Well, that’s a really good question. But we have done it with them. Sebastien wasn’t even two years old yet and Natalia was three and a bit. It certainly was tough and I am not sure if we would make it without Jan’s cousin Lukas coming with us but that was mainly because we were not prepared very well for it. It certainly was worth it and I actually think that Roys Peak track is one you should not miss when visiting Lakes District.
About Roys Peak Track
Mount Roy can be found between Wanaka and Glendhu Bay. It’s 1578 meters high. The track starts at approximately 300 m a.s.l. which means that the climb is approximately 1300 meters. The length is approximately 16 km and recommended time is 5 – 7 hrs.
You can park your car at the bottom on the Roys Peak Track car park on the Mount Aspiring Road. The hike zigzags all the way to the top. That’s why I probably thought it won’t be that difficult. Some parts of the hike are quite steep though and there is not many flat parts on the way. Also, there is sun shining on the side of the hill all day long and there are no trees to hide under in a shade.
When you reach the top you get rewarded with an absolutely beautiful view of Wanaka and Wanaka lake and Mount Aspiring with other peaks around. The view is absolutely priceless! And you suddenly forget about all the pain – not knowing that the walk down will be even harder.
Proper planning for the win!
Good planning is half the battle they say. And that is absolutely true! I don’t think that you need to be a super fit person to make this hike, but you need to make the prep for it properly.
What do I mean by that?
- Take your time! They say the recommended time for this hike is 5 – 7 hours. If you know you are not super fit, make sure you start right in the morning to have enough time to finish it. So you can make as many stops as you can. Don’t plan anything in the afternoon or in the evening because you don’t know what time you will finish it. We have made a mistake as we were coming on that day from Queenstown. We didn’t start our hike right in the morning and that way we were pushed a little by time.
- It is going to be hot! As mentioned above it is a sunny side of the hill and there is sun shining all day long (of course if it’s not a cloudy or rainy day). Starting early morning might be a good idea for this reason as well so you make some part of the sun hits its peak and you can have a break around lunchtime. Take lots of water with you and don’t forget sunhats and sunscreen!
- Food and drinks – Take lots of snacks with you. We love to put some nuts and dried fruit mixture to our pockets. For us and the children too. That way we can eat on the way without stopping. Kids are asking for food all the time! This helps them to be entertained on the way. At least for the time till they eat it all which usually doesn’t take very much time. Then we take snacks as well. Think of snacks which are light but high for energy. Fruit is always a great option. We like to take toasts and some fruit/nut bars. Chocolates and other sweets to give them that energy kick and also you can always tell them they get a treat when they come to the top. 🙂 And of course lots of water. Backpacks with camel bags are amazing! We have one for Natalia as well and wanna get one for Sebastien for next summer too. They are definitely old enough to carry their one backpacks now. Not too heavy, but with some treats and water for sure!
- Baby/child carrier is a must if your kids are still in that age to fit in! What is the age limit is hard to say. When we have done this track we had one child carrier which we absolutely loved and used all the time! It was Deuter kid comfort (Click for our review) and that can be used since the kids are able to sit on their own. Before that we used Manduca carrier which can be used as a front or back carrier which is a bonus! So for this track we only had one carrier for Sebastien as we thought Natalia will make it. Well, we were wrong! 😀 So they were swapping in the carrier, when both were tired one of them had to be carried on the shoulders which made the trip harder for use and I was really glad that Lukas was coming with us as I wouldn’t be able to carry one of them on my shoulders to the top.
How to handle kids while walking up
First of all we need to try to think like them. They are not enjoying the scenery as much as we do. Their legs are much smaller than ours so they need to make so many more steps to go up. And for what? To make mummy and daddy happy.
So try to make it fun for them as well. Think of some activities you can do with them while walking. Think of some games you can play with them on the way. For example “who is going to be the first one by that rock over there!” or “Can you find something yellow?”. Kids get easily distracted. So use it to your advantage.
Never ever ask your kids if they are tired? Do you know what that question means to them? That you think they should be tired. They can be tired. So why shouldn’t they use it to their advantage? If they say yes then there is a chance that you will carry them. And that’s more fun! 😉 So don’t ask them that question. You can see if they can handle more or if they need a little break. If they need a break than make one. Or carry them for a bit. But don’t ask them that question! Don’t ask them if their feet are sore or anything like that either.
Promise them something for walking it all the way to the top. We always talk about the view which will be a prize for all of us when we make it all the way up. But we often make a deal with them too. If they are not overly excited about that hike then we promise them they can choose what they wanna do the next day. Or the next weekend. One day they will do what we wanna do and we make it a nice family day. And next time we will do the same for them. That’s fair. Teaching them about compromises.
If they start throwing tantrums, they cry all the way, they don’t wanna be carried nor they wanna walk. Just turn around and go back to the car. Don’t make it to the top just because you want it. It needs to be a team work. And supposed to be a nice and fun day for all of you! If you will be forcing them to do it anyway it might happen they will never want to walk up with you anywhere anymore. And that’s not what you want. It might just not be the right day for them. That can happen to you as well that you don’t feel like doing anything.
Where to stay in Wanaka
There is lot of different options where you can stay in Wanaka. The closest option to the Roys Peak Track entrance is Glendhu Bay Motor Camp. It’s the only motor camp on the shore of Lake Wanaka. Only ten minutes drive from the town. And it’s close to lot of other tracks and walks as well. You can camp there in tents, with a motorhome, rent a cabin or stay in the lodge. They have a playground there and BBQ, it’s right on the shore of the lake so you can have a relaxed day after the hike.
There is lot of AirBnb options in Wanaka as well. We really like to use AirBnB when we travel as you meet locals, they can recommend some other attractions as well.
Hotels and Lodges are obviously also available in town. You can have a look on Booking.com and choose one of your liking.
The main thing is that you’re not too far from the entrance for the hike so you can start right in the morning to have enough time for it.
So is the hike suitable for children or not?
My conclusion and final answer would be yes. But you need to make sure you are ready for it. You need to be prepared to spend there much more time than what’s written as recommended, you need to be ready to distract them throughout the walk, you need to be ready to carry them for some parts.
But it is doable with children for sure and if done the right way then they will enjoy it with you too!
Hope this article was helpful for you! If you have any questions just use the comment box below and I’ll come back to you with an answer as soon as I can! 🙂
Have fun on your walk!