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Queenstown Trail, Queenstown Overview

There is nothing better than exploring the beautiful countryside of New Zealand on one of the world’s most beautiful and popular walking and cycling trails – the Queenstown Trail. This 130 kilometre long trail goes around in loops and connects the popular destinations of Queenstown, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, Arrow River, and Gibbston.

It provides the most spectacular of views, which are not accessible by cars or other vehicles. It is very popular among locals and fitness enthusiasts, as it is wide enough for 2 bicycles, and has shorter loops which you can cover on a casual evening walk.

It was opened in 2012, but some parts of it had been in use a few years before that. The trails are mostly accessible throughout the year, but sometimes get slippery and dangerous during the rain. They can be used by cyclists of all levels, and the terrain is mostly easy to intermediate. It also traverses through two mighty suspension bridges, which offer breath taking views of the valleys and gorges. 

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Things to Do

  • Walking / Running– This is a great trail to get back to fitness, as it is not too rough a terrain. It also has gentle slopes and great views, which will motivate you to push yourself further! It is also frequented by the retired locals, and is hence considerably safe.
  • Cycling – There is no better way to explore most of the trail than hiring your own bicycle and riding along the gentle slopes! Cycles are available for hire from the towns, cities, and places along the trail, such as Arrowtown, Queenstown, Lake Hayes etc.

Route

If you don’t want to cover the entire 130 kilometres, there are several shorter parts that you can cover. They are:
  • Queenstown Bay to Kelvin Heights
  • Kelvin Heights to Jack’s Point
  • Queenstown Bay to Arrowtown
  • Lake Hayes circuit
  • Twin Rivers ride
  • Arrow River bridges ride
  • Gibbston River trail 

Tips

  • Since the weather can be a little unpredictable, come well prepared with a raincoat and a few extra layers to put on if it gets cold.
  • Make sure you’re carrying enough supplies, such as water, glucose and high enercy snacks in case you need to make a stop somewhere. 
  • Carry a bike repair kit, first aid kit and a map of your route no matter what.
  • If you’re walking your dog, make sure they’re on a leash at all times. 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to explore the Queenstown Trail is during the summer months, from December to February. The temperature isn’t too high or low, and the rainfall is low. The months of spring are also comfortable, if you want to avoid the summer crowd.

The autumn season, from March to May, is highly unpredictable and best avoided. The month of October experiences the highest level of rainfall, and the trail gets wet and dangerous, and hence not recommended. 

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