We are spoilt for choice here in Queenstown for epic scenery and traffic free trails for days.
If you’re looking for a different way to enjoy Queenstown and take advantage of the awesome trail network we have here, whether you’re a local or a visitor, we recommend these five epic adventures you can have on the Queenstown Trails.
The Queenstown Trails Trust has a vision for a happier, healthier and cleaner Queenstown, all because more people have the opportunity to walk and cycle. We want people of all ages and abilities to utilise the network of trails safely, easily and enjoyably around the Wakatipu. If everyone who used the trails regularly donated as little as $30 per year we’d be safeguarding the future of the trails. Help us achieve our vision and support us by becoming a Friend of the Trust.
Queenstown to Jack's Point
This ride is a ride of two halves, and not for the fainthearted! At 26km and a range of easy to advanced grades there are certainly a lot of ups and downs to this trail.
Starting in Queenstown Gardens and following the lake along the Frankton Track towards the Frankton Arm it’s very smooth and easy going. We recommend stopping at the Boat Shed for a coffee and something sweet, or Altitude Brewing if it’s a cold beer you’re after. Continue past Frankton Marina and make your way along Frankton beach, following the signs for the historic Kawarau Falls Bridge. Definitely take a moment on this historic bridge before you cross over and start making your way along the Kelvin Heights Peninsula. It’s well worth a stop in at the Hilton at Kelvin Heights for a rest and re-fuel for the trail section to come.
You’ll continue on the trail, passing lovely gardens and homes and small piers and swimming spots, before you head into the trees with views of Queenstown Bay, Walter Peak and the Frankton Arm. Shortly after, you’ll join the Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail, where you’ll find a number of stunning works of art positioned around the Peninsula, including the powerful and compelling Wakatipu KuiKui as well the infamous Kelvin Peninsula Goats. A great piece of the trail for the kids!
From the south side of the Queenstown Golf Club you’ll see signs for Jardine Park and Jacks Point Trail – here’s where it gets interesting! The trail meanders around, up and down, riding past an abundance of wild tussocks and natural schist, you’ll feel like you’re well out of Queenstown and have the place to yourself. The hardest part is the last 3kms which are particularly steep and technical, but once you’re at the top you can enjoy expansive views across Lake Wakatipu, and feel pretty pleased with yourself. Head down to Jacks Point Golf Club for a well-earned beverage.
You can head back the way you came, or alternatively there are plenty of bike transport options to pick you up in Jacks Point, head to our trail directory here to find out more.
Queenstown to Arrowtown (and return if you’ve got the energy)
Starting in the immaculate Queenstown Gardens, you’ll head out to Frankton and make your way over the Old Lower Shotover Bridge. Following the Twin Rivers Trail, this route meanders along the Shotover and Kawarau rivers and takes in some epic views. With some beautiful swim and picnic spots along the way, we heartily recommend packing a picnic and your togs for a quick dip!
The trail continues winding on with a couple of punchy climbs but super fun descents and eventually meets up with the Arrow River Bridges trail, which takes you into Arrowtown. Once you’ve enjoyed the bliss and peacefulness of the Arrow River running alongside you, rest your weary legs at one of the gorgeous cafes or restaurants and take in the history of the place. After you’ve rested up and had your fill, you can either head back the way you came, or head back across the Countryside Trail which runs through the fabulous Millbrook Resort.
You’ll eventually meet back up with the Twin Rivers Trail which leads you back to Queenstown. It makes for a fantastic loop if you choose the Countryside Trail, but just make sure you don’t overdo it on the food and ice cream in Arrowtown as there are a few hills to climb yet!
Arrowtown to Gibbston Return
With awe-inspiring views at every turn, this is a fun trail with the epic reward of wine at the mid-point.
Starting in Arrowtown, the trail heads west along the banks of the Arrow River and passes a number of bridges along the way. One of the most popular photo stops is midway across the awe-inspiring Southern Discoveries suspension bridge. Across the bridge, you’ll ride past quaint cottages and grazing horses down Whitechapel country lane – a landscape painting straight out of a picture book. Stop at the Knights Family Underbridge and take in spectacular downstream view of where the Arrow River drops into the gorge.
Crossing the Kawarau Suspension Bridge you arrive into Gibbston. The trail runs the length of the wineries and you’ll be spoilt for choice at the numerous inviting wineries and taverns that await. Stop in at Gibbston Valley Winery & Lodge for a gorgeous deli lunch and wine tasting, take in the architectural grandeur of Peregrine Winery or even the old church and beautiful gardens at Cargo Brewing’s cellar door.
Savour the afternoon, before making your way back to Arrowtown. Maybe even buy a bottle of your favourite tipple to enjoy at home!
The Great Ride in 2 Days
If you find yourself in Queenstown for a couple of days and want to see the best of what the Queenstown Trail has to offer, this one’s for you.
Starting at the Queenstown Gardens the trail is pretty flat as it winds along Lake Wakatipu. You’ll pass delights such as the Boat Shed Café and Altitude Brewing, which make perfect stops for a coffee or a beer. The trail then keeps heading over to the Lower Shotover Bridge where it joins the Twin Rivers Trail. Restored to its former glory by the Rotary Club of Queenstown, the view from the bridge up to Coronet Peak is breath-taking – a definite photo moment!
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 splendor of this serene location. Or nip off the trail to The Hayes for a relaxing pit stop. You’ll eventually get to Morven Ferry Road where you pick up the Arrow River Bridges trail which will take you out to Gibbston.
Follow the meandering trail 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.
From here, your journey takes you into dramatic wine country. Choose to explore the Gibbston River Trail, taking in some wine tasting and enjoy all that the 'valley of vines' has to offer. We definitely recommend calling in at Gibbston Tavern or even staying the night at Gibbston Valley Winery & Lodge or Kinross Cottages. Both beautiful accommodation set amongst the vines.
The next morning eat a hearty breakfast as you’ll mostly retrace your steps. This time you head towards Arrowtown and follow the tree-lined banks of the Arrow river. Stop a while in Arrowtown, an old gold mining town that still retains much of its former history today and make sure you re-fuel. The Fork & Tap has a fantastic beer garden, Patagonia the best ice cream and Postmasters Arrowtown for your coffee needs!
You’ll need to locate the next section of trail by Dudleys Cottage (home to Better by Bike) which takes you out to Millbrook Resort. Slow down and take in the wonderful 'avenue of trees'. If you have time or if you are wanting to eat or rest Millbrook Resort offers a great cafe, restaurant, bars, pro-shop and golf courses and of course the Day Spa (not to mention the first class accommodation options). Or continue on the trail through Millbrook until you reach Christine's Hill, one of the favourite local views on the trail. From here, Lake Hayes twinkles in the foreground, with the appropriately-named Remarkables Mountain Range in the distance.
The trail continues on until you’re back on familiar ground at the old Lower Shotover Bridge. Re-trace your steps here and you’ll arrive back in Queenstown, hopefully with a big grin on your face!
You can read the trail itinerary here and see some of our best picks!
The Queenstown Loop
The Queenstown Loop incorporates three Queenstown trails and has a great mixture of single track, gravel trail, commuter trail and a teeny bit of road. Our recommended way to start this loop would be heading out of town towards Arthurs Point. The handy commuter trail on the left of the road means you’re out of the way of fast cars and makes for a nicer climb to Arthurs Point.
Once past Arthurs Point, you head down Littles Road, and to the start of the Lower Shotover Trail. The start is a gently winding switch back climb. You’ll meet a couple of farm gates which you’ll need to make sure you close behind you. You’ll pedal through gorgeous tussocky fields as the trail makes its way along the Shotover River. You’ll be above the river at this point, but after a while you’ll drop down towards the river, crossing a few streams along the way.
Some fun, single track awaits as it snakes down through the trees, across schist rock paths, making headway towards the river. There are a few narrow, exposed sections to navigate, so if you’re a bit unsure definitely walk these bits or take it slow.
The final bit of single track is a fun little descent down to the beach where you’ll meet up with other small trails and be riding next to the river. The trail continues on through the woods and eventually joins on to the tail end of the Countryside Trail as you head towards the Old Lower Shotover Bridge.
Here you’ll join the Twin Rivers Trail and eventually the Frankton Track to make your way back to Queenstown.
All of these trails and more can be found in our Maps & Section HERE
If you love our trails and want to help us build more, please consider becoming a Friend of the Trust HERE
If you've cycled or walked any part of the Queenstown Trail in the last 12 months please take 5 to complete our trail survey HERE