Exploring everything that the spectacular Wakatipu Basin has to offer by bike is one of the best ways to see our little slice of paradise. Travelling by bike gives you the flexibility to soak in the sights, time to explore, and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the incredible selection of eateries, bars and cafes on offer.
Queenstown is home to the Queenstown Trail, a comprehensive and ever-growing network of trails throughout the district. The trails cater to all riding abilities and levels of fitness and the majority of trails are relatively flat, with gentle climbs and wide, well maintained surfaces. You can link multiple trails together to enjoy a grand tour of the basin, or spend more time exploring individual trails, and absorbing all that they have to offer.
Multiple local operators offer bike and equipment hire, and drop off and pick up options to cater to all needs, and the trails are built alongside incredible points of historic interest, incredible scenery, and local cafes and bars.
The Boat Shed Cafe, a must-stop eatery along the Frankton Track
Frankton Track & Kelvin Peninsula Trail
Difficulty: Grade 2 / Easy
Distance: 16.4km one way
Time: 2-3 hours
The Frankton Track & Kelvin Peninsula Trail begins at the entrance to the Queenstown Gardens, near The Bathhouse, in downtown Queenstown. Take in the beautifully manicured hedges, colourful flower beds and towering old Douglas fir trees as you bike through the Queenstown Gardens before biking along the Frankton Arm to Frankton Marina.
Once in Frankton Marina stop for coffee and morning tea at The Boatshed Café & Bistro. Set in the restored historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office dating back to 1869-78, The Boat Shed sits on the very edge of Lake Wakatipu serving up tasty brunch and coffee. Or if you’re in the mood to try some local brews, stop in at Altitude Brewery a few hundred metres down the road from The Boat Shed. Their lakeside brewery and taproom is a great place to chill in the sunshine before continuing your journey across the old Kawarau Falls Bridge to the start of Kelvin Peninsula.
Along the peninsula, there are multiple jetties and small beaches perfect for a pit stop or a picnic. Upon reaching the end of the peninsula, you have the option to extend your ride to the Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail an easy 3.5km Grade 2 trail which loops around the Queenstown Golf Club and takes in incredible views over Queenstown along with sculptures made by local artists.
Or, if you have plenty of pip left in you and you are a more advanced rider continue on to meet up with the Jack's Point Trail an advanced Grade 4 trail that has some of the most incredible views in the region and ends at Jack's Point.
Jack's Point Trail
Twin Rivers Trail
Difficulty: Grade 3 / Intermediate
Distance: 18.4 km one way
Time: 3 hours
The Twin Rivers Trail begins at the Kawarau Falls Bridge and crosses under the highway via a tunnel. From here, you’ll bike alongside the Kawarau River with the Remarkables mountain range as your backdrop for a few kilometres before reaching the Shotover Delta where the Shotover River meets the Kawarau River.
Bike along mudflats overlooking the Shotover, before reaching the old lower Shotover Bridge perfect for a photo stop. Next, you’ll bike alongside Shotover Country and Lake Hayes Estate before continuing on through farmland and forest before meeting up with the Arrow River Bridges Trail, where you have the option to bike to Arrowtown or Gibbston.
The Lower Shotover Bridge @renatefrancisca on Instagram
Arrow River Bridges Trail
Difficulty: Grade 2 / Easy
Distance: 13.7 km one way
Time: 2 hours
The Arrow River Bridges Trail starts in Arrowtown and crosses five bridges on its way to Gibbston. Start the day off with brunch and a look around the shops in historic Arrowtown, an old gold mining town established in the 1860s after gold was discovered in the Arrow River, now a gorgeous town with a thriving hospitality scene.
The trail begins near the Chinese Village, a restored Chinese mining settlement dating back to the 1880s, check out the huts and read a little bit about Arrowtown’s interesting history before you hop on your bikes ready to tackle the trail.
The first section of the trail runs alongside the banks of the Arrow River, covered in beautiful green trees in spring and summer and with multiple picnic and swimming spots. You’ll cross four bridges (Swain Family Bridge, Southern Discoveries suspension bridge, Knights Family Underbridge, Edgar Suspension Bridge) each perfect for photo opportunities, and ride through expansive farmland before ending at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge.
From there you have the option to continue on to the Gibbston River Wine Trail.
Biking across the Edgar Bridge
Gibbston River Wine Trail
Difficulty: Grade 2 / Easy
Distance: 8.7 km one way
Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus time taken to stop at vineyards
One for the wine lovers, this trail takes you through Gibbston, the most southerly wine producing region in the world, now famous for its award-winning Pinot Noir. The trail begins at the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge, a Tohu Whenua in New Zealand, built in 1880 during the height of the gold rush in the region in order to allow access from the Otago Gold fields. In 1988, it became the home of bungy, when AJ Hackett set up the first commercial bungy jumping operation in the world on the bridge. Make sure you leave some time to watch some brave bungy jumpers, or give it a go yourself!
From here, its time to take in the beautiful landscapes as you explore the array of cellar doors, and winery restaurants in the valley. First on the right you'll find Chard Farm, located at the end of a thrilling ride along a private road overlooking the Kawarau River. Next up stop for lunch at Gibbston Valley Winery, their menu is full of local produce with a handful of ingredients even grown on site, following lunch take a tour around their wine cave or do a cheese tasting at Gibbston Valley Cheesery.
Gear up for some serious wine tasting as next up you'll find Peregrine, an award-winning producer of organic wines, then Kinross, the cellar door for a number of small but well known and award-winning producers from the region. Further down the valley you'll find Brennan and Mt Rosa, both perfect for a platter and tasting flight in the late afternoon sunshine.
Biking in Gibbston