Mountains in New Zealand can be an awesome challenge to hike or climb at any time of the year. If you’re a seasoned hiker and want a taste of what all the fuss is about then get your hiking boots and trekking poles ready. In the winter Ben Lomond and Bowen Peak near Queenstown are the perfect introduction to climbing snow-covered mountains.
- Summiting Ben Lomond Peak
- Bowen Peak
- Experiencing alpine conditions
- Stunning views of Queenstown and The Remarkables
Getting To The Trailhead
Firstly, you’ll need to get yourself to Queenstown’s Ben Lomond Crescent or the Tiki Trail at the base of the Skyline Gondola. Either track takes you to the same point. I prefer to go via the access track above Ben Lomond Crescent, which leads to an intersection signposted The Department of Conservation.
From here follow the small orange triangles, usually found on trees or stakes, and keep going until you come to a clearing away from the conifer plantation. The towering peak of Ben Lomond will be in front of you, rising to 1,748m. Continue to follow the bike track until you reach Ben Lomond ridge. Proceed to the left and keep to the middle of the ridge as the right hand side is quite a drop-off.
Ben Lomond Saddle
Once into the alpine area, you will come across a bench located halfway between Ben Lomond Peak and Bowen Peak known as Ben Lomond Saddle. Views here are outstanding, but just wait until you summit Ben Lomond! Proceed up to the left and prepare for steep, slippery walking where you will most likely need to use your hands to pull yourself over lichen covered rocks.
Ben Lomond summit provides 360° views of Queenstown, The Remarkables and all the way to Mount Aspiring and Coronet Peak.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the Ben Lomond to Bowen Peak traverse. Descend from Ben Lomond back to the saddle and make your way up the unmarked Bowen Peak (1,631m). It’s best to do this hike when visibility is more than 100m and you’ll need crampons in winter.
- Snow jacket or down jacket
- Thermal top and thermal pants
- Quality gloves for cold conditions
- Hiking boots
- Trekking poles (great for Bowen Peak during winter)
- 3L of water (minimum)
- Food and snacks
- Thermo blanket (for emergencies)
- Crampons are required for Bowen Peak during winter months
- Camera gear
How To Get There
Ben Lomond and Bowen Peak are located above Queenstown and are most easily accessible via Ben Lomond Crescent or the Tiki Trail near the Skyline Gondola.
An alternate route is the Moonlight Track, however this requires up to eight hours walking from Arthurs Point which is best done in the warmer months.
- Queenstown -45.030424, 168.657951
- Ben Lomond Peak -45.007883, 168.614873
- Bowen Peak -44.996862, 168.639294
In the summer months, summiting Ben Lomond is suitable for intermediate level hikers whereas during the winter months this is more of an intermediate to expert kind of deal (crampons are advised).
To gain confidence and top up your hiking skills why not join us on one of our Wilderness Escapes?
Again, during the summer months on a clear day, intermediate level hikers should have no trouble summiting Bowen Peak. However the winter months are a different story and an attempt on Bowen Peak is best left for expert hikers with crampons.
Conditions on any mountain can change within a few minutes so please be prepared for sleet, snow and high winds. Avalanches are unlikely in these mountains but always remain a possibility.
Before setting off on these hikes, check with The Department of Conservation online or their office at 50 Stanley Street, Queenstown, NZ.
Distance & Duration
Ben Lomond Crescent to the summit of Ben Lomond: ~20km return / 4-7 hours depending on fitness
Ben Lomond to Bowen Peak traverse: 8-10 hours
Bowen Peak: 5-6 hours
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