New trail to feature in Tour de Wakatipu

The Queenstown Trail will play its part in this year's Queenstown Bike Festival, the headline event, the Tour de Wakatipu, using parts of the new track.

In March, over 800 riders will take part in the off-road race, now in its fifth year, that runs from Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown, around Lake Hayes and across the Kawarau River towards the finish line at Chard Farm.

Once across the river, competitors will ride along tracks that are normally off limits to the public, making for an interesting trek for riders.

While the course is primarily off-road, organisers advertise the race as being accessible to most mountain bikers and containing few technical challenges.

Riders can opt to ride in the recreational division (36km), or those seeking a bigger challenge can enter the sport or elite divisions, where a loop of Lake Hayes is added, bringing the total to 45km.

Sponsor John Thompson is a keen mountain biker who has competed in the event in all four previous years and said he enjoyed the variety.

''What I particularly like is that the course makes use of some of the tracks prepared by the Queenstown Trails Trust and people will be able to experience all the good work that has gone on over the last few years round this part of the district.''

New this year is a run option, where competitors can run the final 12.5km from the Kawarau bridge to Chard Farm along the Kawarau River.

The running track will begin at the bottom of the Remarkables and run alongside the Kawarau River, over the river terraces, across the Rastus Burn, and then climb to the finish line at Chard Farm.