Easy - Advanced
Survey mountainous southern scenery while pedalling between attractions including wineries on this great cycle trail. Then bungy jump bridge and historic Arrowtown.
Linking Queenstown, Arrowtown and Gibbston, this trail network is the ultimate way to reach many of the region’s iconic attractions while soaking up its world-famous scenery. Rides range from easy lakeside jaunts to cross-country treks to winery tours, offering adventures to suit cyclists of almost every ability and area of interest.
Visitors are spoilt for choice on this trail network, which dishes up sublime scenery while linking many of the attractions the Queenstown region is famous for. Multiple access and bike hire points, open landscapes and clear signage make for easy navigation, while wide, smooth terrain means riders can keep their eyes front and camera at the ready.
The trail website suggests rides of various lengths and levels of difficulty. At the leisurely end of the scale is the Lake Wakatipu Ride starting in Queenstown’s colourful municipal gardens and hugging the lakeshore through to Frankton and beyond, back-dropped by the Remarkables and passing cafes along the way.
Gold rush-era Arrowtown is the starting point for the intermediate Arrow River Bridges Ride that takes in photogenic bridges, country lanes and an old gold miners’ road to historic Kawarau Bridge, site of the world’s original bungy jump operation and a chance to strike the big bounce off the bucket list.
Kawarau Bridge signals the start of the Gibbston River Ride, an easy meander through the ‘Valley of the Vines’ and a brilliant way to explore the wineries lining this iconic Central Otago landscape.
There are plenty of return rides and loops, but flexible shuttle pick-ups also enable one-way rides throughout the network, offering the ultimate in cycle tour freedom.
View trail map here.
Terrain mostly ranges across grades 2–3 (easy to intermediate), with each section described in detail on the trail website. Riders of most ages and abilities will find a ride to enjoy, particularly if they work the hills and forecast wind direction in their favour.
While the trails are wide and smooth, a mountain bike is recommended for safety and comfort. Although the trail is well signposted and meets many roads and settlements, riders should carry a map, water and food, basic tool kit and cellphone. There are toilets dotted at convenient points.
The Queenstown Trails can be ridden at any time of year, each season blessed with a distinct colour palette (autumn is a stunner). Generally hot and dry in summer, and icy in winter, the mountain environment means that conditions can change quickly. Regardless of season, it is vital to check the forecast and take appropriate clothing.
Transport & tours
This trail is well serviced by local companies offering bike hire, shuttles and tours: Around The Basin Bike Tours, Pure Trails, Fat Tyre Adventures, Queenstown Bike Tours(opens in new window) and Vertigo Bikes. In addition, bike hire is available from Outside Sports.(opens in new window)
Queenstown and Arrowtown are both great bases for cycling adventures, providing a broad range of accommodation within a short riding distance of the trail. There are also plenty of options near the trail throughout the Wakatipu Basin and Gibbston, and within an hour’s drive in other popular bases such as Wanaka and Cromwell. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the New Zealand Cycle Trail(opens in new window) website.