Starting at the Queenstown Gardens, it’s a flat and easy ride to Frankton Beach as the trail follows the shore of Lake Wakatipu, call in to the historic Boatshed for coffee and a delicious sticky bun or Altitude Brewing for a local craft beer. Continue on past Frankton Beach towards the Kawarau Falls Bridge, before the bridge cross under the highway to connect with the Twin Rivers Trail. Follow the trail alongside the Kawarau Falls Scenic Reserve down to the Kawarau River.
Follow the banks of the Kawarau River towards the Shotover Delta, here the Shotover River enters the Kawarau River from the north and you will follow the trail to make your way towards the old lower Shotover Bridge. Restored to its former glory by the Rotary Club of Queenstown, the view from the river up to Coronet Peak is breath-taking – a definite photo moment.
Cross the Old Lower Shotover Bridge and follow the trail down the true left of the Shotover River to Old School Road, you’ll pass underneath the State Highway 6 and continue on hugging the river and the willow tree lined banks, past the Shotover Country and Lakes Hayes Estate communities. Continue winding your way along the true south of the river, the trail includes a few climbs but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with some of the most majestic views in the area.
Just before reaching Billie’s Bridge which crosses Hayes Creek, there's a picturesque picnic spot. Sit back, relax and drink in the splendour of this serene location.
At the top of Thompson’s hill - the longest and last hill on this ride, stop and admire the view across the Kawarau River up to the dramatic Remarkables Mountain range and Rastus Burn. Enjoy the easy descent through tranquil pastoral land surrounded by three mountain ranges. The Twin Rivers Trail ends at Morven Ferry Road where you pick up the Arrow River Bridges Trail for a short section till you reach the Gibbston River Trail.
Once you've joined the Arrow River Bridges Trail at Morven Ferry Road, follow until you see the Edgar Suspension Bridge, an impressive feat of engineering, this breathtakingly graceful 80-metre bridge looms dramatically. From its midpoint, it is guaranteed to deliver gasps of appreciation at the view down the Arrow Gorge. Photo stops are a must here.
Beyond the Edgar Bridge you’ll find our Wall of Recognition. Please take time to stop and offer up a 'thanks' to the landowners and Queenstown community who had the vision to help make the Queenstown Trail a reality.
Getting across busy State Highway 6 is a piece of cake via the Barfoot Tunnel - and onto a part of the trail which follows the original goldminers’ road into Queenstown. Breathe in the thyme-scented mountain air as you make your way over the historic Kawarau Bridge, also home of A J Hackett’s Bungy site, the world’s first bungy operation. The AJ Hackett Centre is a stunning piece of architecture, well worth a visit - a fabulous café, toilets and of course tickets for that bungy jump you've been promising yourself. As you leave the AJ Hackett car park (accessible from SH6) follow the signs to the Gibbston River Trail. From here, your journey takes you into dramatic wine country.
As you ride towards the east you’ll be spoilt for vistas - The Kawarau River far below on your left and to your right, the Gibbston vineyards, architectural masterpieces all set within the iconic Central Otago landscape. The stunning, international award-winning Peregrine Winery building sits lightly on the landscape, nestled in the vines. Inspired by Peregrine (native falcon or Karearea) in flight, this structure has won awards from London-based Architecture Review magazine and the NZ Institute of Architects.
The trail features many options to stop and enjoy the scenery of the Kawarau Gorge, take your time and take your pick of wineries for wine tasting.
At Waitiri Creek & Cargo Brewery, try a fine wine or cold craft beer to go with a handcrafted pizza.
Or across the State Highway, make an afternoon of it at the Gibbston Tavern, a real central Otago treasure. 200m up the road from the Tavern there is a great shady spot at the community reserve and some sparkling clean toilets.
If you are looking for a destination to wind down, go to the the award-winning Gibbston Valley Winery Restaurant for lunch and a wine tasting, plus there is a great gift store and bike hire centre now located at the Winery.
At Gibbston Back Road – currently the end of the trail, visit Mt Rosa Winery or Brennan Wines and if you fancy a bit more challenge and an escape from the highway, cycle up the road and continue until it meets Coal Pit Road, where you can enjoy a long and fun downhill on a quiet sealed road, which will take you straight back to the Gibbston Tavern and Community Reserve.