The Best Mountain Bike Trails in Queenstown
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand.
So it comes as no surprise that it is also one of the epicentres of New Zealand mountain biking.
The area surrounding Queenstown is an amazing place to explore on two wheels, owing to both its epic terrain and scenery.
Regardless of whether you are a cross country or downhill rider, there is so much on offer here. Spend a day, a week, or a month. No matter how long you spend exploring Queenstown’s mountain bike trails, you’ll be grinning hard right up until your last ride.
In this blog post, we describe six of our favourite mountain biking locations in and around Queenstown.
1. Queenstown Bike Park
Queenstown Bike Park – serviced by the renowned Skyline Gondola – is New Zealand’s first gondola assisted bike park. Convenience is the winning formula here. The base of the Skyline Gondola is only several minutes walk from central Queenstown. From there, the 450-metre elevation gain provides access to over 30km of downhill terrain. World-class mountain biking doesn’t get much more accessible than this!
The Queenstown Bike Park encompasses 30+ downhill trails ranging from easy to expert, so there is something here for every rider. Everything from single-run to multi-day passes are available for purchase. At the time of writing (25/12/18) a day pass will set you back $100 for an adult and $65 for a child. However, multi-day passes provide significant cost savings.
Note that there is an additional network of trails above the main bike park. If you want to access these, then use the gondola to get most of the way up the hill and then pedal the rest of the way!
Note that there is no bike rental store at the base of the gondola, so be sure to arrange your bike rental before heading up to the park.
2. Cardrona Bike Park
With over 25km of downhill trails, two lifts running in peak season, shuttles servicing the lower mountain, on-site bike rental, and a bike school… Cardrona has everything you need for an epic day out!
Standard operating hours during the regular season have the lifts running until 4pm. In the peak season (Dec 26 – Feb 10) things get even wilder, with extended hours until 6pm. Not to mention late night lift operations on Fridays through the entire season, when you can ride until 8pm! So you’ll have plenty of time to explore one of the most extensive downhill trail networks in the South Island.
Don’t miss out on the epic 10km long “Peak to Pub” trail – with 1270 metres of vertical descent – leading you to the Cardrona Hotel at the base of the mountain, where you can finish your day with a cold brew. If you are keen to get in some mountain biking in Queenstown then a day at Cardrona should definitely be on your hit list.
3. Coronet Peak Bike Park & Skippers Canyon
With an expanding network of trails, Coronet Peak is rapidly gaining popularity amongst Queenstown’s mountain biking community. However, lift access has permanently ceased at Coronet Peak, so your only option for up-lift here is going to be pedalling or arranging a shuttle. We suggest the latter!
There are currently 7 trails, ranging from cross country to downhill.
If you like pedalling, then the Coronet Peak XC trail takes you from the Coronet Peak Ski Area base building to the peak of the mountain. From there you are rewarded with a flowy singletrack descent, which can lead on to the Corotown/Slip Saddle Trail (an expert only downhill trail with extremely steep descents taking you all the way to Arrowtown) or you can head down the popular Rude Rock downhill trail. From the bottom of Rude Rock continue onto the new Coronet Face Water Race Trail (a new cross country traverse along the face of Coronet Peak which links onto Bush Creek Trail and into Arrowtown).
If you are into downhill, then consider shuttling Rude Rock, Pack Track & Sack, Zoot Track, and the Skippers Pack Track. These four trails can be combined to form an epic half-day or full day out. Rude Rock is a 7 kilometre flowy downhill trail built to follow the contours of the mountain. Starting at the base of the Coronet Peak Ski Area, Rude Rock is perfect for shuttle access. It finishes near the junction with Skippers Road, meaning you can combine it with the popular Zoot Track, or head out towards Skipper Canyon.
Note that the downhill terrain here can get pretty gnarly – especially when ridden at speed! – and services are limited, so be sure to head in prepared with all you need for a safe and enjoyable day out.
4. Seven Mile Bike Park
Located seven miles outside of Queenstown, along Glenorchy Road, the 7 Mile Bike Park has plenty to offer the intermediate to advanced rider. This park is full of variety… with berms, jumps, rock rolls, log rides, bridges and more.
The trails here are mainly cross country and accessed via a hub network. Pedal in from Wilson’s Bay Carpark to one of the three central hubs – The Hub, Eagles Nest, or the Dream Arena – and then link together various loops to make a long ride.
This is a well-maintained network of trails cared for by the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club . There is plenty of fun singletrack and an abundance of features. Note that any of the harder features can easily be rolled or avoided altogether via alternative B-lines. Look out for the new skills zone scheduled to be built in the near future.
5. Wynyard Downhill Trail and Jump Park
Another super-central downhill trail in Queenstown, the Wynyard DH Trail is only a few minutes pedal from central Queenstown. Located just across the creek from the Queenstown Bike Park (i.e. the Skyline Gondola), the Wynyard is a classic amongst locals. This 1.3km trail is rated expert (single black) and consists predominantly of big flowy berms. However, you will also encounter a few steeper sections and several smaller features. The Wynyard can be ridden as hard and fast as your heart desires.
About half way down the Wynyard, you have the option of dropping into the Mini-Dream Jump Park. This is a favourite location for the local top guns to show off some big moves. The jump park has a number of big features, but also some smaller B-lines for those who are not yet ready to get super gnarly.
The Wynyard DH Trail is accessed from the top of Wynyard Crescent, about a 5-minute shuttle from the bottom of the trail. If you and your mates plan to rent a shuttle for a full day, then the Wynyard DH is the perfect place to spend an hour or two grabbing a few laps. Consider combining it with the Remarkables DH Trail (described below), or even Coronet Peak & Skippers Canyon.
6. Remarkables Downhill Trail
If you are into dry rough downhill terrain, then this is your territory! With plenty of rocks and ruts, the Remarkables DH Trail requires full suspension and a desire to hold on tight. This is a hard and fast downhill trail that receives little maintenance – which is half its attraction!
The Remarkables DH Trail is only accessible by shuttle, being a short drive partway up the access road for the Remarkables Ski Area. If this type of classic downhill trail is what you are looking for, then consider booking a half or full day shuttle and take in both the Remarkables and Wynyard downhill trails.
Getting there and getting around
Several of the locations described here – Coronet Peak & Skippers Canyon, Remarkables DH, and Wynyard DH – are best accessed by shuttle. If you require shuttle transport then be sure to give us a call.
Our shuttles are by exclusive hire with space for up to 9 riders and 12 bikes. We can offer one-way, half-day or full day rates.
Depending on your preferences and riding style, we can combine several locations to make an epic day out!
About the author
Sam Brilleman is a passionate enthusiast for all things related to adventure and the outdoors. Since departing his homeland of New Zealand in 2007, he has been exploring some of the world’s most dramatic mountain ranges, dense bushlands, and stunning coastlines. He is founder and chief operator at Ultimate Gear Lists, where he collates advice on outdoor gear and some of the most epic hiking destinations around the globe.