Welcome Rock Trails

5-6 Hours

27 KM

Highlights

  • High Country scenery
  • Historic and modern huts
  • Easy gradients

Proximity

Grade

Intermediate

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Atop a Southland high-country station is a wonderful handcrafted and historic single-track circuit with a fabulous mountain and valley vistas.

Queenstown
The Slate Hut, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Queenstown
Slate hut, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Queenstown
The Mud Hut, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Queenstown
The Mud hut, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Queenstown
Welcome Rock Trails, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Queenstown
Top of the Slate Range, Queenstown

Von Ben Arthur

Riding the track

Welcome Rock Trails started off as one of New Zealand’s longest gold-mining water races and has been reinvented and extended into a dazzling single-track circuit - a stunning biking adventure near Queenstown. The popular hiking and mountain biking trail is named after the prominent rock that served as a meeting point for early settlers.

The trail owes its existence to the O’Brien family who have farmed this high country station for four generations. Hand-hewing the mountain biking track in much the same fashion as the nineteenth century track builders, the new section sensitively follows the folds of the high country so that it looks like it’s been here for years.

Mostly smooth, flowing and gently undulating, this 27-kilometre biking adventure in Southland, just over an hour from Queenstown, can be completed by moderately fit riders in one day or upgraded into an overnight adventure by staying in charming back-country huts or glamping.

The starting point, historic Southland Ski Hut lies at an altitude of around 1000 metres, ensuring spectacular views from the get-go. The vistas alter dramatically however, as the track traces a path around the tussock-covered Slate Range. Out west, a patchwork of farmers’ fields is backdropped by the craggy Eyre Mountains, while to the east the landscape has a more remote, untouched feel with rolling tussockland and pockets of regenerating beech forest dominating the wide vistas.

Helping bring the landscape to life are authentic rusty relics, and information panels that evocatively relay the area’s fascinating ecology and gold mining past. Lucky riders may even discover the hidden cache of whisky! Overnight visitors reap even more rewards – a soothing soak in an outdoor bath and the chance to see a spectacular sunset.

Being privately owned and operated, prior booking is essential and can be arranged along with bike hire and guided tours via the Welcome Rock or Queenstown’s Outside Sports. The track is open to mountain bikers from October through April, and all year round for hikers.

Plan your mountain biking holiday

  • Key Mountain Biking Tours Operators

    Enjoy the freedom of riding without the hassle of logistics by taking a guided or self-guided mountain bike tour.

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  • New Zealand Mountain Biking Tips & FAQs

    Few countries in the world serve up such diverse riding – from urban forest trails to rugged, remote mountaintop tracks. Plan to stay safe and savour them.

    Read more

  • New Zealand Travel Guide

    Planning a biking holiday to New Zealand? Read our practical travel advice before you depart.

    Read more

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