Isthmus Peak is located in the middle of Wanaka and Hawea, which gives it stunning 360-degree views of the Lakes.

Return Distance to Summit: 15.9km (9.9 miles)
Elevation Gain: 3,337 Feet (1,133m from the car park, the summit sits at 1,386m)
Estimated Time: 4-6 hours return
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult

Isthmus is the steeper of the two climbs (Mt Roy vs Isthmus). There are very few crowds on this peak and is often seen as the more desirable of the two because of this. The climb up Isthmus is varied with a good mix of farmland, bush then the track is into the high alpine regions with beautiful views of Lake Hawea and the Alps facing North before you reach the ridge line to begin the traverse across to the Summit where there are views of both Lake and the Alps that deserve a long pause to absorb.

This climb is taxing on the fitness, it isn’t technical with very little scrambling (just at the base), and most of the walking is on wide and well kept tracks. There is a good chance of snow on the ground on the shoulder seasons as well. Always carry a day bag with suitable extra layers, especially wind protection and also sunscreen.

The views on this walk, like all in the Wanaka area, are rewarding. Our guides ensure that you have adequate time to rest, rehydrate and take photos.

The Isthmus track is an out and back track, not a loop. There are very few places when you aren’t climbing (or descending coming home) so a reasonable level of fitness is required..

Starting off at basically lake level where we park you are soon into your work, and the views start piling up. You will be walking through active farmland so respect and care is required at all times.

What to bring

  • Comfortable exercise clothing
  • Close-toed shoes, preferably hiking shoes or boots
  • Suitable socks
  • Day pack with Thermals, windbreaker, and we recommend a woolen hat is carried
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks

What we supply

  • A professional, knowledgeable, medically trained, friendly wilderness guide.
  • A commitment to make the tour as exciting, challenging, informative, and full as you’d like, and as is possible in a day
  • Use of trekking poles
  • Comfortable transport to and from the hike