New Zealand’s most Instagrammed walk. We have all seen the news articles with the queue of people waiting patiently to get the shot. But is it worth it?
I’m not going to lie we probably had the wrong reasons for doing the walk – we wanted to do it out of curiosity - to see whether or not it lived up to all the hype. We weren’t excited for the hoards of people we were expecting to see. We weren’t pumped to wait in the line to get the “shot”. But if you can’t be bothered reading this whole blog (which is totally fair enough as I am a rambler) then my quick answer would be an astounding yes.
James and I set off for Roys Peak in the afternoon (roughly 4pm) – aiming to be up top for sunset. We had noticed loads of people were doing the walk for sunrise (Roys Peak has become a sunrise hot spot as the sun rises right in front of you) so we decided to do sunset as we hoped it would be quieter.
It took us about two hours to get up to the ‘view point’ and we had a few quick stops along the way. As we did the walk in the afternoon, we passed at least 200 people coming down (not even joking), and noticed there were only roughly six or so groups that, like us, were heading up for sunset. Definitely the busiest walk we have done to date!
The track itself is not hard at all – it’s well defined and a nice, gradual incline so you don’t reach the 'dripping in sweat status' within seconds. From the ‘viewpoint’ it’s roughly another half hour to reach the summit. When we reached the ‘view point’ we saw a few people waiting in line to get ‘the shot’ (about 5-10) so we decided to continue on up. After a couple of minutes we found a secluded spot and sat down and had our snacks. We snapped a few photos up here and tried to convince ourselves that our viewpoint was better than popular one below us. But we both knew we were lying.
After relaxing at our wee spot for a bit, we noticed there weren’t any clouds coming in, so we decided to call it and start heading back down (we had a loooong drive ahead of us). But as we walked back down, we noticed by some incredible twist of fate that the path to the viewpoint was empty. EMPTY. There wasn’t a soul there. And the lighting was just perfect. The setting sun was turning the tussocks an incredible shade of gold, the water was this beautiful deep blue and the path was in sunlight.
Without thinking, stopping, talking we both just ran out there and soaked it in. It really was, for want of a better expression, a moment of magic for us. And you know what? In that moment nothing else mattered. Not the number of instagram pics, not the crowds and not the line. Nothing. Just the view.
So yes, we would recommend hiking Roy’s Peak if you’re in Wanaka! And if you’re wanting to semi-beat the crowds, why not try sunset rather than sunrise?