops around and gains the summit from western side. Hiking and Trail Guide. https://www.myguidequeenstown.com/usefulinfo/queenstown-walks A communication device in case you need assistance. Some highlights from this video include: 00:01 The gondola to Bob's Peak below Ben Lomond 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. Along Lomond Crescent, which is where the Skyline Access Road starts, there is free roadside parking all day long. If you are tired you can use the gondola to go down. 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). Super accessible from the centre of town, this challenging climb has a 1,438m elevation gain that will keep you on your toes. Beyond the saddle, the track steepens and becomes very challenging. After you’ve set off from the saddle with determination to conquer Ben Lomond’s peak, the first half of the way up will be still be over a dirt track with patches of grass sticking out. 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. 2-3 hrs return from Gondola. Although the snow makes the route significantly more challenging, the views afforded … Food and water: Count on the hike taking 6-8 hours, depending on your level of fitness and how many photo stops you take. 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. Camera: Don’t forget it, because you’ll really regret it. 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. 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. 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. Take note of the time here and set yourself a goal to keep moving toward the summit. One of the great things about the Ben Lomond Track is that it is so easily accessible. 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. The Ben Lomond Track starts at the top of Bob’s Peak, a forested hill above Queenstown. 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. This is what you should bring with you for the Ben Lomond Track, both for comfort and for safety. It has almost everything you want in a day hike; different landscapes, a mountaintop to climb and incredible, and I mean INCREDIBLE views. If you skip the first part and start walking from the top of the gondola, it takes 4-6 hours. Roadside markers indicate which path is yours and which is a mountain biking trail, so keep an eye out for those. As you walk up the Tiki Trail you can already see more and more of Lake Wakatipu under you, and when you get to the top of the gondola you should definitely check out the view from the Skyline Viewpoint to give you a taste of the kind of views you’ll get from the top. How hard is the Ben Lomond trail? Take at least 1,5 liters of water as there is nowhere to fill up on the trail after the top of the gondola, and pack a lunch and some high-energy snacks. Be careful not to venture onto the mountain bike trail which runs alongside this section of track – it’s signposted and the trail name is ‘Beached As’. On Lomond Crescent you’ll find the start of the Skyline Access Road. Note that if you’re planning on hiking from town and not using the Skyline Gondola you’ll need 6-8 hours in total. Even if you think you’re a seasoned hiker, still add another hour on top of your regular pace. From the top of the gondola, the trail is 11km or 6.8 miles and from Queenstown, the trail is 14 km or 8.6 miles. Hiking Ben Lomond: the gondola route (2-3 hours return) There are two main ways to tackle this peak. To give you an idea of how extreme some of these trails are; at one point during my ill-advised scramble up that mountain biking trail I encountered a 4 meter high vertical wall with a sign at the top saying “Rollable as, bro”, basically telling mountainbikers that the best way to make it down this 4 meter drop is by doing a frontflip. During the hike you will cross private lands, so be mindful to leave no rubbish behind and stick to the formed track to avoid stock disturbance and farm hazards. Rainjacket: The weather can change quickly in the mountains. The second part is where you leave the last bits of vegetation behind and climb up over barren rocks until you finally reach the top. If you are looking for an amazing winter holiday filled with activities for the whole family, look no more: you’ll find a real winter wonderland in Queenstown. You gotta have some serious skill to land that I’d say! Extra layer of clothing and an extra shirt: You’ll be sweating buckets on the way up, but the top gets quite windy, so a dry shirt and an extra layer of clothing will save you from catching a cold. Tiki trail - find the location of the tiki trail here, 3. The first part to the top of the gondola is pretty steep, then to the Ben Lomond saddle the slope is going up gently and the last part to the summit is very steep, if you scared of height don’t do the last part. A stunning view over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the South-East, and flowing green hillsides and impressive mountain ranges to the North-West. The Ben Lomond Track in Queenstown is arguably one of the most rewarding day hikes in New Zealand. The Skyline Access Road will lead you halfway up Bob’s Peak, where you’ll find the signposted start to the single track at a large open area knows as the ‘Midway Clearing’. Hat and sunglasses: You should wear a hat and sunglasses for the same reason you should wear sunscreen; to protect yourself from the sun. 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. For about half an hour your views are limited to the surrounding hills. You’re not in the trees for long however, and most of the hike is exposed and above the treeline like most of the hiking seems to be in New Zealand. In 2018 they chose to wander, to explore and to show others how to follow their path. The trail is to the left, labelled Tiki Trail (beyond the cemetery) Transport and parking: There are 240 minute car parks beside the gondola building. In the winter, the hike gets a complete makeover by the soft blankets of snow, especially closer to the peak. This is the full Ben Lomond hike from Queenstown. If you want to avoid a crowd at the top, set off before 8am. Tiki to the top of the Gondolo took about 25 minutes, and they have a … If you still feel energetic when you reach the saddle, continue all the way up to the peak, but if you don’t then maybe it is best to turn around here. We started at the base of the gondola, and after nearly 3 hours of consistent uphill we had reached the summit. That’s how Craving Adventure, a travel blog with a strong focus on adventure, offbeat travel and authentic experiences, was born. Also accessible from central Queenstown is the challenging 4+ hour Ben Lomond saddle hike. 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. The Ben Lomond track starts at the beginning of the Skyline Gondola which is on Beacon Street. When you break out of the trees on Bob’s Peak, you’ll see the clearly marked trail contouring alongside a ridgeline and despite the long and steady work to hike uphill, the views of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu will give you the joy and inspiration you need to keep climbing. 1748m - Ben Lomond peak. The Tiki Trail starts from the base of the Skyline Gondola at the top of Brecon Street. 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 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. 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. This can be a full day walk so take extra clothing, drinks and food. If you feel like the hike to the saddle had taken the most energy from you, maybe it’s better to head back from there (a lot of people do it, so don’t get disappointed). Plan your trip to be down before the sun sets! The trail begins in the gondola car park and ascends quickly through a forest of Douglas Fir trees which you will hike through for about an hour and a half over a few downhill mountain bike trails before the trail turns into tussock and scrub and incredible views of the summit Ben Lomond begin to show themselves. 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. 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! The Ben Lomond track can be accessed via three main routes that start at the One Mile Carpark, the access road on Lomond Crescent or from the Skyline Building on Brecon Street. The Ben Lomond Track really has is all when it comes to great day hikes. 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. If using the third option the easiest form of access is via the Skyline Gondola which takes you part way up the mountain, with foot access from the same location via the Tiki Trail. 2. 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. You may also find a Kea or two - a native New Zealand alpine parrot that really enjoys greeting the hikers, sometimes by stealing their food, so keep an eye on your belongings. 6-8 hrs from Queenstown (40km) Be sure to take; water, sunscreen, hat, layers/ wind jacket, and snacks. The stunning panoramic views along the entire length of the track delight and entertain hikers the whole way. We are Tom and Zi, the creatives behind Craving Adventure - a travel blog with a strong focus on adventure, offbeat travel and authentic experiences. Make sure you aren’t put off by the steep start to the hike, hang in there, it gets easier. Access. If you begin your hike in the Queenstown CBD, you’ll gain a total of 1,438-metres of elevation in just 5.5-kilometres (11-kilometres return). A very important detail about Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve, is that is is also home to a world-class mountain biking park. Plenty of reasons to go back here another day after you’ve conquered Ben Lomond. Again, don’t underestimate this hike. Tom and Zi are the creatives behind Craving Adventure. Path of Ben Lomond Track. Trekked up Ben Lomond after forgoing the gondola and climbing the Tiki Trail. From the gondola complex look for the well-signed route that veers into the woods from the luge track. 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. #travel #hikes From thrill-seeking, to relaxation and mind games - there's an activity to suit everyone - at any time of the year. 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. 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. 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. This is where the track becomes very uneven, so be careful of where you place your feet so you don’t twist an ankle. For those in not as good of shape, you can ride the gondola up to save yourself some time. 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. After an hour or so we reached a saddle where the trail forks. Gondola Open Hours: Tap here for Skyline Queenstown Gondola open hoursGondola Prices: Tap here for Skyline Queenstown Gondola prices. Fortunately he got home without any serious injuries, but this could have ended much much worse. Zoom in to see the various hiking options for the Ben Lomond Day Hike. 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. 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! When you reach the summit of Ben Lomond, you’ll be rewarded with majestic 360-degree views of Queenstown, the Remarkables, Mt Aspiring National Park. Take the Gondola to Skyline, follow the signs to the saddle and the steep ascent on your left to the summit (1747m). So read on to discover 3 options for starting points on the hike, a map, what to pack and how to prepare. This is an option for those who want to check out the activities offered at Skyline Queenstown, but aren’t too keen on paying for a gondola ticket.The top of the Tiki Trail branches off into the Ben Lomond Track on the left and the Skyline Access Road on the right. 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. From the top of the gondola the track is 11 km long. Not too long ago a guy slipped and slid down 100 meters. Ben Lomond mountain is a very popular hike in Queenstown, due to its accessibility and beautiful views. Start Point: Begin at the bottom of the Queestown gondola. The Tiki Trail and Skyline Access Road do meet about halfway up, so you can combine parts of both too. 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. Take the opportunity here to use the bench seat as a resting point and give yourself time to fuel up with snacks. Push on a little bit further until you get to a resting area with a couple of benches. Ben Lomond Track: After ascending the hill from Queenstown (either by foot or gondola) the track follows the ridge just below the top. 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. The first half of the Ben Lomond hike was slightly more time consuming than the way downhill. 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. The official starting point of the Ben Lomond Track is next to the top of Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola and here are three ways to get up to the starting point. It was definitely worth the effort! Next time you find yourself in Queenstown, be sure to check out this amazing hike. Xx AK. You can also start near Lomond Crescent. Photograph is of the Ben Lomond Trail SNOTEL site. We've hand picked 5 fun things to do in Queenstown with kids, that parents will love too. Don’t think you can do this hike on your comfy sneakers, because you’ll come home with your feet covered in nasty blisters. 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. From the top stunning 360 degrees view, amazing hike!! Located at 1,748m over Queenstown and the Lake Wakatipu, the Ben Lomond summit is a bucket-list day hike for both hikers and adventure-seekers alike. On clear days trampers are rewarded at the summit with spectacular panoramic views. I did it! Both starts take you up a steep path climbing about 400 meters in one hour. The trek from the gondola is still a good 6-7 hard miles. For about half an hour your views are limited to the surrounding hills. I consider taking the gondola to be cheating and gondola tickets are quite expensive so I chose to walk up. I started from the bottom of the Skyline Access Road because it has free roadside parking. This is how you hike the Ben Lomond track. Ben Lomond. More site notes. 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. I don’t recommend hiking outside up Ben Lomond outside of summer and autumn unless you have experience hiking with alpine gear over snow and ice. The Ben Lomond Track starts at the top of Skyline Gondola. The most popular start to the Ben Lomond Hike is to hike the Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak. This way you’ll also avoid the hottest part of the day during the tough climb up. Make sure you aren’t put off by the steep start to the hike, hang in there, it gets easier. What to Bring on the Trail. This part is no joke - the incline is serious and the track gets really technical, but hopefully the ever expending views can motivate you enough to keep going. 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. Even though the official New Zealand DOC website lists it as easy, everyone that has done the hike strongly disagrees. Well, after the Tongariro Crossing of course. The top of the Skyline is the starting point for most of the mountain biking trails, and a lot of them cross the Tiki Trail and the Skyline Access Road. Take some time to take it all in. It’s the best day hike in Queenstown (and one of the best in New Zealand) and I highly recommend doing at least some of it. 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. 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. 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. Luge, Kiwi Birdlife Park, Time Tripper, Jet Boats and Go-Karts. 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. Start from the Skyline gondola complex with the Tiki Trail, amid native bush and surrounded by adventurers ziplining and mountain biking. The first is to take the gondola up and skip walking 400m of elevation, an hour of walking each way, and you can combine your gondola ticket with luge rides that are awesome. Remember that after reaching the peak, you still have to go the same length back. This route will lead you through old Douglas Fir’s and into some of Queenstown’s most beautiful native Beech forest. The views are truly epic, no matter which direction you look. Access. The map includes the 3 different start locations, and we've separated the Ben Lomond Saddle from the Summit section. See things to do in Queenstown at night here. What looks to be a sunny day with perfect clear skies can change into dark clouds and showers in no-time. Yes, there is free parking at the bottom of the Tiki Trail, but this parking lot has a maximum parking time of 4 hours. As you start the Ben Lomond Track from the gondola, the first part is through the woods and still shaded. The hike to the summit does not require any specialised mountaineering equipment or experience, but it’s recommended to keep your focus and body weight pointing toward the uphill side of the trail to avoid an uncomfortable fall. You need to do Ben Lomond Walkway if you enjoy hiking and spectacular views. In winter and spring the top half of the track is gets covered in snow and ice. The Ben Lomond Track is a demanding climb and a full day's hike with an 1,438 m elevation gain. The Ben Lomond Track is of medium - advanced difficulty and requires being reasonaby fit. The second is to walk up via a path called the Tiki Trail, and the third is to walk up over the Skyline Access Road. Read on to discover what else Queenstown has in store for you: Discover the best rainy day acitivities in Queenstown. At the start of the Tiki Trail there is free parking as well, but it is limited to 4 hours maximum and that won’t be enough time to complete the hike. How long does the Ben Lomond Track take to hike? Enjoy hot pools, twilight wine tours, historic cruises on the Earnslaw & the famous Night Luge! I missed a marker and ended up on a grade 6 double black mountain biking trail. However you get to this point, you’re above Bob’s Peak and you’re a third of the way there. But if you think taking the gondola will shorten your trip up Ben Lomond to 2.5 'moderate' miles, then you are nuts! Also note that this is a full day’s hike and the weather conditions can change rapidly, so be prepared with: The Ben Lomond Track is recommended to be completed during the summer season. So if you think you can use a mountainbiking trail as a shortcut; bad idea. From the gondola complex look for the well-signed route that veers into the woods from the luge track. 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 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. The hike up Ben Lomond mountain is one of Queenstown’s best day hikes. Rest up here, because from here on forward the real challenge starts. In the summer, Ben Lomond is an easy rated track flooded with tourists. 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