There is now more choice than ever when it comes to riding your bike in Queenstown, even for families with the youngest of riders. Here’s our round up of the best trails to ride with your little ones:
1. Queenstown Gardens to Frankton Marina Return
This is a mostly flat and wide, easy trail, 12km return with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view or fossick by the many lakeside beaches on route. Starting at the Queenstown Gardens, you’ll need to tempt the kids away from the epic lakefront playground first with offers of a fluffy and cake. To start, follow the trail around the Queenstown Gardens and enjoy the stunning views around the bay, across the lake to Cecil and Walter Peak and to the Kelvin Peninsula. The trail comes out onto Park Street; from here it’s just a short ride to the road end where the Frankton Track starts. Follow this trail all the way to the Frankton Marina, where you’ll find a fab lakeside café, the historic Boatshed and Altitude Brewing, a craft brewery bar. Take a break and enjoy the views before you retrace your tire tracks back to the Queenstown Gardens.
TIP: To shorten the return ride, park at the trail head at the end of Park St.
2. Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail
This easy loop of 2.5kms is ideal for families. The trail takes you around the edges of the Kelvin Heights Golf Course and rewards with impressive views, hidden beach coves and a series of extraordinary art pieces generously gifted by an anonymous benefactor. Begin the loop at the Kelvin Grove beach and head anti-clockwise. Set the kids off on the challenge to spot the 4 sculptures, two are easy to spot, two are not! Bring a picnic and enjoy lunch by the beach or head on up to the Queenstown Golf Club café for great fish and chips. For more info on this trail and the sculptures go HERE.
TIP: This trail is a great option on a hot day as the forest cover gives some respite from the sun. There is also a playground and toilet by the Kelvin Grove beach.
3. Tuckers Beach Trail
Our newest trail brought to life by the wonderful Queenstown Rotary Club, it’s not officially part of the Queenstown Trail network yet, but we hope it will be in the future. Starting at the Historic Old Lower Shotover Bridge, the trail gently climbs up over the Arrow irrigation pipeline, following a high terrace along the true right of the Shotover River. This ride gives you great views of both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables and skirts around bluffs before dropping back towards the Tuckers Beach Wildlife Management Reserve, home to a number of rare birds including the Banded Dotterel and Black-fronted Tern (please take note of the DoC signage regarding the birds). As the trail reaches the DoC carpark, a short but steep climb leads up to Tuckers Beach Road which will take you back to the old bridge or turn around and go the way you came. This trail is 3.5km one way or 7km return.
TIP: Cross the old bridge and take the trail under the bridge down to the beach post ride for some fantastic rock fossicking.
4. Arrowtown Millennium Trail
Due to its proximity to Arrowtown and its ease, this short, easy trail has become one of the busiest sections of the Queenstown Trail, however please do not don’t let this put you off, it’s simply stunning. The Arrow River is a river of many moods, sometimes tranquil, often rushing over rocks and bluffs, then widening to mellow pools. There are no shortages of places to stop and take a moment to enjoy your surroundings. You’ll find bridges to ride over, plenty of swimming holes, the odd swing and don’t forget to grab a gold pan for hours of endless fun. Trail distance is 3.25kms, so easily done in less than an hour.
TIP: Refuel post ride at Patagonia Ice Cream on Ramshaw Lane and be sure to check out the bike/skate park and pump track (by the river opposite Patagonia Ice Cream).
5. Lake Hayes
This 8km trail is an intermediate level ride, with a few climbs and steep drop offs, perhaps more suited to an older child. This trail is a short scenic circuit and on a still day the lake produces the most incredible reflections of the mountains surrounding it. Starting at the Rutherford Road end of the trail, there's a gradual climb to an elevated bench high above the lake where the trail meanders along the contours of the hill before dropping down to the southern boardwalk section of trail. Be sure to look out for wild gooseberries and other fruit trees along the way. Then cruise around past the Wakatipu Rowing Club (you'll find a DoC longdrop here) onto Bendemeer Bay and the Lake Hayes Reserve - the perfect picnic spot and more toilets. If you'd like to take a plunge, Lake Hayes is a popular swimming spot during the summer months as it’s significantly warmer than the other lakes in the district.
TIP: Millbrook Resort is a short ride away; here you’ll find a great café and playground.
If you'd prefer to hire a bike trailer or seat for you child, most of our rental partners can help HERE
All of these trails and more can be found in our Maps & Section HERE
If you love our trails and want to help us build more, please consider becoming a Friend of the Trust HERE
If you've cycled or walked any part of the Queenstown Trail in the last 12 months please take 5 to complete our trail survey HERE