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Vertigo

LOCAL WISDOM

Advice on coming to Queenstown to ride

If you’re planning on spending a bit of time in Queenstown, it is worth joining the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club as you will be supporting a great cause and it will get you some great benefits around town.  Vertigo offers 10% discount on parts, accessories and workshop labour in our shop to all members.

If you are bringing your own bike it is a hard choice between whether to bring a DH bike or a trail (#enduro) bike.  Us Vertigo boys ride 99% of the trails here on our trail bikes (Giant Reign) and find that you will see a lot more of the riding Queenstown has to offer if you bring one of these style bikes.   But if you just want to cut laps on the Gondola for a week then your DH bike should be the one you pack for sure!

So many cool trails to ride in the Wakatipu Region, it’s almost mind blowing – and also a little confusing!   So many directions to go, full on adventures or maybe a leisurely family cycle to a lakeside picnic spot or a local swimming hole?  

Here’s a quite a few of our top picks, plus all the Queenstown Trail info, and how to get there:

We have listed some of the top rides in the Wakatipu Basin for you to check out, there is something for everyone.

DOWNHILL RIDING

Unless you have been living under a rock you will know that Queenstown became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have a gondola-accessed mountain bike park.  Skyline Gondola in the centre of Queenstown has opened its doors to mountain bikers, giving us access to the awesome downhill mountain bike trails in the Ben Lomond Forest.  There are a wide variety of tracks to cater for all abilities of downhill rider.  It’s good to know that their are no beginner trails on the hill, even the green trails require low-intermediate mtb skills to ride them safely.  If unsure give us a call or chat to us in the shop, we can give you a run down and show you videos of the trails if you are unsure.

There are also other DH tracks in the area, which are easy to shuttle if you have a vehicle, or we can help you with that.  We have the awesome Wynyard Express DH track in town and also the fast and flowy trails on Coronet Peak-  Rude Rock, Zoot track and Skippers Canyon! Vertigo would recommend a Giant Glory if riding any of these DH trails for maximum grin factor!

TRAIL/ENDURO RIDING

Trail riding is on the up, with areas like “7 Mile” offering people who are looking to go for a pedal and get out of town a great option.  The area has a mix of technical singletrack to fast flowy man-made trails.  There are about a dozen different loops to choose from and it is worth buying a MTB club map if it is your first time here, as it can seem a bit of a maze!

If you are an advanced rider with good fitness then you have to check out the trails above the gondola.  Follow the “Beeched As” climb to access either the Missing Link trail from Ben Lomond saddle or just follow the climb to the Kelly McGarry memorial bench at the top of Fernhill Loop and hit up the infamous Salmon Run trail.  One of the most technical trails in Queenstown.

Another classic Queenstown ride, and a locals’ favorite is the Moke Lake Circuit.  This is a nice cross country ride with plenty of climbing in it, and has a genuine New Zealand backcountry feel to it.  High country farmland, beautiful mountain lakes, singletrack, 4wd roads, sheep and cows, what more could you ask for!  The loop is a half-day ride, and you can venture into 7 Mile on the way back for a play also (if you have any energy left!)

For both of these rides Vertigo would recommend a nice full suspension bike, like a Giant Reign especially for 7 Mile, making the ride much more enjoyable.  Go on, treat yourself! Smile

7 MILE BIKE PARK

Time: 1-5 hours (15km return from town)
Start/Finish: Car park opposite Gold Digger Trail or Wilson Bay on Glenorchy Road
Technical grade: Intermediate/advanced
Fitness grade:  Good (lots of climbing)
Recommended Bike: Enduro (eg Giant Reign)
Terrain: A mix of technical hand cut single track and machine built fast & flowy tracks with berms and jumps
Stars: Three / Five

The local’s pick for some good fitness based riding where you need to power your way around and up the climbs. Rewarding riding for such a small area and an abundance of trails. Built by the MTB club all trails are directional & clearly marked.

Highlights:
– A real MTB gem, purpose built trails (maintained by the local MTB Club)
– “Cool Runnings” – Beginner park riders looking to improve their skills
– “Kachoong” – jumps, obstacles, speed 4 adrenaline junkies.

SKYLINE ACCESS ROAD

Time: 1 hour (4km one way)
Start: Lomond Crescent
Technical grade: Intermediate
Fitness grade: Good
Terrain: 4WD road
Recommended Bike: Enduro (eg Giant Reign)
Stars: Three / Five

If you enjoy pain, this is a classic climb taking you to the top of the Skyline Gondola and also the start of all the trails in the Queenstown Bike Park. It is also the recommended way to access the awesome “Beeched As” trail which takes you to the outstanding Salmon Run trail. The record stands at 17 mins for the climb, give it your best shot!

Salmon Run

Time: 2-3 hours (10km return)
Start: Beeched as climb via Skyline access road or top of Gondola
Technical grade: Advanced
Grade: Good fitness and high technical skills
Recommended bike: Enduro  (eg Giant Reign)
Terrain: Lush Beech forest single track littered with steeps, exposure and plenty of rocks & roots – a local’s favourite.
Stars: Five / Five

A ride that gets you way from town and man-made bike park tracks. A tough climb to start, but the ride down is a worthwhile reward.  Follow the Beeched as climb from the top of the Skyline Gondola through some stunning beech forest until you get to the Kelly McGarry memorial bench.  Once there make sure your seat post is slammed and your feeling fully on it! This is a trail like no other in Queenstown, a trail of two halves. Starting in some steep exposed beech forest riding, then heading into a river gully with endless rock gardens and slimy roots which will test the skill of any rider! Not one to ride by yourself!

GOLD DIGGER

Time: 1-2 hours (18km return from town)
Start: Town/Moke Lake Road
Technical grade: Intermediate
Fitness grade: Good
Recommended bike: XC/AM (eg Giant Anthem/Trance)
Terrain: A two-way, fast flowing hand cut single track with a few rocks and roots thrown in for good measure.
Stars: Five / Five

Another must, and a great tag-on ride if you are riding in the 7 mile Bike Park. Hand cut, native forest single track with a perfect gradient to climb or descend. Also a good way to start the Moke Lake/Lake Dispute Loop, rather than climbing Moke Lake Road.

PHOENIX

Time: 15 mins (one way from Lake Dispute Track)
Start/Finish: Lake Dispute Track / Wilsons Bay
Technical grade: Intermediate
Fitness grade: Good
Recommended Bike: XC/Hardtail (Giant Talon/Anthem)
Terrain: Purpose built single track, fast and flowy
Stars: Three / Five

This is a great little additional to the Moke Lake/Lake Dispute Track. Once past Lake Dispute, follow the trail until you see the signs for “Phoenix” on the left. Follow this flowy traverse with outstanding views until a great fun little descent which brings you out at Wilson Bay and the start of the 7 Mile Bike Park.

CORONET PEAK TRAILS

Time: 3-6 hours (Min 10km from Coronet Base building)
Start/Finish: Coronet Peak Ski Field
Technical grade: Intermediate/Advanced
Fitness grade: Good
Recommended Bike: AM (eg Giant Trance/Reign)
Terrain: Alpine single track
Stars: Five / Five

There are a few options here now to wet your appetite. Ask us in store about the different tracks and ways to link them up. A local’s favourite is to park at the bottom of Zoot Track, ride to the top of Coronet Peak via the Coronet Enduro Track, then back down to “Rude Rock”, onto “Pack, Sack & Crack” and climb back onto “Skippers Pack Trail” and climb back out the Skippers Road finishing up with a flat out blast down “Zoot Track” back to the car. This gives you over 1000m of vertical descending of the highest quality!

MOKE LAKE / LAKE DISPUTE

Time: 4-5 hours (30km return from town – shuttle options)
Start/Finish: Queenstown
Technical grade: Intermediate
Fitness grade: Good (a few hills on the way)
Recommended Bike: Enduro (eg Giant Reign)
Terrain: A mix of road, 4WD road and high country single track.
Stars: Four / Five

This classic ride gets you out of town & into the mountains. Follow the Glenorchy Rd for 6km & turn right onto Moke Lake Road (or climb the Gold Digger Trail). Follow the obvious loop around Moke Lake itself & follow the signs to Lake Dispute. From here you will end up on the Glenorchy Rd & follow it back to town, or take the Phoenix Trail and end up at Wilson Bay. From here follow the road back to town or go through the 7 Mile Bike Park.

Highlights:
– Our transport cuts out a reasonably long hard climb up to Moke Lake Saddle, approx 10kms from QT
– Moke Lake Road to Lake Dispute is 10kms
– Breathtaking scenery, chilly but refreshing swimming, exploring gold mining relics
– Great back country  mountain biking
– Option to drop into 7-Mile Bike Park on the way back

 

SCENIC CRUISE

If you are just after a scenic cruise, we have the spectacular Frankton Arm trail which follows the lake edge from the centre of Queenstown to Kelvin Heights Peninsula, and then further to Jacks Point if you are up for a 50km return ride.  The trail has a few cafes and restaurants on the way, notably at the Hilton Hotel and Kawarau Village, which is a great spot to stop for lunch.

STATION 2 STATION

This is a fabulous ride for everyone, especially novice riders.  Take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm on board the Spirit of Queenstown to the start of the Station 2 Station Cycle Trail. The gentle 12 km (1 hour) ride takes in views of the Southern Alps, Glenorchy and The Remarkables. Once you reach Walter Peak your return to Queenstown is on the famous TSS Earnslaw.  $139 adults & $89 children.  You can also add-on a buffet lunch option at Walter Peak. Call us in the shop for bookings on this one. (03) 442 8378. We would recommend a Giant Talon front suspension bike for riding this trail!

For more info on any of these rides and more, give us a call, or pop into the shop Smile

 

If you see this symbol next to a ride it means it’s part of the Official New Zealand Cycle Trail, all of which are of a confirmed calibre / quality

ARROWTOWN – QUEENSTOWN

Most fun for: All abilities
Fitness Rating: Moderate
Distance: 34km (without Lake Hayes Loop)

This ride can also be broken down into sections so you can plan different rides on different days, for those wanting less time each day in the saddle!

Highlights:
– Drop off in the beautiful little historic gold mining town – great shopping, museum, coffee spots.
– Purpose built sections join a network of existing roads, with gorgeous uninterrupted views.
– Drop into the Lake Hayes Loop for an extra 11kms and maybe a quick swim.

ARROWTOWN RIVER BRIDGE TO GIBBSTON VALLEY

Most fun for: All abilities, picnickers, families
Fitness Rating: Moderate
Distance: 30km return

Highlights:
– Picnic spots and photo opportunities
– Riding over the Kawarau (Bungy) Suspension Bridge (20km return)
– Gibbston Valley vineyards & tasting rooms

JACK’S POINT

Time: 4-5 hours (45km return)
Start/Finish:  Queenstown Gardens (or one way shuttle)
Technical grade: Intermediate
Fitness grade: Good
Recommended Bike: Hardtail (eg Giant Talon)
Terrain: Purpose built gravel walking/cycling track
Stars: Three / Five

A great way to spend a full day, or a fast paced half day ride. Carry on from Kelvin Heights Golf Course through Jardine’s Park, following the lake edge trail to Jacks Point – the Club House is a great spot for a bite or a coffee!

Highlights:
– One of the most popular all abilities rides in the Wakatipu
– Jacks Point Club House – great casual lunches (very popular but you can book a table)
– Mixture of undulating purpose-built single and double track

THE LAKE HAYES LOOP

Most fun for: All abilities, families, picnickers
Fitness Rating: Basic
Distance: 1 hour +

Highlights:
– Cruisy riding
– Mountain, Lake & interesting real estate panoramas
– Great picnic & swimming spots

THE COUNTRYSIDE RIDE – ARROWTOWN TO SHOTOVER BRIDGE RETURN

Most fun for: All abilities, families (long hill on Arrowtown return approx 10 mins to walk)
Fitness Rating: Moderate
Distance: 30km Return Via Millbrook and Slopehill Road

Highlights:
– Rural byways peppered with Artist Galleries, farm animals & some amazing houses
– Great stand alone ride, or linked with other Queenstown Trail sections to make a loop

TWIN RIVERS RIDE – KAWARAU FALLS BRIDGE TO MORVEN FERRY ROAD

Most fun for: Intermediate Riders
Fitness Rating: Moderate
Distance: 60km Return

One of the more remote trails, along the banks of the Kawarau River. Some quite steep unrelenting climbs but majestic views

FRANKTON ARM / KELVIN HEIGHTS

Time: 3-4 hours (30km return trip)
Start/Finish: Queenstown Gardens
Technical grade: Beginner
Fitness grade:  Average
Recommended bike: Hardtail (eg Giant Talon)
Terrain: Easy going purpose-built cycling/walking track
Stars: Three / Five

This is the most popular ride in town for recreational cyclists. It’s an easy going route following the lake edge around Frankton Arm to the Kelvin Heights Golf Course, with the option to go further to Jacks Point. There are a few nice cafes on the way. Very easy cruising on a nice wide track from the Queenstown Gardens to Frankton, and as far as you want towards Kelvin Heights Peninsula and onto Jacks Point. Superb way to view the lake and the lakeside real estate

 

 

Official New Zealand Cycle Trail Ride

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