Easiest - Intermediate
Soak up majestic mountain and lake scenery on this journey through secluded valleys, rustic farmland and historic settlements.
The first leg of the trail from Walter Peak Station to Mavora Lakes follows gravel road before turning into a wide, smooth and well-graded gravel cycle path the rest of the way. The majority of the trail is grade 1 (easiest) and grade 2 (easy), with short grade 3 (intermediate) sections on quiet back-roads. The trail can be ridden on a hybrid or mountain bike.
Although the trail is well signposted and often in view of roads beyond Mossburn, riders should carry a map, sufficient water and food, basic tool kit and cellphone (although reception will be patchy). There are toilets dotted at convenient points, plus cafes, accommodation and shops at reasonably regular intervals between Mossburn and Kingston.
The weather can be hot and dry during summer and a lack of shade in parts make sun block essential. Riders will pass through mountainous terrain for much of the way, and snow can fall in spring and autumn as well as winter. Riders should always check the forecast and take appropriate clothing.
To get to Walter Peak Station and the start of the trail involves a scenic cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship from Queenstown. Local shuttles can transfer riders between Queenstown and Kingston, and luggage between overnight stops.
There are a number of operators who offer a variety of independent and supported tours, as well as bike hire and transport arrangements. Book your transport in advance.(opens in new window)
The tourist mecca of Queenstown makes a great base for this trail and the many others in the area. There are also numerous accommodation options along the trail at Mossburn, Five Rivers, Athol, Lumsden, Garston and Kingston. See the Southland Tourism and the Around The Mountain Cycle Trail website(opens in new window) for more details.
Accommodation along the section of trail between Mt Nicholas Station and Mossburn consists of camping only at the Department of Conservation campsite at Mavora Lakes(opens in new window).