A trail nestled amongst the foliage of grand mountain beech and mature manuka trees, the Mt Crichton Loop Track is definitely a tramp worth exploring. Swamped with iconic historical landmarks from the gold mining industry, such as a ‘tail race’ tunnel, an 85 year old backcountry hut built from stone and a ‘sluiced’ canyon, it’s easy enough to finish the loop having learnt much more than you originally knew on the intriguing Otago past-time of gold. As an area harvested for this between the 1860’s and 1930’s, it gives you a raw perspective of a mining environment. Clear blue rivers flow expressively through winding gorges, with occasional waterfalls and turbulent rapids.
If you’re adventurous enough to go off track (it’s worth it), you can wonder up and over moss-stained boulders to reach a tiered waterfall, spilling into pockets of water pools. Starting off under a ceiling of beech leaves, towards the last half of the track you reached exposed outcrops which gift you with incredible views over tranquil lake dispute (which you can chose to walk down to additionally and back to Lake Wakatipu shrouded by familiar grand mountains.
Not strenuous, but with a few gentle climbs, this track is perfect under the heat of summer sun, the frost of winter snow or the mist of spring rain.
Well worth the short trip out from Queenstown, whether you’re here for the long term, or just a couple of days.