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Ah, Bob’s Cove. I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes this place the most magical. It might be the fact that the bay (although on the edge of Lake Wakatipu) appears like it could be a tropical ocean bay somewhere on an exotic island. Or maybe, it’s the endless flora and fauna everywhere you look. Or even yet, maybe it’s the simple Bob’s Cove Track viewpoint or the relaxing beach areas.
Likely, Bob’s Cove is a special place because of a combination of all of these things, and the best way to experience it all for yourself is to walk Bob’s Cove Track. This is one hike in Queenstown you don’t want to miss!
In this blog, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about Bob’s Cove Track including the short loop to Picnic Point, connecting to Twelve Mile Delta, what to bring, where to park, and so much more!
Bob’s Cove Track Overview
Distance: Approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) return
Elevation gain: About 50 meters (165 feet)
Time needed: 30 Minutes
Type of Trail: Loop track
Bob’s Cove Track is likely the easiest hiking trail around Queenstown – so easy that practically anybody could do it at any time of year! In fact, the NZ Department of Conservation actually refers to Bob’s Cove Track as a “nature walk.” This is partially due to the fact that the trail is short and sweet, and partially because the trail showcases some very unique native bushes and plants.
Bob’s Cove Track is a loop that takes you up to a lookout on Picnic Point over the cove and Lake Wakatipu. The stunning turquoise waters are nothing short of breathtaking. In the summer months, it’ll be hard to resist jumping in for a refreshing dip!
Although Bob’s Cove Track is officially only a short 2-kilometer (1.2 miles) long loop track up to the viewpoint and back, it’s often confused with the Twelve Mile Delta Track that connects with it. This was really misleading to me at first because some websites are wrong with this info, mistaking Bob’s Cove Track with Twelve Mile Delta Track.
So, to prevent you from getting confused (like I was), this blog is specifically about the official Bob’s Cove Track, which is in fact, the short lookout loop track.
Related Read: Other easy hiking trails in Queenstown include the Glenorchy Boardwalk, Mt Crichton Loop Track, and of course, Queenstown Hill. All these trails are suited to families and those who don’t consider themselves avid hikers.
Bob’s Cove FAQs
What to Pack
Swimming stuff – Within minutes of walking on Bob’s Cove Track you’ll come to a beach that is awfully inviting for a swim. Don’t make the same mistake I did and bring your swimsuit and towel!
Sun protection – The trail isn’t shaded and you’ll need some sun protection.
Decent footwear – Hiking boots aren’t required for this easy hiking trail but having some comfortable footwear would be great. The trail up to Picnic Point is steep and wearing sandals or flip-flops might prove to be a challenge.
Overall, Bob’s Cove Track is a quick trail and just your basic walking necessities will be suitable.
Parking and the Bob’s Cove Track Trailhead
The first step to hiking Bob’s Cove Track is to find the parking lot, which as I found out firsthand, isn’t as easy as it sounds. The main issue is that the parking lot isn’t signed from the road which makes it easy to miss.
Luckily, you can find the exact location of Bob’s Cove Track parking lot on Google Maps (gotta love them Google Maps!)
If you aren’t a maps user, you can still find the trailhead with a couple of directions. Just head out of Queenstown along Queenstown-Glenorchy Road past Fernhill and the Moke Lake turnoff. After 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) you’ll see a large sign on your left for Twelve Mile Delta. Keep going for 2 more kilometers (1.2 miles) until there is a small turn-off on your left. From this parking lot, you should see a sign for Bob’s Cove Track, and then you’ll know you’re in the right place!
The sign at the trailhead of Bob’s Cove Track indicates that the loop should take 30 minutes. It also has information about other trails you can continue onto including Derelict Hut and Twelve Mile Delta. I personally recommend just hiking Bob’s Cove Loop Track as it’s the most beautiful portion. You can always drive to Twelve Mile Delta afterward to check out that area if you’re curious!
Bob’s Cove Beach
To me, the best part about Bob’s Cove is the beach! That’s right, after only a couple of minutes of walking on Bob’s Cove Track, you’ll come to a lovely beach. From here it’ll be hard to convince yourself to keep walking as you’ll likely want to set up for a swimming and sunbathing session!
In my best advice, leave the beach for now and keep moving to the viewpoint. You can stop at the beach on your way back and stay as long as your heart desires. Even pack a sneaky snack or a few drinks to enjoy here at sunset – it’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Queenstown!
Historic Lime Kiln and the History of Bob’s Cove Track
As you continue along Bob’s Cove Track you’ll reach a historic lime kiln from the 1800s. Wakatipu Lime Company used this structure back in the day to process limestone from the area.
This is only a small portion of the history of the area. In fact, Bob’s Cove was named after Bob Fortune, the commander of the William Ree’s (the founder of Queenstown) boat. Bob Fortune used to spend a lot of time in Bob’s Cove, especially during storms where it was a safe place to go.
But long before Bob, the Maori people also cherished Bob’s Cove. They called it “te Puna-tapu” which means sacred pool. It’s very clear that people all throughout history have really enjoyed Bob’s Cove, and it was likely as magically back then as it remains today.
Continuing along the trail past the lime kiln you’ll wind your way through lots of native plants as you walk around the bay. Eventually, you’ll come to a wooden jetty (or dock) which makes for the perfect place to take a couple of those Insta-worthy pictures.
This jetty also marks the end of the easy portion of Bob’s Cove Track. From here, you’re in for a bit of a workout!
Picnic Point is a lookout located up on a hill. It’s a fairly steep climb, but it is also short and can easily be accomplished in five minutes or so. Don’t be fooled though, this section of the trail will have you huffing and puffing (as it did for me.)
Keep pushing on though until you reach the top. From here, it’s all about taking pictures of the incredible view and then making your way back down the hill along the track on the other side.
Tip: The best spots for photos are at the very top and on the way back down from Picnic Point. So, don’t waste too much time stopping for photos on the tough climb up.
The walk back down from Picnic Point can be a little tricky in wet or icy conditions. Hiking poles would come in handy in this case, or at the very least, take your time.
Related Read: Across the lake from Bob’s Cove is the Walter Peak High Country Farm! This is another great place to visit if you have the time and includes a ride on a steamboat across the lake.
Continue on to Twelve Mile Delta or Call it a Day
Once at the bottom of Picnic Hill you have two options: 1) go left and continue on Bob’s Cove Track back to the parking lot where you started, or 2) go right and hike on to Twelve Mile Delta.
The latter option is a lot longer and will add an additional 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to your hike.
If you continue back towards the parking lot then you can relax at the beaches and take your time – that’s exactly what I always do!
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
There are plenty of activities that will keep you busy while you’re in Queenstown. Honestly, there are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites:
- Take a cruise – Aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise you’re in for a scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown that’s great for any afternoon. This is one of the last coal-fired steamships in the world and you get to watch the crew add coal to the flames to power the vessel as you take in mountain ranges and lush green valleys. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Watch a sunset – As the day draws to a close in Queenstown, make sure to head to the shores of Lake Wakatipu to watch a sunset. It’s one of the best viewpoints to watch the sun sink behind the Southern Alps. I like watching from Queenstown Beach or Perky’s Floating Bar where you get a view of the lake and delicious food and drinks too!
- Go canyoning – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek as part of this Queenstown Canyoning Adventure with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- See Milford Sound – This day trip to Milford South with a picnic lunch will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included.
- Wine tasting – This Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money as for $239 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.
Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned!
To get you started, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $
The first is for budget travelers and that’s Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget private rooms and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu! Dorms are around $65 NZD, and private rooms begin around $230 NZD. It is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
La Quinta Queenstown – $$
If you have a little more money to spend, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. It’s a beautiful hotel in a quiet but close location and the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room. Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.
Kamana Lakehouse – $$$
For a luxurious stay, you can’t pass on Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town, far enough that it’s peaceful but close enough to walk to take a short drive into the center of town. Many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths! The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!). Rooms start around the $400 NZD mark and you can check availability and book online here.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
- JUCY – JUCY is one of our favorite rental companies in New Zealand! They have a huge inventory and offer regular cars, small campervans, larger campervans, and even motorhomes! The prices are also super competitive and their multiple offices around NZ make pick-up and drop-off a breeze. You can check availability, prices, and book with JUCY online here.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for Reading!
Bob’s Cove is a beautiful place to explore and one of the best things to do in Queenstown! Bring your swimsuit, a camera, and enjoy the views!
Be sure to let me know if this hike lived up to your expectations once you complete it – you can comment below! Also, browse the remainder of my Queenstown hiking blogs for more inspiration and amazing trails in the area! Or pick from these popular reads on our site below!