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Bobs Cove Track, an easy short trail with stunning views

standing at the edge of lake wakatipu in new zealand

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Probably my all-time favourite short hike in New Zealand is the Bobs Cove track outside Queenstown. It’s the perfect short day hike to fill a gap in your itinerary and you’ll be rewarded with a few treats along the way (no you won’t get any secret snacks but you’ll be in awe of the views!)

Being surrounded by mountains on all sides means that no matter what direction you’re facing, you’ll have breathtaking views and you’ll soon understand what all the fuss is about in this part of the world.

On this trail, you’ll see crystal-clear water, snow-capped mountains, luscious forest and even beaches! What more could you ask for in one place?!

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Bob's cove blue water
Blue water in Bob’s Cove

Want to check out some more New Zealand walking tracks?

Location of Bobs Cove track

On New Zealand’s south island, the Bobs Cove track is just 15 minutes drive away from the centre of Queenstown. The most common way for visitors to reach the trailhead is by car. (If you have the stamina you could try walking but it will take you roughly 2.5 hours..)

Familiar with the Ben Lomond hike? you will need to travel past the trailhead to get to the car park at the Cove.

If you plan on driving to the Bobs Cove nature reserve, there is a car park for visitor use. This can be accessed off of Glenorchy-Queenstown Road and is located here. It is completely free to park here and there is no time limit, however, please be aware that this is the only place to park for this trail.

Tip: The car park is not very big so during the summer months it is advised to get there earlier in the day to avoid disappointment.

blue water at bobs cove
Clear blue water at Bob’s Cove
jetty at bobs cove

Hike Stats

Ok, so I’ll be honest with you, it’s not really a “hike” but more of an easy nature walk with great views. It is an easy-to-complete hike for all ages and fitness levels.

What’s great about this walk is that it is safe enough to be used year-round as it isn’t very steep. This means you can continue to use the track even if it has been snowing (just make sure to use caution if it is slippery).

Length of hike:

10.6km

Elevation gain:

254 m

Time to complete:

1 hr 30 minutes return

The entire track is a nice, flat terrain apart from the section of the track that takes you up to the hill and viewpoint.

Bobs Cove is an out-and-back trail that starts at the car park and leads you to the twelve-mile delta track in Otago. If you opt to complete the Twelve-mile delta walk after Bob’s Cove, you can expect it to take another 2-4 hours by foot.

This is also rated as easy so is suitable for all fitness abilities although the length of the trail can be tiring. You can follow that trail here.

Remember to follow your basic tips for backpacking to stay safe outdoors. There are many dangers to avoid while hiking.

Don’t forget to get travel insurance to cover you if something bad happens. One company I have personal experience with is Safety Wing. Not everyone needs the same coverage, so make sure you get a personalised quote that suits you and your trip plans.

rock beach bobs cove
Stone & sand beach at the cove

What to expect on the Bobs Cove trail

Starting at the car park, you will find a small trail leading into the tree line. If you follow this path for a few minutes you will be next to the water. This path will remain in the trees for about 10-15 minutes before it opens up into a small clearing and the first real beach.

Instead of just sand this beach has sand and small stones. But luckily they’re not too uncomfortable on bare feet.

As well as an easy way into the water you’ll also find a public bbq, a small stone structure and plenty of grassy space to relax. This is a good spot to spend some time before heading up the hill and is a great area to enjoy a picnic!

As this is one of the most popular day hikes near Queenstown you can expect to see other people along the trail, but not to worry, it doesn’t get too overcrowded.

Once you start the narrow trail again after leaving the beach you will see a small walkway to your right that leads to a wooden jetty. This is a great place to get into the water at Bobs Cove!

Be aware: The water level can fluctuate so I wouldn’t recommend diving. But you can certainly still enjoy a refreshing swim from here.

After continuing along the trail a little longer you will gradually start walking in a loop towards the top of the hill. The incline is gradual but not too strenuous (yes even for the kids!)

View over the cove and lake wakatipu
To the left is Bob’s Cove & to the right is Lake Wakatipu
lookout point at the cove

The views

So if like me you only hike for the reward of a great view, this is it. Once you have reached the top of the hill there is a small picnic bench to sit on at the top while you enjoy the landscape.

This is one of the best views in all of New Zealand for such an easy walk. In my experience, many great views like this require much more effort and energy – that’s why this is a top 5 walk for me!

From here you will be able to see the stunning view over Bob’s Cove with the clear blue water and beach you started at to your left. To your right, you’ll find the dark and deep water of Lake Wakatipu with a table bay and the many mountain peaks lining the water.

This is probably one of my favourite views in all of New Zealand and what’s great is how little effort was needed to see it.

Lake Wakatipu view
The view across Lake Wakatipu

Lord of the Rings connection

Now, for you Lord of the Rings fans, this hike has a little something for you too. As you might be aware, All of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed solely in New Zealand and with good reason. The landscape is stunning and fits Middle Earth perfectly.

Part of this walking track was chosen to be used in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

You might recognise this viewpoint as the scene where the Ithilien Rangers ambushed the armies of Mordor. This is a great location to visit on a self-drive LOTR tour like this one. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, you can simply admire the mountain view!

Want to check out more Lord of the Rings destinations in New Zealand?

What about LOTR content further afield? Guatemala is home to a smaller Hobbiton park where you can actually spend the night inside a Hobbit house! Hobbitenango near Antigua.

Bobs cove hike and me standing on the jetty
Me standing on the Bobs Cove jetty

Queenstown

Since Bobs Cove is a walking track between a highway and Lake Wakatipu, there isn’t much else to do (other than hike some more) in the area unless you go back to Queenstown. Here are some popular things you can do in the small backpacker town:

  • Hiking including the Queenstown hill hike, Ben Lomond and the Twelve Mile Delta track
  • Travel up on the gondola
  • Ride the Queenstown luge
  • Eat at the two famous burger places: Ferg Burger & Devil Burger
  • Book your bungee jump and Swing Adventures


Do you need accommodation?

Since you can’t stay on the Bobs Cove track itself, if you need accommodation in the area your best bet is staying in nearby Queenstown. As you know by now, I focus on long-term backpacker trips so my go-to accommodation is always a hostel.

Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – A great backpackers hostel in the heart of Queenstown. They have knowledgeable staff who can offer recommendations for the best activities in the local area. Each bed has a plug socket and reading light so you don’t have to battle for a turn at charging your phone.

Nomad’s Queenstown – A popular hostel for travellers to Queenstown. Located in the centre of town on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. With fun facilities like a sauna and TV room, you can enjoy your quiet downtime here too!

Make sure before you start the Bob’s Cove hike that you are prepared with a day bag. Expect to take a few litres of water – enough to last throughout the entire hike. If you are hiking during the summer or hotter seasons, aim to take more water than usual!


Final Notes

Since this is a short hike it doesn’t take too much time out of your day which is what makes it a fantastic walk to do when visiting the area. Don’t miss it, and make sure you witness these mountain views for yourself!

What did you think of the Bob’s Cove trail?

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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