“A well formed walking & biking track with follows the shoreline of Lake Wanaka offering spectacular lake and mountain views.”
The Millennium Track from Wanaka township to iconic Glendhu Bay is an absolute stunner. Also known as the Glendhu Bay Track, the well-formed pathway weaves its way up and down along the lake edge past a string of sheltered pebbled coves, all competing for the-most-beautiful-beach prize.
The track can be walked in either direction but you will need to find an obliging friend or taxi to provide a drop-off or pick-up service. Option one is to be dropped off 15 minutes along the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road at Glendhu Bay and ask to be collected at Waterfall Creek carpark on Ruby Island Road where there is road access down to the lake edge. That’s a 12.5km walk and takes a good three hours, depending on the number of beaches you stop at to take photos. Alternatively you can walk the flat and easy 2.5km from Waterfall Creek back to Wanaka township (see Waterfall Creek Track).
Option two is to start from Wanaka township and arrange a pick-up at Glendhu Bay. Either way, you are rewarded with glorious, heart-soaring views of the lake and mountains. The track is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Between Waterfall Creek and Glendhu Bay, there are several steady climbs around headlands and bluffs where the track has been blasted into the bedrock providing a fascinating geological cross section into the structure of the land and the thin layer of soil on top of rock. The views from these vantage points high above the lake are astonishing, especially snow-clad stellar Mt Aspiring/Tititea standing proud and regal at the far end of the lake. Wanaka is a lake of many moods – on a calm day, the surrounding mountains are perfectly reflected in the satin water but a storm can turn the lake into a wild, choppy sea of whitecaps within minutes. Dramatic to watch from the shore but notoriously treacherous for boaties.
In summer, the track is bordered by a riot of pastel-coloured lupins; the winter hoar frost turns the tussock into silver fronds that sparkle in the sunshine. All seasons have beautiful, unique faces. At weekends, you will often come across community-minded Wanaka residents planting and tending native trees along the verges of the track. There are water tanks and buckets along the way so walkers can help keep plants alive during the dry season.
Take a picnic and swimwear with you in the summer and stop for a bracing dip at exquisite Damper Bay. The water temperature of the lake is 8-10 degrees Celsius year-round so be prepared for a refreshing experience.
The track is wide and well-maintained, easily handled with walking shoes, but please do watch out for speeding mountain bikers who also love this track. And as always in New Zealand, take sun protection in the summer and warm clothing in the winter.
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Glendhu Bay Track
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Credit Cards Accepted