Queenstown’s Skyline gondola transports riders and bikes up Bob’s Peak for some of New Zealand’s best downhill mountain bike trails.
The Skyline Gondola takes the hard work out of mountain biking by depositing riders and bikes almost 500 metres above central Queenstown. After the super-scenic, six-minute ride up, the downhill options are mind-boggling, with 28 world-class trails crisscrossing the southern flanks of Bob’s Peak. As befitting one of the world’s most popular adrenaline sport resorts, the 30+ km trail network winds, drops, swoops and flies through exotic and regenerating native forest with eye-popping views across Lake Wakatipu to the jagged Remarkables and Cecil Peak.
While there’s almost something for everyone, the park is not the best place for beginners to be set loose. Even entry-level Hammy’s Track – a relatively easy (and hugely fun) 6km sweep – throws up a few surprises, although its generous width and smooth berms should keep most riders on track. Taking on its trickiest lines and hitting every jump and obstacle, however, ramps it up to super-speedy grade 5 trail.
Another track to cruise before upping the ante is Thunder Goat that starts at the mid-way clearing before roaring down the hill on big, wide berms. Intermediate riders will love Vertigo’s steeper and rougher terrain.
There are plenty of gnarly trails for advanced and expert riders. Hardcore highlights include the old-school roots, rocks and flow of Single Track Sandwich, the off-camber trickiness of Grundy, and the double-black diamond rock-fest that is Slippery Ninja. A brilliant new addition to the park is the cheekily named Huck Yeah!. Comprising a series of sensational true-table top jumps, it’s perfect for folks wanting to hone their big air skills.
Queenstown Bike Park is open from September through May, with half-day, multi-day and season passes available. Visit the Skyline website for more details. High-spec, full-suspension and downhill bikes, plus guided trips are available through Queenstown’s excellent bike shops.
Adrenaline junkies who want a break from mountain biking can race their buddies on Skyline’s fun-for-all-ages luge track or take a leap off the peak on a tandem paraglide. Oh, and then there’s the seemingly endless array of adventure activities on offer all around the Queenstown region.