Isthmus peak vs Roys Peak
If you’re short in time and need to make a decision between hiking Isthmus peak or Roys Peak, then you might ask yourself which one is better. Although I don’t like to call places ‘better than the other’ because every spot has its own beauty, there are always pro’s and con’s about one or the other.
Let’s first compare the facts:
Isthmus Peak: 16 km out and back with 1250 meter incline.
Roys Peak: 16 km out and back with 1240 meter incline.
So both are the same length and same amount of incline. This means in terms of difficulty you can expect the same at both hikes. Also the gravel path is the same, so the only difference in going to be the view and amount of people.
Roys Peak is a famous hike in New Zealand so you can definitely expect more crowds than at Isthmus peak. However, Isthmus peak has gained popularity and is definitely not a ‘hidden gem’ anymore.
Regarding the views, from the summit of Isthmus peak you’ll have stunning, unobstructed panoramic views over Lake Wanaka with Mount Aspiring National Park and its snow capped mountains as backdrop.
Lake Hawea is at the other side which you have a great view at during the hike itself, but not from the summit of Isthmus peak.
Roys Peak has an iconic ridge where everyone is taking pictures. So in terms of creativity this isn’t the most challenging place for photographers. Everyone is taking the same kind of pictures, and especially in high season and later during the morning you can expect queues for taking pictures on the ridge.
All in all, there isn’t really an obvious winner. Both are the same kind of hikes, with slightly different views. But we personally enjoyed Isthmus a bit more because it’s lesser known than Roys Peak.
Isthmus Peak after sunrise