No matter how many times you’ve made the drive between Queenstown and Arrowtown, you may well have missed the incredible local secrets around Speargrass Flat and Slope Hill Roads. These quiet country lanes and trails are home to breathtaking architecture, tree-lined avenues, historic galleries and cafes.
Here, the magnificent colours of the South Island come to life (you’ll quickly see why these roads are such a favourite with the makers of car commercials)! Start your day of culture in Historic Arrowtown with a visit to local Arrowtown galleries - Nadene Milne or Arrowtown Art Gallery are both great.
Fortify yourself with coffee and a treat from Provisions Café or Mondo and set off on a ride that will literally take your breath away.
Head to the start of this ride at the Arrowtown River Carpark and follow the signs - you’ll come across the Christina Roach Gallery in an historic stone cottage and David John Gallery, just opposite on Manse Road. Both within a few minutes ride from Arrowtown.
The trail through iconic and peaceful Millbrook Resort is well-signposted. Slow down and take in the gorgeous architecture and landscaping – and make a mental note to stop in on the return journey. One of the favourite local views on the trail is from the top of Christine’s Hill. From here, Lake Hayes twinkles in the foreground, with the appropriately-named Remarkables Mountain Range in the distance.
A detourat the bottom of Christine's Hill left onto Speargrass Flat Road reveals more of Queenstown’s magnificent architecture and art. Be sure to stop in at the old dairy factory for a visit to the Thomas Brown Gallery on your right. Marvel at the stone and schist craftsmanship dotting the landscape. Historic Thurlby Domain with its exquisite trees and tumbledown stone ruins, is a popular wedding venue and a real favourite with photographers.
Turn back along Speargrass Flat Road until you reach Shopehill. From here you have a choice about which route to take to the Shotover Bridge. Ride via Slopehill Road and enjoy this tranquil country lane diversion which has some short sharp hills or for a flatter ride, carry on west along Speargrass Flat Road and follow the signs to the historic Shotover Bridge which is an attraction in itself with 360 degree photo opportunities!
If you’re tempted to continue on to Queenstown or Gibbston or Lake Hayes, just follow the signs. Otherwise, head back to Arrowtown.
Heading home, Christine’s Hill will test your fitness but can be walked in around 10 minutes.
Over the hill and you’ve arrived at Millbrook – you’re spoilt for choice - a well-earned massage or spa treatment, perhaps a round of golf? Or settle in for a late lunch or cocktail in the Hole in One Bar and arrange for your well-rested body (and bike) to be transported back to Arrowtown or your final destination for the day. Or get back on your bike for the easy 10 minute downhill bike ride to Arrowtown.