Dominating Arrowtown’s eastern skyline is Crown Peak (1735m). The summit rocks can be seen for miles and there are many routes to reach them, including this trip from the town itself. By Lee Johnson
From Wilcox Green car park, join the Millenium Walkway and cross the bridge to Tobins Track. This wide 4WD track is also used by mountain bikers and ascends gradually, offering fine views over Arrowtown.
After 1.2km, an orange marker and a fence to the left indicate the junction with the New Chum Gully Track. This is steeper and more rugged with overgrown vegetation and a narrow foot trail. Follow it for around 30 minutes before turning right at an obvious junction, just past Pt668, to take the link track to Peters Way. The ‘link’ takes about 5min before another right officially starts the Peters Way Track.
The first glimpse of Crown Peak can be seen on the way to Brackens Saddle. After about an hour of ascending 300m to the saddle, there’s an information board with a map of all the Mahu Whenua walking tracks.
Continue over the saddle, now on the Crown Peak Track, and descend into Brackens Gully. There is a small stream here that can be hopped over.
The exposed slog to the top now begins. It’s a wide farm track, easily navigated, but be aware of changes in the weather. Snow is common near the summit and can be present in summer.
As the final ridge is reached, turning right leads to a trig at Pt1731 and also follows a poled route descending to the Crown Range at Coal Creek. Turning left takes you towards Crown Peak. To reach the true summit, leave the track just before the rocks and begin a straightforward scramble. The route is well worn and leads to a small cairn that signals the summit.
The rewards of the long day are incredible views of the Wakatipu Basin and The Remarkables to the south; sweeping vistas down the Cardrona Valley to Wānaka to the north; the Pisa Range to the east, and the surrounding Macetown ridgeline to the west.