The Easy Rides
One of the best things about the Queenstown Trail is that there are rides available for everyone.
The Lake Wakatipu Ride is one option that is perfect for beginner cyclists and for groups that have riders of varying abilities. It is also an excellent choice for families. This trail begins in the Queenstown town center in Earnslaw Park and is a total of 15 kilometers. Along the way, you will encounter the Boatshed at Frankton Marina where you can sip on delicious coffee, or ride across the historic Kawarau Falls bridge. When crossing the bridge, you can view the exact spot where Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau River meet.
The Hilton Hotel is also along this route, and you may decide the time is right for a massage, a bite to eat, or a nice, cold beer. The Hilton also offers return transport for those who wish to end their ride here.
If you would like to carry on, you will find yourself along the shores of the lake, where you will ride past some of New Zealand’s most iconic contemporary homes, the Wakatipu Yacht Club, and beautiful sculptures, which were created by local artists. You will also ride near the Queenstown Golf Course, where you can stop and relax before heading back along the trail.
Other easy rides include the Arrow River Bridges Ride, which takes you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the area, and the Gibbston River Ride, which is perfect for wine lovers, as it winds through the famed ‘Valley of the Vines.’
The Intermediate Rides
For those who are up to the challenge, there are also intermediate rides along the Queenstown Trail including the Countryside Ride.
This ride will take you on an 11-kilometer trek along country lanes from Queenstown to Arrowtown. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to experience the history and culture of the Arrowtown area.
The ride begins at the Arrowtown River Carpark, and you will pass quaint art galleries, the Millbrook Resort, and view both the Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Hayes in the distance. There are a number of beautiful landscapes in this area, and it is a favorite among photographers.
When arriving at Shopehill, you will have the choice of routes, depending on what type of trail you are seeking, hilly or flat. When coming to Christine’s Hill, which is a test of fitness, you will be on your way back, but you may want to stop at Millbrook for a massage, a round of golf, cocktail, or lunch. You can then decide to continue on your way to Arrowtown or choose to hire transport to take you and your bike back to Arrowtown.
Other intermediate options include the Twin Rivers Ride, which is an exquisite track along the Kawarau River, where there are ample spots for photographs, fishing, and picnics. The Lake Hayes Circuit is another intermediate option, which allows you to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s most photographed lake and the wildlife that call it home.
The Advanced Rides
Those who wish to test their limits may consider Jack’s Point Ride. This option takes you along 12 kilometers of mountainous trails, which are not for the faint of heart. However, the views you will encounter are spectacular, and this area features the iconic ‘Lord of the Rings landscape.
You will begin the ride at Kelvin Grove and encounter steep descents and climbs along the way, as well as tight bends, which may force you to get off the bike and push for a minute or two.
You will get off the beaten track with this option, but this is a technical and steep ride with natural schist and a number of wild tussocks. The reward for completing this challenge is eye-catching landscapes and the feeling that you are alone in this gorgeous area.
When arriving at Jack’s Point, you will find yourself in the middle of a quaint resort village, which offers amenities such as a golf course, restaurant, and beautiful homes. Have lunch before heading back, or hire transport that will ensure you arrive safely back to Kelvin Grove.
Another advanced ride option is a 27-kilometer ride, which takes you along parts of both the Jack’s Point Ride and the Lake Wakatipu Ride.
The Queenstown Trail is a stunning area where those who love the great outdoors will find peace and tranquillity. You can walk or ride the trails, and see the Queenstown area as you have never seen before. From the family-friendly trails such as the Lake Wakatipu Ride to the challenging trek around Jack’s Point, you will find something perfect for you no matter what your fitness level, age, or abilities.
The Queenstown area is easily accessible to anyone in the Wakatipu Basin via rental car, and visitors will find a number of features including world-class vineyards, mouth-watering food, and landscapes that you may have only seen in your dreams. However, a visit to this area is not complete without spending time outdoors, and there is no better way to do it than trekking along the Queenstown Trail.