Hiking up Ben Lomond in Queenstown (New Zealand)

Mountains have never been on my radar. On my trips overseas, I have always been a beach girl, opting for a beach holiday over any mountain holidays. Being in New Zealand changed that. Hiking up mountains and trails made me realise the beauty of all the mountains that I totally love hiking, even when I’m huffing and puffing my way up.

Queenstown, Skyline Gondola

Getting up by the Skyline Gondola with a view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Challenging myself to climb Ben Lomond in Queenstown was one of the things I never thought to do. It started off very innocuously though. An easy trail that started off the top of the hill. All you had to do was follow the people and the tracks in front of you. I also chose to take the Skyline Gondola up through the forest so that I could have an easier starting point rather than try to hike from the bottom.

The terrain changes as you climb up, from the flatter land to hilly mounds. From tall trees to short bushes around you. From a closed area to more open areas that allow you to look back and fully enjoy the beautiful landscape behind you.

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

Heading up the trail with the peak in the far distance

My endurance started to get really tested after walking up for more than 2 hours. The exhaustion started to set in when you keep facing more uphill slopes than downhill or flat ones.

I stopped so many times to catch my breath that I felt sorry for my hiking companion who obviously had more stamina than me in climbing up mountains. I had to alternate with taking off my jacket and putting it back on when the winds grew stronger as I got higher.

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

You get to enjoy magnificent views all around you as you keep climbing up

Slowly, I started to see the peak getting closer and closer. After more than 3 hours of walking and constant stopping, I finally reached Ben Lomond Saddle, at the base of the peak.

Unfortunately, my companion cautioned me against continuing my way up to the peak. The photos here can be quite deceiving as the trail gets rougher and steeper as it approaches the peak. It was a sharp incline all the way up to the peak from the saddle. I was so close yet so far.

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

Right at the base of the peak, don’t let the photo deceive you into thinking it is an easy climb up from here…

It would have taken me another hour or two to climb up to the peak. I was tired, my leg muscles were on fire, I was sweaty yet cold from the strong winds. I was not appropriately dressed for a 1326m climb to the saddle, even more so for a 1748m high climb to the Ben Lomond peak. I gave in.

In a way, I was relieved that I was not continuing up as my muscles were really tired and sore. My mind couldn’t help feeling regrets about the aborted climb though. Should I have just pushed on? I still think about it again all the time.

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

View of the snow-capped mountains (in summer!) in the distance from the other side of the Ben Lomond Saddle

For now, I settled for just getting up to the Ben Lomond Saddle which was still a good achievement, especially for someone who have not much experience hiking that far up.  All in all, I would say it’s a trail that is still possible to be done by novices but a little physical stamina would still be much helpful to get to the top as I had to stop quite a lot of times just to get to the saddle. I wasn’t that much fit when I gave this a try but it was still a good experience that left me thirsty for more. I will be back, for sure. 🙂

Tips:

Bring lots and lots of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the climb.

Start the climb early if possible to avoid crowds on the trail and to allow a lot of time to rest if you need to.

Wear appropriate shoes and clothes and bring a wind-proof jacket along. The winds are really cold up there.

Don’t forget to look behind you as you climb for beautiful views as well

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

View of Lake Wakatipu from Ben Lomond Saddle

Have you ever hiked up a mountain and given up before reaching the peak? Please do share! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Hiking up Ben Lomond in Queenstown (New Zealand)

  1. Your posts remind me of my posts on hiking! lol…My early hiking posts always begin with how I used to prefer the sea to the mountains. Moving to Seoul kind of changed that. I know the feeling of being so close and yet so far. I aborted my Great Wall of China Hike because of my knee and it was something I regretted. Post that I’ve completed most of my hikes. haha…I’m sure you’ll make up for this in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I know right? There’s just something about hiking that got me when I started doing it regularly…even though I was usually huffing and puffing my way up but I grew to like it a lot. In fact, I was thinking of visiting Seoul again just to do some hikes cos it’s something I didn’t do on my previous trips there…oh n I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for this mountain… eventually….hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like an amazing hike Sha and good for you to do so much of it. I think the thing with outdoor adventuring is that as much as we want to summit/finish the reality of health and safety must always come first. If one hasn’t trained for an epic hike then once seriously fatigued it is so much easier to trip or slip and get injured. I think you may be inspired to return one day ready to tackle the summit after having trained up for it. Congratulate yourself on learning to love hiking the hills!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was worth every bit of muscle aches that lingered for the next few days…it was a tough hike but I would so be ready to do it again if I had to…it was that worth it…hahaha 😄

      Like

  3. Pingback: Mistakes I Made Hiking in New Zealand as a Newbie Hiker | Lifetomyfullest

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