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Tiki Trail, Queenstown – A Steep Climb to Bob’s Peak

Tiki Trail, Queenstown – A Steep Climb to Bob’s Peak

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If you ask anyone what the best hikes near Queenstown are, chances are that the Tiki Trail will be mentioned more than once!

I love walking this trail whenever I get the chance, as it’s easily got some of the best views you can find here in New Zealand, and trust me, I’ve walked a lot of trails here!

There are so many ways to enjoy this trail, from sitting back and watching the sunset over Queenstown to hanging out at the restaurant at the top with a delicious meal. In this blog, I’ll give you the complete overview of this amazing route, giving you the complete picture to plan your own adventure.

So stick around for my top tips to conquer this epic trail!

Tiki Trail Overview

Bailey hikes up steps along the Tiki Trail on the way to Ben Lomond Summit
Up I go!
Scenic views along the tiki Trail in Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic views along the Tiki Trail in Queenstown, New Zealand

Distance: 2.1 kilometers one way (1.3 miles)

Elevation gain: 450 meters (1,476 feet)

Difficulty: Moderate

Time needed: 3 hours up and back with time at the top.

Type of trail: Out and back

The Tiki Trail is a short hike located within walking distance of Queenstown. The trail is not overly difficult, but it does climb 450 meters (1,476 ft) in elevation over a very short distance. I don’t consider this an easy hike, in fact, I find the trail quite tiring. With that said, it only takes an hour to 90 minutes (depending on the day I’m having) to reach the top. And on the way down, 30 minutes is more than enough time!

One great thing about hiking this trail is that you’ll save money by skipping the gondola. Although a nice ride, for some people, saving the extra money and enjoying a beautiful hike is much more rewarding, and I couldn’t agree more!

Related Read: A very similar hike to the Tiki Trail is Queenstown Hill. Although slightly longer, it’s a much easier trail to hike, especially for families.

Tiki Trail FAQs

Bailey hikes the Tiki Trail
Up I go!

What to Pack

A sign for the Tiki Trail along the tiki Trail in Queenstown
A sign for the Tiki Trail along the Tiki Trail in Queenstown

Runners – Hiking shoes are not necessary on the Tiki Trail unless you are hiking in winter (it’s one of my favorite winter hikes!). If you are, be prepared for icy conditions and snow at the top.

Water – 1 liter is usually fine for me especially if I’m hiking in the morning, which I usually do.

Hiking poles – The climb up is steep and for those with bad knees, hiking poles would be a great idea.

Money – You can buy food and drinks as well as a huge range of activities at the Skyline building at the top. Be sure to bring some money along so you don’t miss my favorite activity… The Luge!

Parking and the Tiki Trail Trailhead

Bailey walks up the start of the Tiki Trail
The start of the Tiki Trail!

The Tiki Trail starts from the end of Brecon Street at the bottom of the Queenstown gondola. Unfortunately, the parking here has been closed since the construction of the new gondola began and it won’t be making a return.

So, if you can’t walk from your hotel, then you’ll need to find alternative parking. If you’re driving, consider parking on Man Street. This street is considered residential, so you can park all day for free. Parking in Queenstown is a huge problem so my number one recommendation is to walk from your hotel or catch the bus.

Once at the gondola, finding the trail is super easy. On your right, you’ll have the gondola ticket office and the start of the trail to your left. If you can’t find it, just ask the ticket office and they’ll be happy to point it out.

Hiking Up to Bob’s Peak

Bailey hikes up the stairs along the Tiki Trail
Up I go!

Now begins the steep climb up the Tiki Trail! I will warn you, some sections are really steep and will sure take the wind out of your sails! However, there are plenty of great places to rest.

The first part of the trial is the worst in my opinion. I find that with every hike, and I’ve done a ton of hikes across New Zealand! Once I warm up though and get those legs moving, I find my rhythm.

The trail is completely shaded by pine trees which makes it nice no matter when you’re visiting Queenstown! However, as the climb continues, keep an eye out for those breaks in the trees so you can enjoy spectacular views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

After around an hour of hiking, you’ll think the trail never ends. Trust me, I’ve been there. Thankfully, the trail does eventually end as you reach the Skyline building on Bob’s Peak. At the end of the trail, simply turn right and walk over the Skyline building. Here you can explore, eat, enjoy the views, or experience one of the awesome activities I’ve mentioned below!

Related Read: If you’re looking for more hikes with amazing viewpoints, head to the neighboring town, Glenorchy! There are some amazing hikes in Glenorchy that range from easy nature walks to multi-day treks to fit any skill level.

The Gondola

The top of the Gondola in Queenstown, New Zealand
The top of the gondola at the luge!

Not everybody wants to go hiking through a forest up a steep trail. There’s nothing wrong with that! I have personally taken the gondola up to Bob’s Peak many times – I actually have a locals season pass.

The only downside to riding the gondola is that it is pretty pricey. The gondola is $52 NZD for adults and $36 NZD for children. Each ticket includes the return trip, and they have lots of cool package add-ons that include luge rides and buffet dinners (the restaurant is amazing!).

Unfortunately, they only offer one-way passes (which are cheaper) down, not up. You can purchase gondola tickets at the gondola station on Brecon Street.

Although on the gondola you won’t get to enjoy the Tiki Trail, you’ll still get the breathtaking views of Queenstown and save your legs at the same time.

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8 Things to do at the Top of the Tiki Trail

View of Queenstown from the top of the Gondola on Bob's Peak in Queenstown
The view is epic!

Mountain biking – The gondola is actually used by mountain bikers to get to the top of Bob’s Peak where they hit the many downhill trails in the area! It’s straightforward to do, and you can get day passes for the gondola as well as bike rentals in town. There are lots of different bike trails in Queenstown, and the ones from Bob’s Peak are just the start!

Note that there are no mountain bike rentals at the top, so you will need to bring your own bike (BYOB!).

Ziplining – The zipline at the top of the Tiki Trail has always caught my eye. It really looks like so much fun! Despite the ziplines not being overly long, this tour is about the views, and on such a steep hill, you feel like you’re so much higher. You can choose between 2, 4, or 6 ziplines, and they include a 21-meter (69-foot) drop- the steepest tree-to-tree zipline drop in the world!

You can book tickets for ziplining in advance starting at $119 NZD.

Stargazing – I actually did stargazing one night on the Skyline tour. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible so we instead did an inside experience (they did give us the option to cancel for a refund) where we learned about the stars and galaxy. Still, I want to get back up there to try it with clear skies and the actual telescope.

Luge rides – The Queenstown Luge is by far the highlight of Skyline. This gravity go-kart track is so much fun! At the top, you can buy tickets for the Luge and my only recommendation is to get a multi-ride pass. You can also buy combo tickets for the Luge and dinner in advance. After your first go (which you’re required to go on the slow track) you’ll want to hit the fast track! It’s a fun adventurous thing to do in Queenstown that I highly recommend.

Paragliding – Paragliding is one of the best ways to enjoy a unique view of Queenstown that very few get to see. The best part is the paragliding tours in Queenstown leave from the Skyline building. You’ll literally run off the edge of a cliff before your parachute will catch the thermals coming off the mountain and glide you through the air. A pretty cool experience if you ask me! You can get more info and book your ticket here!

Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar – Remember when I mentioned the amazing buffet dinner above? Well, I honestly can’t recommend it enough. The food at Stratosfare is really good quality and the views are spectacular. Be sure to book in advance if you want a table with the best views. If you don’t want to eat, then just get a drink at the bar and enjoy the view.

Aj Hacket Bungy – Yep, that’s right, Aj Hacket doesn’t just have the Nevis and Kawarau Bridge Bungy, they also have a bungy right in Queenstown. You get to jump over Queenstown quite literally!

Fun Fact: The majority of the world uses the spelling “bungee”, but New Zealanders (who claim to be the inventors of the sport) spell it “bungy”.

Continue onto Ben Lomond Track – If you want to turn this short hike into an awesome full-day adventure, then continue hiking onto the Ben Lomond Track. It starts just past the end of the Tiki Trail and from Queenstown, it takes around 7 hours to complete if you plan on summiting. If you want more info, I wrote a great guide to the Ben Lomond Track that includes all the info you need to hike the trail completely!

Essential Info to Remember

View from a clearing of Queenstown along the Tiki Trail, New Zealand
View from a clearing of Queenstown along the Tiki Trail, New Zealand

Bring money – If you want to buy something at Skyline then you’ll need money. Oh and don’t stress, they take cards!

You can take the gondola down – Let’s say you hike up the Tiki Trail but don’t want to hike back down. Well, the good news is you can take the gondola down as they offer one-way down tickets. Unfortunately going up you have the buy the standard return ticket.

Allow more time than you think – Once you get to the top, you can easily lose track of time while enjoying the Luge or some drinks.

Parking – It’s best to avoid the need for parking. Honestly, it’s a nightmare in Queenstown. Instead, plan to stay somewhere close to Queenstown town center.

Related Read: The Tiki Trail is a good option for any level of experience. If you’re new to hiking, be sure to check out my top 17 Useful Hiking Tips so you’re well-prepared to take on all of New Zealand’s best hikes.

Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown

Stirling Falls in Milford Sound, New Zealand
Stirling Falls!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
It’s an iconic activity in Queenstown!

While in Queenstown there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy… honestly there are so many it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites.

  • Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting – This is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best value for money, 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.
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise – This scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown is an activity great for any afternoon. The ship you will be cruising on is the Historic TSS Earnslaw and you will get to watch crew members add coal to the flames that power the vessel. Take in the mountain ranges and lush green valleys of Otago. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
  • Queenstown Canyoning Adventure – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek your way down a part of a Queenstown canyon 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.
  • Day Trip to Milford Sound With Picnic Lunch – This tour 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. This small-group tour goes for $289 NZD a person and I think it’s a really great value for a more personalized experience.
  • Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? Jet Boating is one of New Zealand’s most unique activities. On the tour out of Queenstown, you’ll be able to zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust, me it’s epic!

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!

Bailey poses for a photo along the Tiki Trail in Queenstown
Thanks for reading!

The Tiki Trail in Queenstown is a great short hike with a very rewarding view. Although it can be challenging, it’s over so quickly! So, thanks so much for reading my guide, and I hope you enjoy the hike and Bob’s Peak at the top.

You don’t have to leave now, though – you can check out all my blogs by navigating the menu bar above, or you can check out all of our Queenstown hike blogs here!

Here are a few specific reads that you might find interesting!

How to Pick the BEST Lake Cruise in Queenstown – My Honest Review!

12 BEST Stops on the Drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy

10 Easy Hikes in Queenstown, New Zealand