The two companies providing the lion's share of cycling tour
services in Wakatipu both started on the day the Queenstown
Trail officially opened in October 2012.
Queenstown-based Around the Basin Bike Tours and
Arrowtown-based Queenstown Bike Tours guide cyclists in the
Queenstown and wider Southern Lakes region, rent bikes and
provide shuttle services on the trails.
Having seen a gap in the market, both companies are busy as
their third summer approaches, but their owners agree there
is some way to go before the market reaches maturity.
Queenstown Bike Tours co-owner Matt Hirst said his business
had expanded in line with the growing awareness of the
Queenstown Trail. However, achieving the mooted link with the
Upper Clutha trail network via Gibbston ''would take our
business to the next level''.
His attitude to competition was ''the more the merrier'', but
the market would not grow by itself.
He was keen to see more accommodation providers offer cycle
tourism-focused packages and contribute more to the marketing
Around the Basin Bike Tours co-owner Steve Norton said he
expected more growth at the ''softer'' end of the market -
inexperienced riders with lower fitness levels - as people
realised how well constructed and rideable the trails were.
A trail link from Gibbston to Bannockburn was an ''exciting
prospect'' that would attract people looking for multi-day
''Just imagine a continuous network of trails from Dunedin to
Queenstown, up to Wanaka and linking to the Around the
Mountains [Cycle Trail].''
''It all comes down to groups like the Queenstown Trails
Trust - getting a good group of people together who are
capable and making it happen.''
He owned another business, Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort in
Gibbston, which offered more than 40km of downhill and cross
It was an example of a business that was not based directly
on the Queenstown Trail, but benefited from the growing
number of cycle tourists the Trail was attracting to the