Across Lake Wakatipu, through a secluded valley, and into lush countryside – this Great Ride is epic in both its scenery and scale.
Serving up some of the most incredible mountain vistas of Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window), this long but largely leisurely cycling adventure begins with a scenic lake cruise from Queenstown. From there the eye-popping views just keep on coming as this trail heads around the mountains via the spectacular Von Valley, Mavora Lakes, and deep, green Southland where small, rural towns offer a warm welcome.
Completing the whole trail will take 3–5 days, overnighting in a series of charming Southland towns. Local cycle tour companies offer a variety of day ride options and tours, including the stunning, remote Mavora Lakes section.
It can be cycled in either direction, but is most commonly started from Queenstown. Rolling your bike onboard for the historic Earnslaw steamship cruise to Walter Peak Station is an exciting start to the journey. Leaving the lakefront, the trail heads through the beautiful Von Valley and past the secluded Mavora Lakes. With the sun on your face and the breeze at your back, you’ll feel like you are riding through paradise.
The trail then tracks around the Eyre Mountains and along the Oreti River, passing through the small, rural towns of Mossburn, Lumsden, Athol and Garston. The blue waters of Lake Wakatipu greet you once more on the gentle descent down to the finish point at Kingston.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Ngā Haerenga Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
The trail is mostly graded 2–3 (easy to intermediate), following custom-made cycle paths with gentle gradients. There are, however, a number of sections on public roads where riders should be prepared to encounter traffic, and a long steep climb on the Mavora Lakes section.
Riders wishing to complete the full trail – including the Mavora Lakes section – should be reasonably fit, experienced and self-sufficient. E-mountain-bikes are well suited and welcome, but riders should be properly prepared for the long distance and remoteness of the Mavora Lakes section.
The trail is well signposted, and often in view of roads beyond Mossburn, but riders should still carry a map along with 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 around here can be extreme: hot and dry during summer with a lack of shade, and icy cold in winter although snow can also fall in spring and autumn. It’s essential to check in with the locals on the forecast and trail conditions, and be prepared for all possibilities.