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Climbing Roy’s Peak for Sunrise

Climbing Roy’s Peak for Sunrise would be my favorite day hike in New Zealand. At 1,578 meters tall, the panoramic views on a blue bird day are mind blowing and no photos will ever do the view justice. You need to experience climbing Roy’s Peak for sunrise yourself.

Located in Wanaka, New Zealand. Roy’s Peak is a 16km (return) day hike and is one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand. It is a tough climb with a constant incline and little to no relief for your calf muscles but it’s worth every single inch of pain – trust me!

How to get to Roy’s Peak:

Roy’s Peak is located 6km outside of Wanaka it is roughly a 7-minute drive to the carpark.

From Wanaka township head north-west on Ballantyne Road and turn left onto State Highway 84. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit into Brownston Street heading to Cardrona/Queenstown then turn right onto McDougall Street. From here turn left onto Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road and the carpark is 4.5km on your left.

There are toilets located at the start and another toilet 6.5km along the track.  

Note: The track is closed for lambing season every year from 1 October to 10 November. You are unable to access the track during this period so plan your hike accordingly.

Roy’s Peak Track:

Roy’s Peak track begins by zigzagging along a steep 4WD track until you reach the conversation area. From here it continues zigzagging through tussock grasslands. This track crosses private farmland so please be respectful and stay on the marked track.

The track is a constant incline for the whole 8km hike. There are toilets located 6.5km up Roy’s Peak and when you reach these you know you have reached the final hard and steep 1.5km climb to the summit. Be aware of snow and ice along this last stretch of the hike. It can be extremely slippery, especially on the descend.

We completed the climb in September 2020 and got a blue bird day for it!

Stepping off at 4am, we summited at 6.20am in time for a 6.50am sunrise. The summit was cold and windy. It was -1 degrees Celsius when we started at 4am so you can only imagine the temperature at the top. The hands and finger tips froze even through gloves. Be prepared and layer up as much as you can. Gloves are essential.

Note: There were a handful of people at the summit for sunrise on this day and one couple was in shorts and singlet’s…. Clearly not prepared at all! Don’t be like them please. In winter especially, its suggested you have alpine equipment as the track has avalanche terrain above the 1000-meter mark.

The sunrise we witnessed was incredible! At 1,578 meters above sea level the view of Lake Wanaka, all the islands and bays and the snowcapped mountains of the Southern Alps was something you cannot describe. Bucket list material for sure.

We started the descend at 7.30am and reached the carpark at 9.30am ready for breakfast and high on life from the views we just witnessed.

Make sure you have good walking shoes or trail shoes for this day hike. Take food for fuel and ensure you pack enough water. There is no water available on the track.

I would have to say that out of all the hikes/climbs I have completed climbing Roy’s Peak for Sunrise would be my favorite hike in New Zealand. A challenging climb but the views I saw took my breath away.  

If you are down in Wanaka and fancy climbing mountains, then schedule it in! You will not be disappointed.

You could also check out Isthmus Peak. Some say it is even better than Roy’s Peak. Yes I have climbed Isthmus Peak as well. 🙂

Much love,
Sez x

p.s. Did you know this famous photo of Roy’s Peak is not actually the peak?! It is just a viewpoint! You need to keep hiking 1.5km to the top!

P.S. – you can always check out my Instagram page or Facebook. I post regularly on Instagram.

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