As you fly into Queenstown it becomes abundantly clear how mountainous and beautiful the terrain is, how epic the views are and how picturesque a location it truly is. Mountains surround the adventure hub, the only flat land seems to be that which the town is built on and the land surrounding the lake and airport. This makes for a mountain biker’s dream location and home to some of the best riding in the Southern Hemisphere…..
Where gravity is home
It seems like there is truly no other type of riding you would rather do than that of the gravity orientated variety when you first arrive in Queenstown. For most riders this is accurate, but for the xc bandits out there; there is an abundance of trails that tailor to this discipline. For the rest of us, gravity is king, Queenstown and its surrounds truly turn it on.
The bike park serves up a decent feed of epic downhill riding with some technical trails, massive jump lines and even a few trails for those looking to progress their skills. You can spend multiple days in the bike park and come out the other end with a wicked smile on your dial, but the best riding is outside the bike park and amongst the mesmerizing scenery.
When you google where to ride in Queenstown, you undoubtedly find reference to the bike park, dream line and then the iconic Rude Rock trail. Rude Rock is an iconic trail that starts at the Coronet Peak Ski Fields and drops down along traversing ridge lines, overlooking The Remarkables and a truly majestic vista as you wind your way through the rolling hills. By and far it was one of the most majestic trail experiences I have ever had the pleasure of undertaking. A flowy trail with a few technical features, this trail surely can be ridden as hard and fast as you want (recommended by this rider!) or slow and smooth as you take in the views. Whatever your hearts desire, Rude Rock is an absolute must-do trail when hitting Queenstown.
Zoot and Skippers Canyon
If you are shuttling Rude Rock, then you must shuttle Zoot. This trail is an absolute blockbuster that leaves you itching to get back to the top to hit it again! A rocky, rutted-out, natural single-track trail that has multiple lines; Zoot is an absolute boost-fest that begs you to open up the brakes and hold on for dear life. The only way to ride Zoot is with the brakes wide open! (click here to watch the video of the first run)
Skippers Canyon is an awesome place and home of gold-panning in the area, to get there on a mountain bike trail, you first have to slam down Rude Rock and take the right turn into ‘Pack, Track and Sack’, follow your nose to the dirt trail at the bottom. Pack, Track and Sack is an exposed grade 5 (black diamond trail) that will have your nuts hanging out and your head dizzy from the heights below. Just make sure you don’t wander off the trail as the drop below may lead to permanent impairment!
The only way to hit these trails in my opinion is to use Queenstown Bike Taxis, the guys were awesome and offer some expert local knowledge that will leave you frothing at the end of the day!
Just the tip of the Iceberg
One thing that becomes abundantly clear when you start riding in the Queenstown area, is that there are just an endless supply of locations to ride your bike. Dirt jumps can be accessed at the Gorge Road jump park, awesome downhill lines at Wynyard and the bike park, great xc trails up and over Coronet Peak and nothing but great gravity runs in the Bike Park. If you are looking to progress your skills then you can head through to the seven-mile trail network, as the name suggests, seven miles out of town; this trail network is has something for everyone.
No matter where you ride in Queenstown, you will only be touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to epic trails. In a town that is bordered by some of the most amazing terrain in the world, you will never get bored and you will always have a hangover. This town parties into the night and wakes late but is truly one of the best places in the world for mountain biking of every variety….
- Don’t travel during Chinese New Year – accommodation will be double the price and the place will be packed.
- Grab a Fergburger, but ring ahead and pick it up to avoid the lines.
- 50c Wings at Fat Badgers between 3-5 (prime after ride feed)
- Take your own bike – rentals are available but the trails demand a bike you ride with confidence, there is no better bike than the steed your regularly ride!
- Gondola and bike park is beset ridden during the week to avoid the crowds.
- Make sure your gear is clean as a whistle – New Zealand Quarantine are extremely strict.
- The team at Torpedo7 were great to us when we were there and always so helpful in the bike shop
- Queenstown Bike Taxis have a massive amount of options and are always willing to tailor to your needs – but book in advance cause they are highly sought after!