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Once the snow starts to melt and the ski fields close, Queenstown gears up for another season and the cycling begins! Recent years have seen a big increase in cycle trails and with the opening of the Queenstown Trail and Queenstown Bike Park, boasting New Zealand’s only Gondola assisted bike lift, there has never been a better time to experience Queenstown’s cycling trails.
This is our guide to the best of cycling in the region.
The Queenstown Trail was officially opened in October 2012 and is a 100km + cycling and walking trail, opening up previously private land and crossing 3 iconic rivers. There are 7 cycling trails to choose from, all judged as easy or intermediate.
Trails pass through vineyards, cross over rivers, follow the shorelines of Lake Hayes and Lake Wakatipu, wind through spectacular countryside and provide excellent picnic and fishing stops.
Several companies offer bike hire, guided trips and the Queenstown trail website has all the maps and information to get you started.
Queenstown Bike Park
The Queenstown Bike Park opened in 2010 and has quickly established itself as the best mountain bike park in New Zealand. Accessed via the Skyline Gondola, the park is home to more than 12 world class downhill tracks that twist and turn their way through the pine forests of Ben Lomond Reserve.
The Gondola, which is located right in the heart of central Queenstown, allows users to take the relaxing journey to the top with their bikes attached to the lift. Making it easy to enjoy more tracks in less time and avoid the dreaded uphill peddle.
The park caters for all levels with runs suitable for beginners, intermediate and expert mountain bikers. Rental bikes are available at the top of the Gondola or at several bike shops in Queenstown. Vertigo Bikes run guided tours and operate a mountain bike school for anyone wanting bike lessons or skills clinics.
Skyline Queenstown's café and buffet lunch options mean you can easily spend a whole day discovering the bike park and don't even need to leave to refuel. The park opens at 10am daily during the summer months. See Skyline Queenstown's website for more details.
The 7-mile trails offer a great half-day cycle trip and are suitable for the intermediate to advanced mountain biker, with lots of bends, jumps and single track sections.
The tracks are located off the Glenorchy Road and true to it's name are 7 miles down the road from Queenstown. You can access the trails from two places, either 7- mile Delta or Wilsons Bay car parks. If you don't have your own vehicle we recommend you organise a bike taxi for transport to the trails or for the fit cyclists it is possile to bike out to the area along the Sunshine Bay Track and then road from Queenstown.
Ride to Paradise
The stunning township of Glenorchy at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu promises a day that you will never forget. This is a cycle trip for the Lord of the Rings enthusiast. With soaring mountains that provided the backdrop to Isengard and clear braided rivers, you really will be riding through paradise! We quite literally mean this as Paradise is the name given to the tiny hamlet past Glenorchy.
Here most of the roads are level and gravel, perfect for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers and the only spectators are likely to be the sheep and cows gazing at you as you peddle past.
Glenorchy has a number of lunch options and if you are keen, you can cycle onto Kinloch and experience the warm hospitality at Kinloch Lodge, which is open for lunch and afternoon tea.
Bike Friendly Accommodation
It is completely up to you how you experience Queenstown’s cycling trails – if you choose to bring your own bike, accommodation providers such as Blue Peaks Lodge will happily provide cycle secure storage at no extra cost. Blue Peaks is a fantastic access point to the Frankton Track leg of the Queenstown Trail and their friendly staff are more than happy to help you with bike information, bike rentals and bookings.
This clean, modern and welcoming motel is situated right in central Queenstown - perfect if your legs feel they have done enough work!