Discover the leafy haven of Arrowtown and you’ll soon realise that this historic four-season destination is pure gold. It’s only a 30-minute bike ride away from Queenstown but it feels like a different world with stunning scenery, clear blue skies, Middle Earth atmosphere and sizzling fat-tyre action.
Arrowtown makes you want to pull on lycra, strap on a helmet, clip into pedals and go full-tilt over 4WD tracks, through rivers, down steep descents and into valleys that are living museums, replete with relics of the gold rush days. Basing yourself in Arrowtown makes good sense as you’ll have direct access to a number of great biking trails. Pick up a trail map from the Lakes District Museum and study it over coffee and home-baked pie in a local cafe.
The perfect first ride is a leisurely cruise along Buckingham Street to get an overview of this town born of gold. The weathered colonial shop fronts, white stone churches and rustic miner’s cottages shaded by ancient oaks and sycamores make it easy to visualise the place in its 1862 heyday.
Arrowtown Anniversary Walk Trail is a 4.2km easy grade loop track along the banks of the Arrow River. The wide gravel path is overhung by majestic willow, sycamore and larch trees. One section was the location for the movie Lord of the Rings set called ‘The Gladden Fields’.
Arrow River Trail is a short easy grade track that begins at the Trails Notice Board in Butlers Green. The trail follows the Arrow Irrigation Pipeline to a footbridge where you can choose to cross over and return via the Macetown Road.
Tobins Track is another easy short track, which leaves from Ford Street on the banks of the Arrow River. The track involves a moderate climb up the slopes of Mt Beetham. The reward is a breathtaking view of the Wakatipu Basin.
Big Hill Trail is a much more ambitious journey in the medium-high fitness grade. From Bush Creek it leads around the flank of German Hill to Eichardt’s Flat. From there an old bridle trail leads up the slopes to Big Hill Saddle and then descends via a poled route to the Macetown Road.
Manse Road to Lake Hayes Trail is an easy grade track starting below Feehly Hill. It skirts the road to Millbrook and links with the Lake Hayes Walkway.
Macetown 4WD Road is a challenging track to follow by virtue of its undulating nature and numerous crossings of the Arrow River. It is primarily a summer cycling route as the river can rise rapidly in heavy rain.
The Queenstown Trail, a 100km cycling route, is scheduled for completion in September 2012. This will link the Gibbston Valley wine region, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, Frankton and Queenstown Bay.
Heli-Biking Adventures on backcountry single tracks that are Mother Nature’s ultimate terrain park can be experienced in the Queenstown region with Fat Tyre Adventures.
Arrowtown Bike Hire has front suspension mountain bikes for hire. The ‘Macetown Mania’ service provides transport to the old gold town site and you ride out.