Queenstown Ride Guide Summer 2021
Part 1 - Rentals, Gear, Web Sites, Bike Transfers and More
Mountain Biking in Queenstown continues to grow from strength to strength. There are the most insanely awesome, fun and in some instances, challenging trails right from your doorstep - anywhere in Queenstown! This article is about the ‘how’ and the ‘help’ aspect of gearing up for a ride down south. The next article will focus more on the actual trails, but the following are a number of super useful links to get you started!
As mentioned, Mountain biking in Queenstown is awesome for all levels, from novice to expert! Distances and start points vary but the cool thing about the Queenstown surroundings 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.
If you are staying with us at Spinnaker Bay Apartments, then pop down to our reception area and our friendly staff can help you directly. Nothing is better than a friendly face and helpful guide!
If however, you’re doing research online, then here are our recommendations for great websites to get you started: Queenstown Tourism, Queenstown Mountain Bike, QLDC, the Queenstown Trails Trust, and NewZealand Tourism. All 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: Queenstown Bike Taxis, 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 surroundings then you’re best grabbing a bus GoCard for $5, and topping it up to $10 and then it's 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 - a 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.
We absolutely recommend you consider taking a well thought out bike tour with knowledgeable guides in and around the basin. Operators here work to strict health and safety regulations and are trained and passionate locals who ride these routes daily and can best suggest a tour for your level and experience.
Over the last 10 years, there sure has been an explosion of operators, offering hardcore heli-biking to the pedal pushing vineyard tours. If you don’t want to get out there and do it on your own then hopefully this guide can help hook you up with an experience more suitable to your riding level, experience and desires.
These are our local operators in a nutshell:
A family run business of long term locals connecting you with their beloved outdoors and sharing their backyard playground! This gives you local riders with inside riding knowledge! Offering bespoke tours, including enduro weekends, single track or downhill attacks, backcountry and bike-packing expeditions, or riding to a beer... these guys can tailor anything and everything to suite your desires!
Fork and Pedal – Eat, Drink and Explore
With a tag line of ‘Small Groups, Boutique Wineries & Authentic Experiences’ - 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
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 Pinot 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.
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 every day 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.
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!
(Originally published in 2018, and updated in 2021)
(photo Credits NZ Cycle Trails & The Inside Line