Last Updated: 12th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Queenstown Hill (Te Tapu-nui)

Queenstown, Otago

Submitted by Andre Chalmers

Last Updated: 12th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 10 ?

Gnarl Factor: 27 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe



Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +17.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -17.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







Fully open to the public all year, the trails from Gorge Road and Andrews Park are public and unrestricted. Only follow the bike trails when there are no bikers around - usually at night or winter. Some of the land at the start and beyond the top is private so please stay away from these.

Stock standard staple Queenstown compulsory for any runner really (add to this Ben Lomond/the Mount Crichton Loop & Lake Hayes). These are the most accessible shortish outings for the time-challenged visitor. If a local has not done Queenstown Hill then they are not a local!

The Wild Things course is simple - start at the carpark and go uphill, then follow the trail around anti-clockwise (this is easier to run). Head to the top following the main trail (you will notice many alternate paths you can do these next time around), take in the view from the top then head back down. This time turn right just before the Basket of Dreams. Continue anti clockwise then again turn right at the junction and continue down.

In Maori the hill is called Te Tapu-nui (mountain of intense sacredness) you will understand why. When at the top you can just relax and meditate while taking in views of everything the surrounds Queenstown.

This is short and sharp but very steep, if you are not fit you will feel this straight away, if fit you can run the whole thing but make it harder by doing some of the following:
* Start from Gorge Road or Andrews Park (seek a local to find out how)
* Do one of the numerous bike trails on the course
* Run it at night with a head torch
* Run it in the winter with snow and ice
* Do the Queenstown Vertical Beer Mile based on this track ;) now thats a typical Queenstown challenge with a twist (again find a local to explain this to you)
* If you are really into climbing then head to Gorge Road Centre follow the Matakauri Park path around until you get to the base of the cliff near where the bridge is right at the start you will find a clear path that the climbers take up. From here is numerous ways to get to Queenstown Hill and they are awesome but not for the faint hearted, many sections you cannot run and it is easy to loose the path, seek out a knowledgeable local to guide you if keen and experienced.

One of the few trails where beer and running collide. I mapped this course after 2 beers, seriously you can have a glass BEFORE the run then work it off on the hill. Also the home of the Queenstown Vertical Beer Mile (1 mile = drink one stubbie then do 200 metres up/200metres down repeat four times -if you can do this in under 10 minutes you will be close to the record!).

The basket of dreams is a very cool piece of artwork part way up. There is a nifty gate and numerous signs to read about the area. Keep a look out for all the work locals have been doing removing wilding Douglas Fir trees, it means we have a great view from the top for generations to come. Occasionally at night you will spot a morepork. The ponds (which are off the main trail) have native water fowl too. California Quail also flit away from you often as you run the trail.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Park your car at the Queenstown Hill carpark. It's small, sol if there is no room there's plenty of on-street parking.
This track is great because it is easily accessible on foot from central Queenstown.

1 km

3 minutes




The moderate rating is because the standard trail is easy to follow, but be aware there are plenty of paths that go off the trail, and believe me you can upgrade this to extreme if you decide to go off the trail into the forest where parts are impenetrable.
Upgrade the navigation rating to experienced if you decide to go off the main trail.

Generally good.

Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions)

None - unless you take a few beers, this is not a water course but a beer course (we normally have a few sitting on the rocks at the start/end carpark)

Runnable all year which increases the appeal, but be aware the hill can get super slippery in wet conditions, is fun in snow but if there is ice it is very gnarly, hence the winter gear list.

Steep drop offs especially in the non-standard trails that connect to Queenstown Hill, running downhill on snow or ice or at night slow down as it is very easy to fall unlike summer when it is sweet as. Drinking beer and running is a challenge if you haven't done it before watch out! - it becomes easier to fall over believe me ;)

Smiths Craft Beer House
53 Shotover Street, Queenstown.
OMG best craft beers around, this is why they built Queenstown. Home bar for the local Frontrunner group, pretty much the only place we go post run. Another compulsory we always order "Loaded Fries" to eat these are so good we have never eaten anything else on the menu ;)

Brazz Steakhouse Bar & Grill
1 Athol St, Queenstown 9300
Locals bar for well priced beer and dinner close to the trail. Also have standard beers if you don't like craft styles.

42 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300
World famous, ridiculously good taste and the only place you can get it, just watch out for the really long line of tourists wanting to eat. You can actually order an alcoholic drink here too while listening to some sweet sounds!

Trail Legend


Dan Dowdle

has completed Queenstown Hill (Te Tapu-nui) 49 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Really awesome track, highly recommend doing in winter after it’s snowed. Would recommend using micro spikes if you decide to do a winter option.

Jasmine MNijel

August 3, 2023

Really awesome track, highly recommend doing in winter after it’s snowed. Would recommend using micro spikes if you decide to do a winter option.

Jasmine MNijel

August 2, 2023

Loved the views at the top, and I ran along the top for quite a bit longer. I didn't enjoy the pine forest part as much, especially compared to so many of the other native forest tracks around this incrediable region. Although coming down it was fun!

Hazel Dunn

March 21, 2023

Wow! What an awesome track, accidentally did iy the harder way from Gorge Road. Very hard for a person from flat land! Quick run down just epic.

Kelda Robinson

October 30, 2021

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