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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Arrowtown to Queenstown Trail

Regional Ride

Queenstown, South Island

This 25km smooth gravel trail takes in the emotional colours and terrain of the Wakatipu Basin with a relatively easy bike ride from Arrowtown to Queenstown. Riding from Arrowtown to Queenstown, there are very few hills on the well formed track making the ride a great day out for families or beginner to intermediate cyclists.

The Arrowtown to Queenstown Trail starts in the picturesque and historic gold-mining town of Arrowtown.

Begin your trip by heading west on the main street - Buckingham Street. Buckingham veers down to the right and passes the historical Chinese gold-mining village. This village with old stone buildings is worth a stop before heading on. At the corner of Buckingham Street and Berkshire Street (where the Arrowtown Bakery is), continue up Berkshire past the St John's and St Paul's churches (for most this short hill will be a bit of a walk). Berkshire Street dips down to the boundary of the Arrowtown township where you'll turn right onto Malagans Road and follow the pathway on the left side of the road.

Follow the cycleway in through the Millbrook Resort, famous for it's golf course and well-heeled accommodation and down the hill to the Speargrass Flat Road.  The hill down from Millbrook to Speargrass Flat Rd zig zags its way down quite a steep section so take it easy here - it is not technical however. Once on Speargrass Flat Road turn right and continue for 50 meters or so before turning left into the gravel Slope Hill Road.

From Slope Hill Road you can add in a fantastic 8 kilometer Lake Hayes Circuit. Approximately 200 meters along Slope Hill Road turn left into Rutherford Road which takes you down to the Lake. This cycleway around beautiful Lake Hayes is well worth a detour. Lake Hayes is known for its calm waters which offer amazing reflections of The Remarkables mountain range. Consensus (but not by majority) is that it is easiest to ride clockwise around the track.

Back on Slope Hill Road, the trail heads up over Slope Hill which again might be bit of a climb for some riders - but certainly not technical.  Just before the climb you will reach a three way fork in the road - take the middle fork!  After an easy descent the road joins Lower Shotover Road where we turn left for about 500 meters before turning right into Domain Rd and the entrance to the trail just on the left hand corner of the intersection. You may or may not see a sign indicating the way to the Historical Rail Bridge crossing the Shotover River (many people seem to miss it).

The trail goes down a short hill and travels along the side of the Shotover River before reaching the historic Shotover Bridge - a wooden structure with quite a history. After crossing the bridge, the trail follows the river through the bush past the Queenstown sewerage treatment plant (affectionately known as the 'pooh ponds' to locals) - before you know it you'll have reached the Kawarau River where the trail snakes along climbing slightly until you reach Frankton. You'll cross the main highway before a brief downhill to the track along Lake Wakatipu.

Head along the lake front following the path along Lake Wakatipu around the Frankton Arm with great views of The Remarkables and Kelvin Heights across the lake. The track is an easy six kilometers into Queenstown and is a popular ride that makes up the Frankton Trail.


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