Ride the Queenstown Trail


When I travel overseas, the most common place people say they want to visit in New Zealand is Queenstown. I tell them it’s beautiful and they should go, and that one of the best things to do is go for a bike ride. When I’m there, I ride these cycle trails every day. They’re that good. 

Mountain Biking from Wanaka

Queenstown is famous for its mountain biking, but it also has The Queenstown Trails. They are a network of easy off-road cycle trails around the region. When I’m there, I ride these cycle trails every day. They’re that good. 

It’s a journey and a destination

My favourite route starts in the village of Arrowtown. It follows the Arrow and Kawarau Rivers to Gibbston Valley.

If you get the chance, leave yourself a bit of time in Arrowtown to be charmed by its main street. Nearby are the remnants of a Chinese village. The tiny stone huts are a fascinating slice of gold mining history, and show how incredibly tough the early settlers were.

At the end of the route in Gibbston, there happens to be a quite lovely winery and cheesery. The area is deservedly famous for its Pinot Noir. So a smart move would be to plan ahead and take a backpack, just in case you end up with a bottle or two. On a sunny day, sitting on the cafe’s front porch or a beanbag on the lawn is pretty hard to beat. My favourite snack is their baked brie. Dunk bread into its warm oozy goodness, topped with honey caramelised onions.

What you will see on the cycle trail

  • Arrowtown is beautiful whatever the season. If you’re there in April, you’ll experience the magical colours of autumn. It is something spectacular.
  • The trail runs alongside the Arrow River. In summer, the river is the centre of village life. Kids rope swing from trees or drift down the river on something inflatable. I might even admit to having an inflatable pink flamingo for exactly those purposes.
  • You’ll get spectacular views of the Kawarau Gorge riding over a suspension bridge. You’ll also go over the world’s original bungy bridge. The giveaway that you’re getting close is the screams of people jumping. Watching them for a while makes for a fun stop. You might even be tempted to give it a go yourself.
  • Once you’re alongside the Kawarau River, you’ll see more than a few bunny rabbits. The number of rabbit holes around shows they think it’s paradise as much as the locals do.

The Queenstown Trail suits all levels of rider

The trail between Arrowtown and Gibbston is off-road with gentle hills. There are electric bikes for hire if you’d prefer the hills to melt away. The ride will take about an hour one-way.

Organising the ride is too easy

The logistics of the ride are easy. Just let your travel planner at First Light Travel know you’d like to do it. They’ll add it into your individualised travel itinerary and reserve a spot with a shuttle and bike operator for you.

More articles to help you plan your trip to New Zealand

Getting to New Zealand
New Zealand Passport and Visa Requirements
Smooth as possible on arrival to New Zealand
Travel Insurance for New Zealand
Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound?
What is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?
Driving in New Zealand
Safety in New Zealand's Great Outdoors
What to Pack for a New Zealand Holiday
New Zealand Accommodation Guide
New Zealand's Need to Know Facts
What do things cost in New Zealand

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Del Gorton
: 3 Aug 2019 (Last updated: 11 Mar 2020)

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