The Queenstown Trail is made up of a series of custom-built, off-road cycling routes linking Queenstown with pretty Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley wine country. Graded easy to intermediate, the 130km network is fantastic way to explore the region and reach major sights while soaking up gorgeous scenery along the way.
The trail is made up of seven themed rides, the easiest of which is the flat Lake Wakatipu Ride, starting in central Queenstown. Ideal for beginners and families, with cafes en route, it traces the lake edge around to Kelvin Heights with the jagged Remarkables as a stunning backdrop.
More adventurous riders will enjoy the Two Rivers Ride following a gently undulating path beside the picturesque Kawarau and Shotover rivers. Highlights include majestic panoramas and the beautifully restored Shotover Bridge. The Gibbston River Ride, meanwhile, winds through simply divine wine country with an unmissable stop-off at iconic Kawarau Bridge – home to the world’s original bungy jump site.
There are countless other ride options, made easy with great maps, clear trail signage and multiple access points, as well as conveniently located bike hire, guided rides and shuttle transport. The Queenstown Trail has certainly earned its status as a ‘Great Ride’, one of 22 making up the New Zealand Cycle Trail/Nga Haerenga.
With an incredibly diverse network of trails spread throughout show-stopping landscapes, it’s no wonder Queenstown vies for the crown of New Zealand’s ultimate mountain biking destination. And everyone from beginners to pros can get in on the action.
The Queenstown MTB Park, at the top of Bob's Peak is accessed via the Skyline gondola an includes awesome array of downhill trails through mixed forest. Mostly intermediate to expert, they offer all sorts of speedy, sweeping, jumping fun stuff as well as grand vistas across Lake Wakatipu.
For the first time ever, Coronet Peak has opened for summer operations including some epic mountain biking that can be accessed via a re imagined Coronet Express ski lift which now includes Gondola cabins. Suitable for intermediate-expert riders, this is set to be an exciting summer ride. A good range of passes are available with full Day, Sunset or Season passes on offer and discounts for NZSki 3 Peak Winter Season Pass holders.
But there’s plenty more where that came from, including cross-country adventures such as Moke Lake Circuit, and the Macetown Track near Arrowtown that illuminates glittering gold rush history as it traces its way into remote hills.
For the ultimate MTB buzz, riders can get up high and off the beaten track on a heli-biking trip, combining a once-in-a-lifetime scenic flight with epic trails swooping through backcountry normally off limits to the public.
Dirt may be the new snow, but it’s not all about mountain biking in Queenstown with plenty of rewarding rides for roadies, too. Country roads around the Wakatipu Basin offer view-filled loops from an hour to all day, with plenty of coffee and food stops for essential refueling.
The classic ‘king of the mountain’ ride is the zigzag up the Crown Range, one of the highest sealed roads in New Zealand. Around halfway down the fast-and-furious descent to Wanaka, the legendary Cardrona Hotel offers delicious refreshments and history in spades.
Slightly less arduous but just as dramatic is the ride from Queenstown to Glenorchy, following a quiet backcountry road along Lake Wakatipu’s northern shore. The mighty Southern Alps, including Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi (2819m), loom ever larger along the way.