If you’re looking for a real hill to climb, an alternative to busy Roy’s Peak, Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill, look no further than Arrowtown’s secret peaks. And shhh! don’t tell! We don’t want everyone knowing.
The highest, most impressive peak you can see looking towards the north from Arrowtown is Brow Peak (1456m). It’s a good solid slog up there. The official route starts on the Sawpit Gully Loop before heading through beech forest to the Big Hill Saddle then along a ridge to the peak. It’s mostly poled track with a big gain in altitude into the alpine zone, so you’ll need to be fit, experienced and properly equipped. It’s also a hike best done in good conditions as the final section is along a rocky ridge that is exposed to the wind.
If a 1000m uphill climb sounds like no fun, you can always organise a car shuttle and do a high-altitude traverse from Coronet Peak Skifield to Brow Peak and down to Arrowtown. It’s downhill most of the way!
It’s not shown on the maps yet but there is now a track to the summit of Mt Beetham (929m) from the top of the ever-popular Tobins Track walk. Just keep following the dirt road around the corner and you’ll find a poled route up this cone-shaped peak. Enjoy the views on your way up Tobins Track, and enjoy the views even more at the top of the hill - the extra 250m of grunt at the end makes a big difference to the panorama!
You can make the walk into a loop using the steep, rough Tobins Drop track and the Millennium Walkway.
Queenstown’s Ben Lomond and Arrowtown’s Crown Peak have a good deal in common. They’re about the same height – at 1735m Crown Peak is just 13m smaller – both offer sensational 360° views from the summit rocks, and both are challenging full-day hikes. But they differ spectacularly in one important way. On Ben Lomond you’re liable to be sharing the trail with hundreds of other walkers. On Crown Peak, you may well not see another soul all day.
There are several options to start and finish the walk, all of them converging at the Crown Peak Track. You’ll need to be fit and well-equipped, and bear in mind there is no protection from the sun on this hike.
If any of these walks appeal, you can find more information on the Mahu Whenua map.
Todd Weeks (Brow Peak)
@theviewsichoosetoperuse on Instagram (Mt Beetham)
Undersoul Photography (Crown Peak)
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