The One Mile Creek Track is a well kept secret within Queenstown. While the waterfall cascades beside you, the trail leads through the lush vibrant Beech Forest and climbs up towards an undisturbed view over Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Gardens and Kelvin Heights. It’s the perfect introduction to Queenstown without the hassle of bee-lining through tourists.
- 1.5hr return
- 3-4km distance
- Medium fitness required
- Gradient: steep
- The track starts at the Fernhill roundabout, a 10minute walk from town
- Part of this track is in a shared mountain biking zone
- There are public toilets available by the roundabout
The One Mile Creek track is currently not maintained, so although the path is relatively easy to follow, there are orange markers along the way to ensure you stay on track. It’s also worth noting that I do not recommend doing this hike during or after recent wet weather. The path is very muddy, and steep in some sections. It brings the potential to injure yourself no matter your fitness level.
I discovered this walk through a Queenstown local – also an avid hiker and long distance runner. I had personally never heard of the walk, and after asking around at work it seemed that no one else had either. The trail is a very well kept secret in Queenstown – clearly! Once I reached the start of the walk I realised I’d passed it many times and never even noticed it.
The One Mile Creek walk starts at the Powerhouse, just off of the Fernhill roundabout. Getting here from town is easy enough, with a car it would take less than 5minutes, and walking about 10. Once you’ve passed the YHA, you are there. From the roundabout you follow the dirt trail up towards the Powerhouse where you’ll find the trail maps.
The track is easy enough to follow, but there are also multiple orange trail markers to help lead you in the right direction. The waterfall itself is a fairly short walk as you can even hear it cascading from behind the Powerhouse. The path to the waterfall itself is closed, but it is pretty easily accessible from the main trail. Just be responsible and mind the edges.
The hike then follows the old pipeline up to One Mile Dam, one of New Zealand’s first hydro-electric power schemes. It winds its way through the Beech Forest and up towards the bike trails that descend from the Gondola. The forest thins out around here and you’re gifted with incredible views over Lake Wakatipu.
From here you can either head up towards the Gondola – then return either the same way, or via the Gondola or Tiki Trail. If you don’t want to go all the way up to the Gondola you can also take the service road back down towards Lomond Crescent and into town.
I personally loved this walk, I loved that throughout the entirety of it all I could hear was the water and the native birds. There wasn’t a single person who passed us, just one lone mountain biker. It was quite intimidating at times. It was slippery and steep and there were many fallen trees. After a little rainfall most of the path was quite muddy and I wasn’t comfortable taking the trail back down from the top. I took the service road down, but would happily try it again in dryer conditions.