Around The Mountains Cycle Trail
Day 1 Queenstown - Kingston to Five Rivers 48km
We leave at 9am from Queenstown and drive 40 km to the quaint little lakeside township of Kingston on the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu.
From Kingston you’ll cycle through gently rolling land past Fairlight Station – The Kingston Flier Steam Train destination( the train is not currently operating ). From Kingston, the trail passes over old formations of a glacier moraine at the foot of the Eyre Mountains and past old stone ruins of the original homestead of the area. The trail then crosses over the Mataura River on a suspension bridge before entering Garston. (17 km)
Garston has reinvented itself with a mobile café called the Air Stream and a honey shop. Garston is also home to two small and attractive historic churches. The cycle trail from here has been constructed on an old disused railway line. The trail crosses the Mataura River along the way where there are two cycle suspension bridges which are 67m and 92m in length. The locals have named them Athol’s Golden Gates. Arriving in Athol l (13 km) looking over the bridge you can often see brown trout swimming around in the pristine, crystal clear waters.
Along the next section of the trail you predominately ride on the old railway line. Encompassing panoramic views of Mid Dome, a prominent Northern Southland mountain, and the surrounding mountains before reaching Five Rivers. Due to the agricultural nature of this section of the ride, at times you may find some of the gates are locked to protect to safety of the animals in the area. The track is certainly still rideable, and if this circumstance arises, another aspect of adventure can be added to the already thrilling trail. Lifting your bike is the only way forward, but what better way to give your legs a break! Finally you arrive in 5 Rivers and the completion of your ride today (18km).
Your accommodation tonight will be in Lumsden in a delightfully restored historic country hotel. Nestled in a picturesque and tranquil basin this small town revels in its role as the crossroads for travellers who choose to venture to this peaceful and restful part of Northern Southland.
Roads journey to Lumsden from all directions of the compass – Queenstown to the north, Gore to the east, Te Anau and Milford Sound to the west and Invercargill to the south.
Day 2 Five Rivers to Oreti River 58 km
This morning you commence your riding for the day at Five Rivers .You ride downhill gently for 15 km to Lumsden passing through rich farm lands and by the banks of the Oreti River, another great river to spot the brown trout sunning themselves. Stopping in Lumsden, enjoy the relics of the steam train era around the old local railway station.
Lumsden – Mossburn 18 km
The cycle trail back tracks from Lumsden along flood banks and over the Lumsden/Mossburn Bridge. This section is 5 km on old railway line and 10 km beside the State Highway and farm paddocks. The trail leads you to Mossburn, which in the 1970’s was named the deer capital of New Zealand.
Mossburn – Center Hill 25 km
As the trail passes through Mossburn it travels between farms and beside the Oreti River. It then meanders along the side of Starvation Creek before coming back to the Oreti River and crosses to Center Hill and The Eyre Mountains Conservation Park on the other side.
From here we drive to Te Anau where we will spend the next 2 nights and relish the warm Southern Hospitality. Sit back, relax and watch the sunset with Fiordland’s mountains creating the most beautiful backdrop.
Day 3 Te Anau
Te Anau township sits on the edge of Lake Te Anau, lying on the border of Fiordland National Park and Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. Te Anau is the town that connects Queenstown to Milford Sound by road. The famously scenic Milford Road begins in the centre of Te Anau.
Lake Te Anau is the largest lake in the South Island and largest in the country by water volume getting to depths of over 400m.The lake sprawls at the feet of high rugged mountains.
Today we visit Te Anau’s Wildlife Park where you can view the rediscovered Takahe a flightless alpine bird, along with other unique native birds such as the Kaka, Tui, Kea and the Parakeet.
We can also journey to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (optional your own cost- approx $80 or you can go biking for the day intead – no cost) – a rare example of a living cave that is still under formation. A beautiful cruise across the lake drops you off at The Grotto where a short walk and boat ride along water from a fresh water spring takes you deep into the (young) 15,000 year old cave, lit by thousands of tiny bioluminescent insects.
There will also be some time for biking if this is your choice for the day. Tonight you stay again in Te Anau.
Day 4 Te Anau - Mavora Lakes to Walter Peak - Queenstown 30 km
Today we travel by vehicle through to the Mavora Lakes Park. The North and South Mavora Lakes are located in an impressive landscape of mountains, forest and tussock grassland and recognised as part of the Te Wāhipounamu/ South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The area is also home to multiple Lord of the Rings film locations.
Along today’s ride Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Chamois and Himalayan Tahr can be spotted on the slopes of Mt Nicholas, providing an extraordinary environment to cycle through. The picturesque Von River also runs across the station providing some stunning photographic opportunities.
Mt Nicholas Station is a New Zealand family owned, fully operational High Country Sheep Station. At over 100,000 acres, Mt. Nicholas is the largest station on the lake. The 27,000 merino sheep produce some of the world’s finest quality wool fibre, the majority of which is used in the production of the iconic “Icebreaker” range of high quality, natural fiber garments. The Station lies at the foot of the Southern Alps, with Fiordland National Park to the west and the spectacular, clear waters of Lake Wakatipu immediately to the east.
For the final afternoon of your Around The Mountains cycle experience you ride along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to finish the trail at Walter Peak Station. Here you can have a wine (or beer) to celebrate a successful ride before boarding the TSS Earnslaw Steamship from Walter Peak to downtown Queenstown where you stay overnight either in Queenstown or Arrowtown.