A photo posted on social media has revealed the reality of an iconic South Island spot that's been described as New Zealand's most Instagrammed hike.
Roy's Peak, a mountain between Wanaka and Glendhu Bay, is a popular spot for tourists posing for Instagram photos – but a image posted on Reddit captioned the "social media queue" shows a long line of hikers, all waiting to take the same picture.
To reach the famous Roy's Peak lookout, hikers must undertake a difficult, full-day walk, before being rewarded with stunning views over Lake Wanaka and up to the peak of Mount Aspiring.
On Reddit, user Tombo_64 described their experiences at the famous South Island track.
"We were super lucky there, stumbled across it with a few people taking photos. Waited a moment or two and then took ours. Walked past later and what must have been peak time and I genuinely think the queue was at least 1 hour long."
Another commenter, kgal1298, described a tour guide in Wanaka who was tired of the social media hype surrounding the town.
"My guide kept giving us the wrong directions to things in that city because he hated the social media hype around them. Then at one point during the trip he wouldn't give us a wifi password because he was over us playing on our phones during our down time. I was 30 at the time and he legit made me feel like I was back in elementary school."
RabbitOHare replied to the post and described it as "messed up".
"Soooo what if you just want to enjoy the view? I would be pretty upset if I took time off work and paid to travel somewhere special, only to be rushed away from a once in a lifetime moment.
"That's the kind of place I'd like to soak in, and I'm happy to share it with as many other as will fit around me. However, those people are monopolizing this scenic view. Seems messed up."
A similar phenomenon has been observed at Norway's famous Trolltunga (Troll Tongue) rock, where hundreds of tourists line up for hours to get that Instagrammable shot.
Roy's Peak was described by travel blog Spin the Windrose as "the most Instagrammed hike in New Zealand" – and author Abbi questioned whether the popular track was overrated.
"You do seem to end up in a queue at a few points along the track. At the summit and the lookout spot, people wait and queue up to take that photo," she wrote, adding that most people didn't even bother continuing to the top after visiting the lookout.
However, she concluded that the hype was well-deserved – particularly if you left early in the morning. The second time she hiked the track, Abbi chose to leave at 3am, reaching the popular lookout spot about half an hour before the sun came up – and found it deserted.
"When you see Lake Wanaka as the sun rises over the hills behind you, nothing else matters. It has got to be one of the most beautiful views in the world, and one of the most memorable I will see in my lifetime," she wrote.
"Who cares if there's loads of other people doing the hike? Does it matter if the ascent itself is boring? So what if there's sheep poo all over the track? And who cares if there are a billion other photos of that exact same view on Instagram?"