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Southland District Council

Around the Mountains Cycling

Cycle Trail

About The Trail

Queenstown/Southland’s Great Multi Day Cycle Ride

  • This 180 km, 3 -5 day cycle trail, begins and ends in Queenstown and sees you travel through Northern Southland, around the show stopping valleys of the Eyre Mountains and Von Valley, and through secluded back country.
  • The cycle trail is constructed on 56 km of old railway line, 64 km of easy new cycle trail, and 53 km along the wilderness of a no exit road (for cars).
  • The cycle trail was opened to the public in 2014 with funding from Central Government, Ministry of Business Innervation and Employment (MBIE),  the Southland District Council, New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), Lotto and the Southland Community Trust.
  • The cycle trail is open all year around, but mainly ridden in the warmer months between 01 October to 30 April.

Points to note

  • The stunning Mavora Lakes is a prime camping ground all year round for the sandflies. Make sure to carry insect repellent.
  • Cellphone coverage is patchy in areas of the track, with no coverage in the Mavora Lakes area.
  • Occasionally gates are locked along the track for the safety of the agricultural hinterland. To continue forward, simply pop your bike over the gate and carry along with your journey. 
Great Rides App

Once a trail has been downloaded FREE it can work offline:

  • to track your position along the trail using your phone's GPS
  • shows the key stops with weblinks, photos and a description
  • provides information about trails section with elevation profiles
  • identifies bike services to help you along your great ride
  • making a great riding guide with trail information all in one place 

Kingston (Start/ End) - Garston 17 km

Take a shuttle bus or drive 47 kms from Queenstown to Kingston. A small town on the southern edge of Lake Wakatipu, Kingston has a café, a camping ground and a number of B&B lodges.

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.

Garston – Athol 13 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. Looking over the bridge you can often see brown trout swimming around in the pristine, crystal clear waters.

Athol - Five Rivers 18 km

Along this 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!

Five Rivers - Lumsden 17 km

The trail from Five Rivers to Lumsden is slightly downhill and passes 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.

Center Hill – Mavora Lakes 35 km

Cyclists have two options from Center Hill to Mavora Lakes - either get a shuttle bus or ride along the Center Hill Road. As a note of precaution this is a gravel road and can have a lot of traffic during the summer months as well as dusty to ride on at times. If taking the shuttle bus preference, please note you must book in advance and this service only runs between 01 November to 15 April.

Mavora Lakes – Walter Peak 50 km

The trail follows the beautiful, natural tussock valley along Mt Nichols Road. Crossing a ford at the Gorge Burn and crossing the bridge at Black Spur Creek you will arrive at the Southland Otago boundary. The trail then passes the show stopping Von Valley/River through to Mt Nicholas and Walter Peak Stations and onto the Walter Peak Homestead. Mt Nicholas Station was the first station to supply “Ice Breaker" merino wool . At Walter Peak you board the iconic 102 year old vintage steamship the TSS Earnslaw to cruise across Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. 

Outside Sports
9 Shotover Street, Queenstown

Around the Mountains Cycling