In the past few years e-Biking has revolutionised access to Queenstown’s bike trails, opening up a whole new world of biking possibilities for all ages. There are even different e-Bikes for different adventures. Some are ideal for exploring more of the region, helping you tackle the Queenstown hills without breaking a sweat. Others are built rugged for off-road adventures, so you can head backcountry and get off the beaten track.
e-Biking Coronet Loop Trail. Credit Storyworks
Riding experiences for everyone
Ksena Proskur owns Ride to the Sky guided e-Bike experiences with Shay Muddle. She says, “It all began when Shay bought his first e-Bike. He thought it was amazing. He could ride to places he’d never been able to visit before because he wasn’t some ridiculously fit mountain biker. But e-Biking wasn’t popular yet in Queenstown, and he felt a bit lonely riding to all these beautiful, remote places alone.”
Shay began offering e-Bike tours so he could have other people to ride with. But he could also see how inclusive e-Biking was. Ksena says, “Even if you’re not that fit, if you have a passion for adventure e-Bikes are the perfect solution. In Queenstown we have all those beautiful trails, and people love being able to ride them. They’re like happy little kids with huge smiles on their faces when they climb a hill or complete a mountain trail.”
Lakes District Museum Director David Clarke is another keen e-Biker. He says, “Pre e-Bike it was becoming more of a slog to do some of my favourite trails. E-Bikes have opened those trails up to more people, especially older people, taking them to places they couldn’t contemplate before. I see people in the pub who’ve been pushing themselves up on technical trails on Mahu Whenua land or doing the Corotown trail to Arrowtown, places they might never have been able to get to before, but now they can.”
Biking Coronet Peak Trails
E-Biking into Mahu Whenua
One treasure of the region is Mahu Whenua, 53,000 hectares of high country stretching between Wānaka and Queenstown. The land is owned by record producer Robert Lange, who introduced sustainable farming and regenerative planting and breeding programmes. Mahu Whenua means heal the land. Robert protected 90% of the land with covenants, gifting it to the nation and making Mahu Whenua the largest private conservation project in New Zealand.
Heading into Mahu Whenua on an e-Bike is a wonderful introduction to high country wilderness, and a beautiful way to connect with the land. David says, “I've lived here since 1987. Most of that time Mahu Whenua was farmed and you couldn’t go on the land at certain times. Now it's like having this giant national park on our doorstep with tracks where you can wander, walk the dog, and e-Bike.”
The MTB Project has more information on the different bike trails in the Mahu Whenua covenant area, and the new Coronet Loop trail is a perfect introduction to the sanctuary. There are plenty of places to hire your e-bike from with guided tours and self-guided options available.
Macetown track, Manu Whenua
Connecting with the stories of the land
E-Biking has not only made biking more accessible. It’s also made it easier to explore the stories of the land and its people. The Museum is working with Queenstown Trails and the Queenstown and District Historical Society to put more interpretation signs exploring local history at key points along the trails.
Ride to the Sky specialise in offering tours that combine storytelling with spectacular scenery. Ksena says, “On our tours we share local history and Māori legends like the taniwha in Lake Whakatipu and Hakitekura’s swim across the lake to light a fire at Te Ahi-a-Hakitekura or Refuge Point. We introduce people to native birds and plants and talk about their traditional uses, like the way harakeke flax is used for weaving.”
Touring with Ride to the Sky
Hop on an e-Bike and explore Queenstown for yourself
As museum director, David is a rich source of local lore, so we asked him to share some of his favourite rides that combine scenery with stories.
- The Arrow River trail to Gibbston offers history, food, wine, and bungy jumping. There’s heritage along the Arrow River with the suspension bridges and Whitechapel. There’s scenery with the deep Arrow Gorge and a beautiful section of trail from the bungy down to Peregrine Wines along the Kawarau River.
- The Moke Lake to Lake Dispute loop is more technical. Start from the main road at 7 Mile Creek and ride up Gold Diggers trail to the saddle before heading down to Moke Lake and around Lake Dispute. David says, “It’s a fantastic ride taking you into the backcountry. You'll feel miles away from civilization and yet you're not that far.”
- The trail from Twelve Mile Delta to Bob's Cove offers glorious lake views. David says, “In the summer you get flowering rātā along the trail. Take in the history of the old limestone caves. Then stop at Bob's Cove and stick your feet in the lake before riding back.”
- One of David’s favourites is the ride from Queenstown to Jacks’ Point around the Frankton Arm and the Kelvin Heights Golf Course. It’s about 50km return to Queenstown, a fantastic ride with magnificent lake views, and a bit of tough, technical riding. David’s top tip is to stop at Jacks Point Clubhouse for a coffee and to discover the story of Jack Tewa.
If you’ve never ridden an e-Bike before, Ride to the Sky tours are a great introduction to this accessible adventure. Shay and Ksena are experienced guides, who can give you riding tips for first timers while you get a feel for your e-Bike capabilities, and they can supply all the gear, even padded shorts and jackets to make sure you’re riding in comfort.
Biking to Gibbston
As you explore, share your e-Bike Queenstown adventures with us on social, we love seeing people out there exploring the trails and connecting with the land.