Trail almost ready to roll

2 minutes read
Posted 29 April, 2024
Wharehuanui Trail credit Geoff Marks 10 v2

The Wharehuanui Trail. Photo: Geoff Marks

Queenstown's latest stunning bike trail is set to open on 25 May.

The Wharehuanui Trail winds 13km between Arrowtown and Arthurs Point, through the basin beneath Coronet Peak.

It is the first stage of a $9 million trail which will eventually connect all the way through to Lower Shotover, via a 108m historic tunnel and new 90m Kimiakau suspension bridge across the Shotover River.

"The first stage is almost ready to go," says Queenstown Trails CEO Mark 'Willy' Williams.

"The 25 May is our planned date for opening. We've still got a road safety audit and then hopefully we won't get any really wet spells between now and then which could slow things down a bit.

"It's a beautiful trail, predominately grade two and pretty straightforward for cyclists. It's mostly flat but there are a couple of little pitches, where there are some gradients to overcome. 

"It has been built in such a way that it sets into the existing contours of the land. It does wander around quite a lot, climbing in and out of gullies and up and over little ravines. It's just a really nice flowing, gently meandering trail. We're excited to get it open."

From Millbrook, the trail follows the existing Countryside Trail and heads upstream along Mill Creek, surrounded by restored wetland, before crossing Malaghans Road, up through native Beech forest plantings to connect with the base of Hot Rod and Dan O’Connell Tracks, and the Coronet Loop.

It then continues along the base of Coronet Peak and descends down past the Ben Lomond Lavender Farm, crossing Malaghans Road again, then through farmland to Littles Road and onto a shared path into Arthurs Point.

"We'd just like to give a shout out to the landowners too, because we've had really good support from them along the way, and this thing couldn't have gone ahead without that. We're fortunate that the community really understands the benefits of the trails and what they mean for everyone who lives here."

The opening day will be celebrated with a mass pub-to-pub bike, between Gantley's and the Fork And Tap.

Queenstown Trails have developed over 130km of off-road active transport routes through the Wakatipu Basin over the years and continues to plan and advocate for more. They're used by more than 200,000 people per year.  

The Wharehuanui Trail has been funded through New Zealand Cycle Trail, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), local organisations such as the Central Lakes Trust, and fundraising.

"We've had very good support from local philanthropist donors with some significant donations that have come in recently.

"Next month, it's our annual fundraising campaign, so hopefully all our trail lovers will put their hand in their pockets to support us. The trails have been used by 200,000 people in the past 12 months, so if everyone gave a $1 then we'd hit our annual target for the future development of new trails." 


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