Trail Safety

Before you head out onto the trail, we've highlighted some important pointers to ensure you have a wonderful trip.

Below you'll find information on our trail grades, safety and bike etiquette. 


The Queenstown Trail is an easy to intermediate trail with the option of adding in advanced sections. The following descriptions explain the New Zealand Cycle Trail's grading system for riders. We encourage everyone to know your own limits, and choose a trail that suits the abilities of everyone in your group.

EASY / GRADE 2: Off-road trails are predictable, i.e. no surprises and mostly flat with some gentle climbs. The surface is either firm gravel or sealed (e.g. concrete or asphalt). The trail is wide enough for 2 people to cycle side by side at times and may include sections where cyclists will have to ride single file. 

Suitable For: Beginners, occasional cyclists and families who have limited cycling experience. A multi-geared bike with medium to wide tyres is recommended, such as a comfort bike, touring bike or mountain bike. E-Bikes are also suitable as long as they are ridden appropriately.

Easy Trails Include: Arrow River Bridges Trail, Frankton Track & Kelvin Peninsula Trail, Gibbston River Trail

INTERMEDIATE / GRADE 3: Off-road trails can be narrow and may include hill climbs, steep drop-offs and small river crossings. The trail surface is mostly firm, but may include muddy or loose sections. There may also be obstacles such as rocks or tree roots to avoid. 

Suitable For: Regular, experienced cyclists with a good level of fitness and over 12 years of age. Children should be accompanied by an adult. A mountain bike is recommended for off-road trails. Road racing tyres are not recommended.

Intermediate Trails Include: Countryside Trail, Lake Hayes Trail, Twin Rivers Trail

ADVANCED / GRADE 4: Off-road trails are narrow with steep climbs and unavoidable obstacles. The trail surface includes firm and loose sections, with lots of rocks and tree roots. There will be poor traction in places and some walking may be required. 

Suitable For: Fit and experienced cyclists with good off-road skills, a high level of fitness and over 12 years of age. Children should be accompanied by an adult. A quality mountain bike is recommended for off-road trails. Road racing tyres are not recommended.

Advanced Trails Include: Jack's Point Trail


Riding our trails has an inherent degree of risk, which can be easily reduced through careful planning and good decision making. It doesn't take long to plan. you can read and download the NZ Mountain Safety Council Activity Guide HERE and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you told anyone that you are heading out?

  • How long will the trail take to complete?

  • Is the trail within the limits of everyone in the group?

  • Where will you stop for breaks?How will you ensure you stick together during your trip?

  • What food and clothing will you need?

  • What are the other essentials you should take with you?

What should you take: New Zealand, in particular Queenstown weather is very changeable. Even you set out in the sunshine and there is no rain in the forecast it’s not uncommon to have an isolated shower or even a snow storm. Make sure you take rain protection and extra layers you can put on if it gets cold. Having the right supplies means that you’re more likely to remain warm, comfortable and safe for the duration of your ride.

There are a few other essentials you should have on you for multi day rides:

  • A comfortable backpack. About 30L is the largest you’d want to carry, and you could also look to place gear on your bike with a frame bag or seat pack

  • Food and water – take more than you think you’ll need. Yes there is plenty of places to refill and refuel, however there are some long stretches without to

  • A basic first aid kit with any personal medication you may need.

  • A map of your ride

  • A communication device. There is mobile phone coverage in most parts of the trail but not all

  • A torch or headlamp with batteries

  • A basic survival kit

  • Basic bike maintenance equipment - bike pump / puncture repair kit


Here are a few important pointers to foster positive attitudes between different trail users and remember we are lucky that many local landowners have given us access to their private property.

  • Share the trail with care and use a bell

  • Keep to the left and pass on the right

  • Bikers give way to walkers

  • Stay in control so you can safely avoid other users and keep yourself safe

  • Be patient behind slower riders and pull over where practical to let faster riders pass

  • Keep to the trail, don’t trespass on private land

  • Horses are generally not permitted on the Queenstown Trail, except for approved shared-use sections

  • Dogs to be on a leash at all times

  • Light no fires

  • Report all hazards

  • Keep streams and lakes clean

  • Bury toilet waste

  • Take your rubbish home with you

  • Protect plants and animals




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