Vineyards, scenic beauty, bungy jumping on trails

Good times on the Queenstown Trail.
Good times on the Queenstown Trail.
Summer is a great time to get on your bike and hit the trails. Cycling author Jonathan Kennett has explored the trails  and offers some recommendations.

A 100km network of smooth gravel cycle paths now connects the highlights of the Queenstown area. 

From downtown Queenstown the trail skirts around Lake Wakatipu, with the Remarkables towering above.

It’s flat and easy.

From Frankton (by the airport) the options begin —  will you head for the quaint heritage of Arrowtown or the buzz of bungy jumping at the historic Kawarau Bridge?

Perhaps the famous Gibbston wineries are more appealing, or a one-hour ride around  picturesque Lake Hayes.

The Queenstown Trail network has been built to cater for everyone and provides an ideal way to explore an area of outstanding scenic beauty. It includes seven bridges, with five crossing the spectacular Arrow River.

Almost 100,000 people rode the trails in the first six months, and although most are doing short rides of less than a few hours in length, there is an option to do an 80km, two-day ride, which is described below.

This loop trip goes from Queenstown to Arrowtown then down the Arrow River to the wineries region and back via the Kawarau River.

There are plenty of alternatives, so trips can cater for any group of friends and family. 



Start and end point   Queenstown

Distance   72-81km

Likely time   Up to 2 days

Grading   Grade 2 (easy) to grade 3 (intermediate), with a few unexpected short, steep hills Surface Mostly smooth, wide, gravel paths

Bike type   Comfort/hybrid bike or a mountain bike

Map and trail website   Download a map from the trail website

In emergencies   There is good cellphone coverage on this trail

Bike hire   Go to the Plan and Book section of to choose from several bike-hire companies.

Gibbston Valley Winery also offers bike hire and shuttles to and from Queenstown

Getting there   Queenstown is 280km (3.5 hours’ drive) from Dunedin and 480km (6 hours) from Christchurch. There are dozens of flights a day to Queenstown Airport, at Frankton. The trail can be accessed from several entry points, including Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown. Queenstown is 10 minutes’ drive from the airport. There are regular airport shuttles and a bus, as well as rental cars available. Many accommodation providers also offer free shuttles to and from the town centre

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