Sure, Queenstown is famous for bungy jumping, jet boating, and hiking. But I think that mountain biking should also be added to the list of things this stunning town is famed for. With a huge range of bike trails for every ability, Queenstown may just be the best place in New Zealand for bike lovers.
In Queenstown, you can ease yourself into the world of biking with the easy Remarkables Loop at Jacks Point or the lovely lakeside Frankton Track. After that, work your way up to the super-fun (sometimes very steep) trails of the Queenstown Bike Park, or the local favorite, Fernhill Loop just outside of town.
Tackling the many bike trails in Queenstown is a great way to spend a day or even a few hours. On a sunny day, why not ride one of the lakeside tracks like Moke Lake or Lake Hayes and have a refreshing dip after your cycle. Cycling is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Queenstown in the summer months.
So, I won’t keep you waiting any longer – here, I’ll share with you 11 of the best bike trails in Queenstown from a local’s perspective.
Best Bike Trails in Queenstown
1. Queenstown Bike Park (Skyline gondola/Ben Lomond Reserve)
At the Queenstown Bike Park (also known as the Ben Lomond Reserve) there are over 14 epic downhill mountain-biking trails equaling a whopping 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of biking. It’s mostly a steep run of trails with over 450 meters (1,312 feet) of vertical descent in total!
The sheer number and variety of trails here mean you could easily spend a whole day getting lost amongst the pine trees. Some popular trails at the Queenstown Bike Park include Hammy’s Track, Thunder Goat, and Lazy Vertigo.
Hammy’s Track is the longest track here at 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) and is designed for all abilities. It’s the perfect introduction to downhill mountain biking. The track is wide and smooth and offers some fabulous views of Lake Wakatipu. This is easily one of the best bike trails in Queenstown.
Thunder Goat is one of the newest additions to the bike park. It’s a wide trail that easily flows – no crazy tight corners or uphill sections. It also has fantastic views of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.
One of the best parts of the Lazy Vertigo trail is the fast straight track alongside the Ziptrek zipline, it has a couple of steep downhill sections and tight corners. From this trail you can also access the double black World Cup Trail – this is one for the more experienced bikers amongst you.
The Queenstown Bike Park is accessible via the Skyline gondola on Brecon Street. The lifts are specially designed to carry your bikes up with you. That’s right, you get to ride the gondola to the top of the bike trails!
Did you know this was New Zealand’s first ever gondola-assisted bike park?!
At the top of the gondola, you’ll reach Bob’s Peak. Be sure to have a look around and take in the stunning views before hitting the bike trails. If you can spare a few minutes, you could also ride the Queenstown Luge which I consider to be one of the best things to do in Queenstown.
You can choose from a variety of different passes that allow you access to the bike park via the gondola including a single ride pass, a 4-hour pass, full-day pass, multi-day passes, season passes, or even a single lift ticket?! There’s also the combo ticket that includes both the gondola and the luge!
2. Cardrona Bike Park
The Cardrona Bike Park has some of the longest vertical descents in New Zealand, so it’s a real thrill for adventure-seekers in Queenstown.
This is in fact New Zealand’s highest bike park – so, as you can imagine the views here are pretty epic. It holds an outstanding 345 vertical meters of lift-accessed trails. If you fancy a real change why not take on the mighty Peak to Pub – which is a whopping 1,270 vertical meters (4,166 feet)! This track takes you along the lower bike park trails and onto Persecution Road ending at the historic Cardrona Hotel for beers and yummy food!
Like Queenstown Bike Park, Cardrona too is accessible via gondola. There are two up-lifts (McDougall’s Chondola and Whitestar Express).
If you’re just starting out or not too experienced then the learner zone right beside the Learner Conveyor is a great place to start before you feel comfortable enough to take on the trails.
Cardrona Bike Park is located at the Cardrona Ski Field about an hour’s drive from Queenstown along the Crown Range Road towards Wanaka. It is actually closer to Wanaka than Queenstown, and as such, is one of the best things to do in Wanaka.
You can also choose from a few different access passes at Cardrona Bike Park including single and multi-day passes. If you need to rent a bike too, they have combined access passes with rental gear too!
3. Lake Hayes Loop Track
Lake Hayes Loop Track is an easy bike trail located only a 20-minute drive from central Queenstown. This trail circles the stunning Lake Hayes – aim to be here just before sunset to see a gorgeous reflection of the surrounding peaks on the lake.
This track can get pretty busy, especially with walkers and joggers, so be careful and ring your bell to alert them of your approach. On a hot day, I highly recommend ending your cycle with a very refreshing swim in the nippy Lake Hayes. Be sure to check signage around the lake, however, as sometimes bacteria levels in the Lake can be high and swimming is not permitted.
This track is 7.9 kilometers long (4.9 miles) total and the most popular access point is from the car park at the Lake Hayes Pavilion or from the North Lake Hayes picnic area. The track is pretty much all flat, besides one uphill climb on the Rutherford Roadside, this part is also quite narrow so beware of approaching walkers or cyclists.
4. Gibbston River Wine Trail
Fancy biking through some of the most epic vineyard scenery in all of New Zealand? I mean, not much sounds better to me than a bike ride on a sunny day through stunning Gibbston Valley and stopping at any vineyard you fancy en-route.
Part of the Queenstown Trail ‘Great Ride’ network, this biking track begins at the Kawarau Bridge – home of the world’s first bungy jump. Watch thrill-seekers jump before you embark on your bike ride.
From here, follow the signs for the Gibbston River Trail. Be sure to stop at Gibbston Valley Winery first, you will have to cross the highway to get there, but it’s a lovely winery with a popular restaurant, cheese shop, New Zealand’s largest wine cave, and gift shop.
Once back on the trail you’ll pass Peregrine Winery – a wine tasting here is highly recommended. Peregrine has won numerous awards for its unusual building design and they’re known as one of the best wineries in Queenstown! Then, carefully cross the highway again to the very cute Gibbston Tavern for a spot of lunch.
The end of the trail is the Gibbston Back Road. From here you can visit Mt Rosa and Brennan Wineries if you want to make a full day of it.
Finally, follow the trail back to Kawarau Bridge and you’ve completed this awesome bike trail in Queenstown!
If you’re not confident about riding the entire trail on your own, consider a shuttle option with pick-up at one of the wineries mentioned above, or a fully guided electric bike tour! Alternatively, you could always just go on a driven wine tour and save your day of cycling for one of the other bike trails in Queenstown (I have to admit, I don’t cycle well after a couple of wine tastings!) Read my blog about the best wine tours in Queenstown for more info.
5. Arrow River Bridges Trail
If you fancy adding on a longer ride to the Gibbston River Wine Trail above, then why not start your ride in historic Arrowtown. I rode this track a couple of times and it’s relatively easy with only a few uphill sections (my least favorite part of biking!)
Arrow River Bridges bike trail takes you west from Arrowtown along the Arrow River, eventually up to the Southern Discoveries Suspension Bridge (which I found a little scary but then again I’m not the biggest fan of heights). After this, you’ll come to Whitechapel country lane – home to the cutest cottages, be sure to take some photos here.
On this track, you’ll also ride across the impressive 80-meter (262 feet) Edgar Suspension Bridge. Stop midway across the bridge to admire the views down the gorge. Then, you will cross SH6 via the Barfoot Tunnel – this part of the trail follows the original gold miner’s road into Queenstown. Pretty cool!
This bike trail ends at Kawarau Bridge but you can of course continue on to Gibbston Valley wine country if you’re after a longer ride. It’s definitely one of the best activities in Arrowtown, one that I’d highly recommend.
6. Tucker Beach Trail
Sixth on the list of bike trails in Queenstown, and one of my favorites, is Tucker Beach Trail. This track is lesser-known to tourists and beloved by locals. Located within the tiny neighborhood of Tucker Beach, 5 minutes from Frankton, you’re less likely to come across many other cyclists and walkers. You’ll likely have this bike trail in Queenstown pretty much to yourself most of the time.
The trail itself starts at the Old Lower Shotover bridge. At the beginning, there’s a gentle uphill climb and then the trail follows along the Shotover River.
There’s a great photo opportunity down the Shotover River trail with Coronet Peak and Old Lower Shotover bridge in the background.
Tucker Beach Wildlife Management Reserve is a little over halfway through and it’s home to a number of rare birds including the Black-fronted Tern and Banded Dotterel. After the car park, you will climb slightly uphill towards Tucker Beach Road – follow this back to the bridge, and voila you’ve completed this 6.7 kilometer-long (4.1 miles) trail!
Fun Fact: Tucker Beach Trail was gifted to the community in October 2018 to mark 75 years of Rotary’s involvement in the area.
7. Jack’s Point Trail
Jack’s Point is a stunning neighborhood nestled at the base of the Remarkables thus, you’re certain to see amazing views in almost every direction on this popular trail!
There’s a trail for everyone at Jack’s Point, with the different trails rated from easy to hard. Most of these trails start at Jack’s Point Clubhouse (well worth stopping for some lunch if you have time.)
Jack’s Point Loop is probably the most popular trail here but beware it is rated hard with a strenuous uphill climb at the beginning. It’s 2.5 hours in total and I promise you it’s well worth stopping at the top of the hill to catch your breath and take in the views. This bike trail has it all – from rocky downhill sections to a few uphills and sweeping corners. It can be narrow in parts so be sure to watch out for other trail users.
An easier track is the Remarkables Loop which takes you around the gorgeous houses in Jack’s Point neighborhood. This track takes about 2 hours total and is very flat.
8. Moke Lake Trail
Moke Lake offers one of the best bike trails in Queenstown in my opinion. The scenery is second-to-none, very Lord of the Rings-esque. Honestly, be sure to take plenty of pictures. The track itself is relatively easy but can be quite steep and narrow in parts, especially just after the wooden bridge at the starting point.
Be sure, to watch out for walkers and other cyclists on the narrow sections – we had to pull our bikes right in against the hillside and dismount a few times when families or larger groups came towards us.
Towards the end, the trail turns into a wooden boardwalk for a little bit as you cross wet marshland. After this, you will cycle the road back to the parking lot. All in, this 6-kilometer-long trail (3.7 miles) should take you about 2 hours.
Like, Lake Hayes – I highly recommend taking a swim at Moke Lake after your bike ride. The water here is calm and tends to be a little warmer than Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, due to it being much smaller in size.
Moke Lake is about a 15-20 minute drive from Queenstown. Follow the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, after about 7 minutes you will see a sign on your right for Moke Lake Road. This road does turn to a gravel road after a few minutes so go slow and keep your distance from the car in front to prevent driving through a dust storm – vehicles kick up a lot of dust on this road.
The drive into Moke Lake is worth the trip alone, you will pass rolling green hills, and depending on the time of the year, you may even spot some lambs. Otherwise watch out for cows, horses, and sheep. Besides cycling, there are lots of other fun things to do at Moke Lake!
Fun Fact: Popular BBC TV series Top of the Lake was filmed at Moke Lake.
9. Bob’s Cove Loop
More popular with walkers than cyclists, due to the flat, wide terrain here – I reckon you could complete Bob’s Cove Loop in well under an hour. This makes it ideal for a quick bike ride when your schedule is otherwise hectic.
To me, Bob’s Cove is the prettiest part of Lake Wakatipu with bright blue, calm waters, and an epic photo opportunity from the pier here.
If you fancy giving your legs a workout, why not cycle up to Picnic Point. Beware, this is very steep and I ended up walking my bike most of the way. The climb is quite rocky so it’s hard for your bike to get enough of a grip to bring you smoothly up. But, I promise the view from the top is worth it. A couple of times we brought a bottle of beer in our backpacks and enjoyed a ‘nice cold one’ while admiring the insane 360-degree views.
FYI – this track connects to the Twelve Mile Delta Track if you fancy a longer day of riding. If you combine the two trails it’s just over 7 kilometers (4.3 miles.)
Bob’s Cove is located about a 15-minute drive from central Queenstown on the road to Glenorchy (just past Wilson’s Bay.) Parking at Bob’s Cove is limited so aim to get there early in the morning or late afternoon.
10. Frankton Track
Frankton Track is an easy flat bike trail that starts next to the Queenstown Gardens and continues all the way out to Frankton Beach. It’s a lengthy 16 kilometers (10 miles) return and takes most cyclists approximately 3 hours. It’s a very busy track with walkers and other cyclists, but it’s wide all the way so no need to worry about pulling in to let people pass.
There are quite a few little beaches and jetties along the way for you to pull off and take a few photos across to Kelvin Heights. You can even stop off for a coffee along the way at The Rees Hotel, or my personal favorite, The Boatshed at Frankton Marina (towards the end of the track). Altitude Brewing is also located here and it’s one of the best craft breweries in Queenstown.
This track is perfect for less confident cyclists or families as it’s easy to ride together considering the wide and flat nature of the track. Riding the Frankton Track is one of the best activities in Queenstown for kids.
11. Fernhill Loop
For mountain bike lovers or those after a little thrill, the Fernhill Loop is perfect. The Fernhill Bike Park is also on this trail, which is a lot of fun! Chocked full of gnarly roots, this track began as a Department of Conservation (DOC) track.
This loop track is located in Fernhill, one of the closest neighborhoods to Queenstown or ‘up that steep hill’ as you may hear a lot of locals say. The Fernhill side climb from the Wynyard Bike Park is a great way to access the McNearlyGnarly jump trail. Fun name right – this trail is beloved by adventure-seeking locals who often hang out here for hours. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people if you’re in town for a while.
The East bike park has an awesome descent that links into Squid Run – this is 100% man-made by the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club. It has everything you need in a mountain bike trail from B-lines to A-lines, roots, and rocks. There are awesome views from the top if you continue past the tree line.
Renting a Bike in Queenstown
If you didn’t come equipped with your own bicycle then you’ll need to rent one in Queenstown. All over Queenstown, there are plenty of adventure shops that rent and sell bicycles and equipment. However during the busy summer months, sometimes the bikes all get rented out. For this reason, it is wise to rent your bicycle in advance.
You can choose between a few different bicycles to rent in Queenstown depending on the trail you plan on riding. You can go for a general trail bike, an electric bike, or even a fancy electric downhill mountain bike!
If you don’t want to book your bike online, you can always just visit one of the bike shops in town such as Vertigo Bikes or Bikeaholic. Both of these shops are locally owned and the staff will help you find the perfect bike and decide on the best bike trail in Queenstown too!
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
While in Queenstown there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy… Honestly, there are so many it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites.
- Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting – This is our personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money, for $204 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
- TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise – This scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown is an activity great for any afternoon. The ship you will be cruising on is the Historic TSS Earnslaw and you will get to watch crew members add coal to the flames that power the vessel. Take in the mountain ranges and lush green valleys of Otago. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Queenstown Canyoning Adventure – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek your way down a part of a Queenstown canyon with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- Day Trip to Milford Sound With Picnic Lunch – This tour will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fjordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a Milford Sound cruise included. This small-group tour goes for $249 NZD a person and I think it’s a really great value for a more personalized experience.
- Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? Jet Boating is one of New Zealand’s most unique activities. On the tour out of Queenstown, you’ll be able to zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust, me it’s epic!
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance. It’s not that you won’t find something later on, but that all the really good places go first!
To get you started, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
The first is for budget travelers and that’s Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget privates and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu! It is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown.
If you have a little more money to spend then you should seriously consider Chalet Queenstown. I’m a supporter of smaller hotels because I feel you get better service. Based on recommendations, I stayed at Chalet Queenstown when I first arrived. It’s a beautiful hotel in a quiet but close location and the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!)
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you know the luxury travelers, then you’re going to be spoiled for choice in Queenstown. I’ve personally stayed at the Hilton Resort and Spa on my anniversary and loved it. If you want an even more luxurious stay, look at Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel has the most beautiful spa overlooking the lake and is definitely one of the best hotels in Queenstown.
There are also lots of amazing Airbnbs in Queenstown as well as bach/holiday homes to rent! You can choose between modern homes, central apartments, cozy cabins, and so much more when staying in an Airbnb.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to book a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
Thanks for reading!
In the Queenstown area, there truly is no shortage of amazing bike trails. Those were 11 of the best bike trails in Queenstown and I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a bike trail for every ability here!
Be sure to browse around My Queenstown Diary. I have tons of information about Queenstown, New Zealand, and nearby towns! Or you can easily click through some of my most popular posts I’ve added down below: