Kingston — Walter Peak (4-5 days, 180km)
The Around the Mountains Trail allows cyclists to explore and discover some of New Zealand’s most secluded and rustic settings at a relaxed pace without sacrificing the comforts of home.
Along the way you will be welcomed by charming locals, served mouth-watering meals and told stories about the beautiful places they call home – all part of experiencing real, heartland New Zealand.
Cyclists can follow the route of the Kingston Flyer railway and ride from the historic settlement of Kingston, at the southernmost tip of Lake Wakatipu, alongside the Eyre Mountains, through the towns of Garston, Athol and Lumsden to Mossburn via a wide and smooth trail.
Passing through the heart of Southland, this section of the trail is 85km long and can take two to three days.
The trail from Mossburn to Mavora Lakes follows the Mavora Lakes gravel road, this road is normally very quiet but can get busy during the Christmas and New Year period with tourist traffic driving to Mavora Lakes. There are plans to take this section of trail alongside the stunning Oreti River in the future, but this has not yet been confirmed
QUEENSTOWN: ADVENTURE CAPITAL
Adrenalin junkies will find it hard not to overdose in Queenstown thanks to its astonishing number of heart-pounding adventure activities.
If you’re brave enough, the region’s visual appeal makes skydiving a spectacular experience, or you can hop on board a jet boat and zip down the Shotover River at full speed.
Then there’s the buzz of rafting and canyoning, the exhilaration of paragliding or hang gliding, the thrill of river boarding and river surfing and the family-fun option of riding the Skyline Luge.
This pristine lake with a mountainous backdrop is accessible from Queenstown, Kingston and Walter Peak. Cruising on the TSS Earnslaw, known as ‘Lady of the Lake’, is the best way to take in its splendour.
RIDING THE TRAIL
To start this trail either drive to Kingston or take a 45 minute shuttle ride from Queenstown.
KINGSTON TO ATHOL, (GRADE 1 EASIEST TO GRADE 3 INTERMEDIATE) 31KM
From Kingston the trail rolls past Fairlight Station (the Kingston Flyer Steam Train destination) and on to Garston before stopping for the night at either Athol or Five Rivers.
ATHOL TO LUMSDEN, (GRADE 1 EASIEST TO GRADE 3 INTERMEDIATE) 31KM
From Athol ride through Jollies Pass to Five Rivers where it’s a gentle 15km descent to Lumsden. Here the trail parallels the Oreti River with its picnic spots making it a popular stop for fishers, swimmers and cyclists.
LUMSDEN TO MOSSBURN, (GRADE 1 EASIEST TO GRADE 3 INTERMEDIATE) 19KM
Spend the night in Lumsden or Mossburn. It’s a good idea to buy food for the next section of the trip to Mavora Lakes if you are doing a self-supported ride.
MOSSBURN TO MAVORA LAKES, 50KM (VIA SHUTTLE)
Ride along the Mavora Lakes gravel road and admire the Eyre and Livingstone Mountains as they begin to rise around you. There is also the option of taking a shuttle bus for this section as well.
MAVORA LAKES TO WALTER PEAK, (GRADE 3 INTERMEDIATE) 50KM
From Mavora Lakes a wilderness no-exit road leads through Mt Nicholas Station and alongside Lake Wakatipu to finish the trail at Walter Peak Station. Riders then embark on the TSS Earnslaw steamship to Queenstown. If you don’t wish to cycle to the very end of the trail at Walter Peak you have the option of catching the Spirit of Queenstown cruise from Mt Nicholas to Queenstown. Alternatively you can catch the TSS Earnslaw Steamship from Queenstown to Walter Peak Station, or the Spirit of Queenstown Cruise to Mt Nicholas station and complete the trail in reverse.
To start this trail either drive to Kingston or take a 45-minute shuttle ride from Queenstown.
Getting to Queenstown is easy. The town is well served by domestic flights from New Zealand’s main centres as well as international flights.
The trail’s easy gradient and great local climate make it a good ride all-year-round.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Coverage available from Kingston to Mossburn. No coverage from Mossburn to Walter Peak.
DRINKING WATER: Can be taken from taps in the towns along the way or purchased from shops.