If you are looking for a track in the Queenstown area of New Zealand's South Island, the Ben Lomond has to be at the top of your list. Rising high above Queenstown, the only thing more spectacular than the view might be the multitude of options this trail has to offer.
There is easy access to this track right from the heart of Queenstown; however, you can cut an hour and 400 meters of climbing off of your trip by utilizing the Skyline Gondola. This is a great option for travelers that have multiple destinations they are trying to see and want to save time. An easy-to-follow path from the top of the gondola complex allows access to the track.
Initially the track climbs through a forest of non-native Douglas fir. Eventually you emerge onto an open ridge covered in tussocks. Amazing views of the Ben Lomond summit towering above in the distance are frequent and stunning.
The track climbs steadily along the ridge with little reprieve and absolutely no sign of shade. Be sure to pack your sunscreen if the weather is nice. The temptation to turn around and enjoy the view of Lake Wakatipu grows by the minute. The Ben Lomond saddle, at 1,346 meters, marks a wonderful stopping point if you are crunched for time.
Should you want to continue on, be sure to assess the conditions on the summit. Plan for an additional 30- to 60-minute ascent to bag the peak. Both exposure and steepness increase during the final 400 meters to the summit.
It should be noted that utilizing the Skyline Gondola does require a fee. Check the company’s website for the latest pricing.