Roy’s Peak is the most popular hike in Wanaka. It takes you to the Instagram famous Peak with a stunning views to Wanaka lake. Most people choose to start it long before the sunrise just to get the best spot in the line (and yes, there is mostly a queue), to get the famous photo.
On one of our days off we decided to give it a go. We were really skeptical about this place as it is so overhyped and such a Must do. Mostly places like that don’t really live up to the hype.
We started our hike relatively late, around 10 am, as we were tired from a long week at work. The day was grey and a bit chilly as it was snowing in the mountains for the last two days. That was quite shocking as it was the end of the November (the same as end of May in Europe), so practically summer. We didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning to the coldest summer in this region for the last 20 years (at least that what locals said).
So the trail itself was quite steep and a bit muddy (because of the rain and snow) and for the most part it was actually quite boring. At least for us. The higher we climbed the less impressed we were. Most pictures online will only show the views from the summit. And it really looks breathtaking. So I can totally understand why people would choose this hike. But depending of your time limits and expectations, this might be a waste of your time.
The day we did it, it was also very crowded. Sometimes we had to wait at the side of the path just to let people pass. Let's remember that it was a pretty cold day, so imagine what would hapen in a very good and sunny day.
When we finally reached the snow we felt disappointed. The path was terribly muddy and a lot of people were dirty as they basically slipped and fell all the time. We stood there for a while and we came to conclusion that although we had hiked at least 2/3 of the whole hike, we didn’t feel any desire or passion to continue. It wasn’t even because of the mud.
Whenever we hiked, there was no such option for us as Not to reach the destination. Even if it was hard we always had the drive to keep going.
This time we didn’t.
And so we came back down. With no regrets.
A lot of backpackers and travelers will probably disagree with me, but Roy’s Peak is not a Must do.
We had done Isthmus Peak, so comparing to that, the hike itself was just steep, there were no changing landscape and a lot of nice spots for pictures and picnic spots.
I can’t really comment how it is in the last 1/3 of the trail, and it might be that that’s were the most interesting part starts. But while hiking Isthmus Peak and many other trails, they were so much more interesting, exciting and diverse right at the beginning and this trail felt just the opposite.
I did a little research before posting this and turned out, we are not the only ones that feel this way.
But anyway, it is just our experience, and by no any means we advise people to rely on that. Choose your own hikes and make your own memories.
Mostly those Must do, Must see and Must eat things are just a guidelines. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do something just because most people say it’s a must. Always choose the things that you are really interested in and feel passioned about.
Borring for at least 2/3 of the whole journey
Very muddy after rain (but it doesn't mean it is always like this)
Parking is awfully full
Views don't change much during your climb
Closed for lambing 1 October - 10 November each year
Drinking water is not available on this track
Toilets only at the car park
Views from the Peak are wonderful
Less people if you start before sunrise (still you will not be the only one for sure)