3-5 Days 190 Km


  • Mountains & lake scenery
  • Character-filled accommodation & cafes
  • Lake Wakatipu steamship cruise


Grade 2-3

Easiest - Intermediate

Soak up majestic mountain and lake scenery on this journey through secluded valleys, rustic farmland and historic settlements.

Rolling farmlands, Southland, Southland


Offering scenery to rival almost any other New Zealand Cycle Trail, this long but leisurely journey begins with the iconic steamship TSS Earnslaw lake cruise from Queenstown, before riders pedalling south into rural Southland via an incredibly beautiful hidden valley. Mountain vistas, secluded lakes and golden grasslands are revealed along the way, while warm hospitality adds home comforts and a touch of indulgence.

Riding the trail

This leisurely trail will commonly be ridden in an anticlockwise direction, from Queenstown to Kingston, to make the most of prevailing winds and topography. Completing the whole trail will take 4–5 days, but it can easily be broken into shorter rides using local transport operators.

Starting from Queenstown, the Around the Mountains journey begins with a steamship cruise to Walter Peak Station on the southern shore of Lake Wakatipu. From there, riders roll through the idyllic grasslands of Mt Nicholas Station to beautiful Mavora Lakes where hardy types can take a dip. This 50km-long first section makes a fabulous day-ride for moderately fit riders by arranging return transport to (or from) Walter Peak Station.

The trail then continues through the Eyre Mountains Conservation Park to Centre Hill, you’ll soon be immersed in the agricultural hub of Southland.

This section is dusty because of gravel and the Centre Hill Road being open to traffic - booking a shuttle bus for this segment is recommended and must be booked in advance. 

Next, journey alongside the Oreti River while looping around the southern end of the Eyre Mountains. Along the way it passes the historic Southland towns of Mossburn, Lumsden, Athol, Garston and Kingston, offering 2–3 days easy riding on wide well-graded paths through pretty countryside, with endless mountain views and warm hospitality never far away.

Find out more

New Zealand Cycle Trail Official Website

Click on the link below for more information and detailed maps about this cycle trail.

Around the Mountains(opens in new window)

More information

Be prepared

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.

Transport & tours

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)

Useful links

Around the Mountains(opens in new window) - the official trail website
Official Southland tourism(opens in new window) information 

Nearby tracks and trails

The Queenstown Trail, MacetownWanaka Lakeside Tracks Lake2Lake Trail(opens in new window)

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