The Queenstown Trail is actually a series of linked trails that ramble around the Queenstown basin. They are generally wide, all-weather, smooth and mellow - in the scenic, family-fun, ride-eat-drink-ride style of trail. The basin is surrounded by rugged hills; snow covered in winter, stark and dry in summer, and the lakes and rivers are as blue as the sky.
The 99 km (60 miles) of trail link Queenstown, Kelvin Heights, Lake Hayes, Arrowtown and Gibbston. Along the way there are cafes, restaurants, wineries, pubs, a bungee jump and photo opportunities galore. There are enough Sunday rides here to last a season. Pick up the free map from the information centre or sports shops and plan your rides according to your inclinations. But note that your map only shows places that paid to advertise there!!! There are many other places to eat, drink, and socialise.
Here are a few easy-rider trail suggestions including loops, out-and-backs and shuttles...
Queenstown to Kelvin Heights and back. 34 km return, 4 hours. Stunning lake and mountain views.
Queenstown to the Bungee Bridge and on to the Gibbston wineries and shuttle back. 35 km, 4 hours. Lake, rivers, vineyards, wine tasting, restaurants, and you get to watch idiots jump off a bridge with a rubber band tied around their ankles! Note that there are several wineries etc; not just the two that advertise on your free map!
Queenstown to Arrowtown and shuttle back. 36 km, 4 hours. Lakes, rivers, old bridge, gold mining history, quaint old Arrowtown, and you get to feel morally superior as one of the great unwashed as you bike past the decadent rich at Millbrook! There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Arrowtown - the shopping is interesting too. The trail is steep in a couple of places, but not for long.
Lake Hayes loop, 9 km, 1 hour. This is a great family ride and is spectacularly beautiful in autumn (fall) when the leaves are changing colour. It can be extended by looping down to the Kawarau River, then up the Arrow River to Arrowtown and back through Millbrook. That loop is about 28 km. The local cognoscenti park at Amisfield winery, just off the trail where the Arrowtown road leaves Route 6. After the ride they celebrate with fine wine, a great meal and a game of petanque.
Arrowtown to Gibbston and back including the Bungee Bridge and several wineries, restaurants etc. 35 km, 4 hours. This is a great out-and-back ride that you could make into a loop round Lake Hayes. There are several wine tasting opportunities and good food along the way. You get to cross two stunning swing bridges and the famous Bungee Bridge. This one is my favourite.
Here is the official introduction to "The Queenstown Trail" from the New Zealand Cycle Trail website: http://www.nzcycletrail.com/queenstown-trail.
"The trail meanders through some of New Zealand's most breathtaking scenery, taking in the Gibbston wine area, the historic goldmining town of Arrowtown and the stunning landscapes of Lake Hayes, Frankton and Queenstown. Riders will enjoy discovering hidden ruins, amazing architecture and historic bridges.
"There are plenty of reasons to stop along the way, for a cheeky wine tasting at some of our world-class vineyards, to savour the best food and coffee or to take the plunge with thrilling bungy jump at the Kawarau bridge!"
They have put a video of the trail on YouTube. It's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NOA_vkvJMU