Just outside Queenstown, hidden way up high in the Remarkables Ski Area, is a crystal clear alpine lake.
If you’re looking for a quick hike in the area to escape the madness that is Queenstown, the trek to Lake Alta is worth considering. I’d only recommend this in summer – the area is covered in snow for ski season (duh).
Hiking or not, the winding drive up to the Remarkables is worth every ear pop. Talk about views! It’s about a 40 minute drive from Queenstown to the top, but with maximum elevation gain. Park at the Remarkables ski lodge. You’ll need some time to ogle at the top.
Now onto the hike! From the lodge, begin your walk by following the line of the chair lift (Alta Lift) above you. You’re quite literally walking a ski slope, so be warned – it’s steep! If your calves aren’t on fire, you’re not doing it right.
Honestly, the beginning of the hike wasn’t too exciting. But after the initial climb, it gets a bit more interesting. It’s just all a little barren looking until you get to the main event. At the end of the climb, turn right at the fork. Keep following the trail straight to that glacial beauty. All up, the track takes about 1.5 hours to reach Lake Alta.
When we first arrived, there was a guy stand-up paddleboarding on the lake. Talk about life goals. He had his whole family with him taking turns on the board, otherwise I would have asked him for a quick spin. After they left, I actually felt like I would regret that decision for the rest of my life.
The next best thing to paddle boarding on a glacial lake? Swimming in it.
Luckily I had my togs (ONSEN Hot Pools were next on our list), so in I went. I stayed in long enough for a pretty epic photo — coincidentally the exact length of time for my body to go numb, so Brett and our friends had to help me out of my ice bath.
It was hot outside, so I dried off in no time. No regrets!