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Bob’s Cove Track – Lake Wakatipu’s Best Vantage Point

Bob’s Cove Track – Lake Wakatipu’s Best Vantage Point

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Are you thinking about walking the famous Bob’s Cove Track by Lake Wakatipu, but don’t know where to get started? Well, I’m here to help!

Although I wouldn’t call this trail a hidden gem, it’s definitely one of my favorites hikes near Queenstown. As a local, you can bet I’ve walked this one a few times! From the gorgeous flowers along the trail to its epic views over Lake Wakatipu, this easy walk won’t leave you disappointed.

I’ve put together this complete guide to this trail to give you all the insider info I have, from where to get started to the best spots to look out for. You’ll find it all in this guide!

Bob’s Cove Track Overview 

Distance: Approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) return 

Elevation gain: About 50 meters (165 feet) 

Difficulty: Easy 

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 refers to Bob’s Cove Track as a “nature walk.” This is partially because 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 suit families and those who don’t consider themselves avid hikers.

Bob’s Cove FAQs 

Bailey points at the Bob's Cove viewpoint known as picnic point at Bob's Cove Beach
That’s the viewpoint in the background!

What to Pack 

Bailey walks through the forest along the Bob's Cove Track
Walking the forest from the parking lot!
Bailey walks up to Picnic point along the Bob's Cove Track
Walking up!

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, 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 

parking lot at Bob's Cove, New Zealand
parking lot at Bob’s Cove, New Zealand

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! 

Since there are no public buses that go to Bob’s Cove, you need to rent a car and drive yourself or take a guided tour that includes a stop here. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Bob’s Cove-specific tours, but if you were planning on exploring Glenorchy or taking a Lord of the Rings tour anyway, this full-day option includes a stop at Bob’s Cove. You’ll spend all day exploring various film locations from LOTR, which includes Twelve Mile Delta, so you’ll get to walk part of Bob’s Cove and enjoy the scenery as you explore.

This is a fantastic way to explore the area (especially if you don’t have your own rental car!). You can check out the details and book this tour here.

Bob’s Cove Beach 

Bob's Cove Beach near Queenstown, New Zealand
Bob’s Cove Beach near Queenstown, New Zealand

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.

Related Read: Walking this trail is easily one of the most relaxing things to do in Queenstown, check out my blog to discover the rest!

Historic Lime Kiln and the History of Bob’s Cove Track  

Historic Lime Kiln along the Bob;s Cove Track
Historic Lime Kiln along the 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 magical back then as it remains today.  

Related Read: The best way to explore NZ’s amazing hiking scene is to take a South Island road trip! You can rent a campervan in Queenstown or Christchurch, then spend the whole time exploring with your own set of wheels.

The Jetty 

Bob's Cove Jetty
Bob’s Cove Jetty

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! 

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Picnic Point 

Views of the Remarkables Mountain range along the Bob's Cove Track
Views of the Remarkables Mountain range along the Bob’s Cove Track

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. But it is still a very doable activity in the winter!

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 

Bailey walks back down Bob's Cove Track with views of Lake Wakatipu
Hiking back down!

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 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to your hike. But, it follows Lake Wakatipu and gives incredible views, so if you’re looking for a bit more, this is a great addition.

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!  

For those Lord of the Rings fans, Twelve Mile Delta was the film location for Ithilien Camp. You can see it on this full-day LOTR tour from Queenstown that I mentioned above! It’s a win-win, you get to hike and experience this important film spot, all while having an entire day out exploring!

Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown

A person slides down a waterfall while canyoning in Queenstown
Canyoning is scary and fun!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
A cruise on the TSS Earnslaw is a unique way to explore!

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

Hot Tub over looking the river and mountains at Kamana Soak in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kamana Lakehouse

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 help you plan ahead, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.

Kamana Lakehouse – $$$

For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town. Although it’s super peaceful, it’s just a 5-minute drive into the center of town. The place overlooks both the lake and the mountains, and the onsite restaurant uses local, seasonal ingredients to create the freshest meals. To top it off, 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.

La Quinta Queenstown – $$

If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. This beautiful hotel is right by the airport but still very quiet. Plus, 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.

Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $

My top choice for budget travelers is the 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 $55 NZD, and private rooms begin around $210 NZD. The Absoloot Hostel is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

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’s what most budget travelers use 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…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Thanks for Reading!

A selfie of Bailey at Bob's Cove near Queenstown
Thanks for reading!

Bob’s Cove is a beautiful place to explore and one of the best things to do while you’re here 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!

15 Absolute BEST Tours in Queenstown +My Personal Reviews

50+ EPIC Things to do on the South Island, New Zealand (By a Local!)

How to Hike Roy’s Peak – The Most Beautiful Hike in New Zealand