ALL PEDAL POWER TO THE PEOPLE 800 533 The Flyer Magazine




There’s been a huge increase in bikers taking to local Queenstown Trails Trust mountain biking trails this year, since locals took to their bikes in their droves during lockdown in autumn.

Queenstown Trails Trust executive officer Lou Vicente says while the emphasis has shifted from the usual half-day routes that normally attract international visitors out sightseeing, rider numbers on many local trails are up by 15 percent compared with last year. Increasing numbers of Kiwis from around the country are arriving in Queenstown for multi-day holiday rides which is great for the local tourism spend too, says Lou.

“Cycle tourists spend more than the standard visitor and tread gently on the environment,” she says. “They eat at nice restaurants and stay in nice hotels, longer than many other visitors.”

Economic impact research in 2017 showed that Queenstown trails brought in $140 million a year in associated revenue.

The Trails Trust is now set on making the current New Zealand Great Ride even greater. Resource consent has just been submitted for a trail extension from Tucker Beach to Arrowtown via Arthur’s Point, including a new 80-metre suspension bridge over the Shotover River and passing through a 100-metre long historic mining tunnel. Submissions are now open for public consultation and the trust would like to encourage support for this new trail that could begin construction as early as the end of next year (2021).

Plans to connect the Queenstown trail to Central Otago trails by the Central Otago-Queenstown Trail Network Trust are also progressing quickly with the new Lake Dunstan Trail section due to open in late January (2021). This new system will connect Clyde with Bannockburn, and then Cromwell with Queenstown via the Kawarau Gorge.

Eventually this trail system will link through to Wanaka and on to Dunedin.

In another new plus for local biking fans the Hot Rod recreation trail opened recently, running from near the Skippers turn-off up Coronet Peak down to Malaghans Road on the valley floor. This is a recreational flow trail suitable for any intermediate level bikers, including families, and connects with the Coronet Faces Water Race Trail, which is the first part of the grand new 56km Coronet Loop backcountry trail.

“It’s so exciting to see really strong growth with so many locals out using the trails,” says Lou. “The first week of lockdown usage on our trails was up 250 percent and overall for that four weeks this year our numbers increased by about 30 percent.”