Lake Alta Track - picturesque frozen lake - New Zealand
It’s Christmas and I suddenly miss the snowfall and the chill winter so much, that’s why this time I would share one of my favorite places for trekking in Queenstown — Lake Alta track.
When you look at the picture, you may think it is in the middle of the winter, but actually, it was springtime.
Even though I did go snowboarding in the Remarkable ski field the whole winter, I never noticed that there is a track on the side of the building that leads to Lake Alta.
Well, not until my friend had a day off and we wondered we should do anything for fun, somewhere that is near the town, it must be short, yet breathtaking and it immediately came to mind — Lake Alta.
It was a gloomy day, there was rain in the forecast, which explained the reason we were the only one on the track.
Despite the spur of the moment, we still dropped by the DOC office to get more information, they did warn us about the rain, but it was still doable, we also grabbed a map just in case.
Lake Alta is a glacial lake in the Remarkables, standing at 1,800 m above sea level. As far as I know, there are two ways to access it. If you have more time and enjoy the change of scenery, I would recommend starting at Wye Creek track, and then following the track to lake Alta which takes 5 to 6 hours one way. However, if you are in short of time and still want to have a great adventure, then take the shortcut like us, starting the track at the Remarkable ski field at the elevation of 1,600 m.
From Queenstown, follow Franston road and then turn right at the roundabout, the road to the Remarkables is quite a scenic ride, with a lot of lookouts that have amazing views over the basin.
We made some stops along the way to admire the stunning vista of the town below, with lake Hayes on the right and Lake Wakatipu on the left. Though it was a long ride, it was all worth it.
Since it was the end of October, the skiing season was over. There were only a few cars in the parking lot.
We started to walk uphill and get to the ski field building. It looked like there were some people in the office.
Following the track behind the building, the track began from here.
As we were walking along the chairlift, the clouds were lifting up, and we could see the sun for a while, everything was shining under the sun, which was quite a treat to the eyes.
Just when it started to get a bit warmer, it got dark again and there were a lot of black clouds coming in, we told each other to brace ourselves for the rain.
At first, we thought it was quite flat, but we realized we were just being tricked by the track that was heavily covered in snow. It was a constant uphill climb, the ice slowed us down a little, but everyone was excited walking on it.
The thought of the coming rain helped us speed up a bit as we did not want to get caught up in the rain.
We did not know that waiting for us was the snowfall. Blowing snow made for poorer visibility as we passed the rocky part.
When we reached the lake, it started to snow heavier but the view was amazing, everything was totally frozen.
We couldn’t see any signs when we were near the lake, I just recognized the mountain behind the lake as it looks similar to the poster.
Approaching the lake was another problem though, the track was blanketed in snow, it must be nearly 1-meter deep.
I felt like I was Elsa in “Frozen” and ready to sing “Let it go”. LOL.
Climbing on the biggest stones, we took a deep breath and tried our best to take in the fresh mountain air, we felt like we were on top of the world, well technically we were almost on top with the Double cone at 2,319 m.
Later, I found out that lake Alta was also known as “Dimrill Dale” in “Lord of the Rings”, so if you are a fan, don’t miss this place if you visit Queenstown.
I would recommend Lake Alta track to anyone visiting Queenstown, especially if you miss the winter and like to see the snow. It took us almost 2 hours for the turnaround and the track was not hard at all.
Short and sweet! That’s what I got for this track.