Queenstown 2019 Where to Ride Guide
Part 1 - Rentals, Gear, Web Sites, Bike Transfers and more
Queenstown is jam packed with kilometres of insanely awesome cycle trails accessible right from your hotel doorstop. In this article we’ll explore the options of getting out and just doing it, where you can get your kit from, and highlight a number of supported tours that have popped up in the last few years. It’s a two part article so make sure you come back and check out the Ride Guide in Part 2 where we’ll touch on the enormity of the different trails accessible from Queenstown.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, you should know that there are numerous trails for all levels. Distances, and start points vary but the cool thing about the Queenstown surrounds is that you can link trails and / or extend them to give you a longer day out, or a more diverse and challenging ride.
Web Sites & Information
If you’re intending to head out on your own then let's start with where you can obtain the information and maps from. The four best aggregate websites, which we’d recommend are: NZbyBike, Queenstown Mountain Bike, Trailforks and the Queenstown Trails Trust. All 4 of them have all the information you need to be best prepared for your ride including route overviews, descriptions, level rankings and maps. You can also pick up trail maps from any of the Info Centres around Queenstown or in any of the numerous bike stores.
Gear Rental Shops
Next, if you haven’t bought your own equipment and need to pick some up then head to one of these following stores. We’ve not ranked them in any particular order, but you will find that each store has a variety of services and rental options as well as accessories and loads of knowledgeable locals more than willing to impart a few pearlers on where best to ride;
- https://www.bikesandbarbers.co.nz/ (ebikes)
Many of the trails make an epic day out and its possible to see more if you ride in only one direction. If you’re considering this then you’ll be needing a transfer back to town. Specialised companies currently dealing with bike specific transfers are: Around The Basin Bike Tours , Vertigo Bikes’ Gravity Shuttle , BetterbyBike and Gibbston Valley Bike Center.
Bus it! Queenstown & Arrowtown is serviced by a wicked public bus option with bike racks mounted to the front of each bus! While not offering a back-to-back service, buses are pretty consistent and are super cheap. If you want to explore Queenstown and its surrounds then you’re best grabbing a bus GoCard for $5, and topping it up $10 and then its only $2 per ride thereafter. Check out QLDC’s website for more info on fares and routes.
Boat it! A number of the rides around the lake are also accessible by Water Taxi. These can be an awesome option if you’re heading out one way - public Ferry or a private waterTaxi . Make sure you check out their websites first as restrictions on bikes may be in place with weather conditions and tourist numbers.
Bike tours are a thriving business in and around the Wakatipu Basin. Let's be honest, it’s a fantastic way to get out and see the sights and experience our world class scenery while more times than not, packaging this up with a very quintessential QT experience!
There sure has been an explosion of operators, from the hard core to the pedal pushing vineyard tours, in the last few years. If you don’t want to get out there and do it on your own then hopefully this guide can help marry you up with an experience more suitable to your riding level and experience desires.
These are our local operators in a nutshell:
Fork and Pedal – Eat, Drink and Explore
With a tag line of ‘Small Groups, Boutique Wineries & Authentic Experiences’, I gotta admit – this has to be one of my favourites! This relatively new tour operator does self guided tours, fully guided tours, shuttles and custom tours – all of the wineries in and around Gibbston Valley
Around the Basin – Queenstown Trail Specialists
Right, so this team offer a huge range of tours from half day to full day and combo packages. They also navigate the world of corporate tours and large groups. They can organise everything including Electric Bikes, so you can go further on less energy (saving it for that glass of Pinto in Arrowtown!).
Heli Bike NZ – Queenstown – Epic Backcountry Mountain Biking
These guys have a saying ‘ if you can go mountain biking you can go heli biking’. And they’d know! Offering memorable experiences from November until May, some of these rides take 3 hrs + and cover epic movie screen scenery. Their reach is far and wide, and really, why wouldn’t you???
Alpine Helicopters- Say “goodbye” to the uphill grind and “hello” to the thrill of gravity!
Another Heli Bike option with equipment and transfers included. As is the picnic somewhere up into the deep Southern Alps! This is a private charter and has a minimum of two persons.
Fat Tyre Adventures - Real Mountain biking for Mountain bikers. Making everyday a Saturday
Well these guys are Heli Bike NZ, with local mountain biking tours as well. We have to admit that we know the crew here and would recommend them in a heartbeat. The guys are sweet and the rides are awesome, with one day, 3 days and 5 day options. Based out of Arrowtown, they’ll come to you and deliver a once in a lifetime experience!
Gibbston Valley Bike Tours - Experience Biking And Wine In Queenstown
These guys have seriously capitalized on the local bike + wine tour market and offer some amazing Ride and Wine tour packages. Honestly, this is the most fun way to learn about our local wines while having a guided bike tour – best suited to beginner cyclists + Advanced aficionados!!!
Well we hope this guide helps you find what you need to Get out, Get Active, Explore, Eat, Drink, Ride and Enjoy! Come back and visit us next week for Part 2 which will cover rides in and around Queenstown in more detail!