The Queenstown Bike Park is a series of well-maintained flowing downhill and freeride mountain bike trails, accessed via the Skyline Gondola.
The variety of trails is decent, with something for all level of mountain biker available. The long, easy grade two trail (marked as green) known as Hammy’s is suitable for anyone comfortable on a bike, although still fun for more experienced riders with a bit of speed. There’s a selection of flowing intermediate trails (grade 3 and 4, marked as blue) such as Vertigo and Original.
For the advanced riders and experts out there, Queenstown Bike Park offers a pleasing number of grade 5 trails (marked as black) like Thingymajig and Rock Garden, as well as some serious grade 6 trails, like Ant’s Track, Hobbit and Grundy. The most challenging trail in the whole park is World Cup, which is setup as the main downhill course for races.
While the actual trails are free to ride (if you’re happy to ride or push your bike uphill), the whole park is serviced by the Skyline Gondola, also offering a selection of sightseeing and other visitor activities. Mountain bikers alternate with other sightseeing visitors, with bikes being loaded onto the side. Mornings are generally quieter. Read on for descriptions of the most popular trails…
Starting just a hundred meters or so from the top of the Skyline Gondola, then converging at the Midway Clearing and continuing on to the bottom, Hammy’s is perfect for first time downhill mountain bikers or a great warm up for more experienced riders. As a Grade Two (green) trail, don’t be surprised to see small children and their parents enjoying a few laps here, however if they’re local they’re probably be faster than you. There’s plenty of easy, small jumps and low-to-the-ground wooden features to keep it fresh for those more confident, though all are easily to bypass.
As one of the first tracks created in the Queenstown Bike Park (hence the name), Original has fast bermed corners interspersed with doubles and any number of side-hits – essentially this track will have you whooping and hollering all day long.
Comprised of high-speed burmed corners, small doubles, table-tops and mini step-downs, this grade three (blue) trail is great for progressing your skills without taking you out of your comfort zone. This track can be accessed from the very top of Hammy’s Track, taking a left turn right after the main trail head, or via a drop-in point next to the Skyline helicopter pad. It begins with slightly steeper gradients and fast burms, and ends with a series of great jumps, gapable or otherwise, coming out at the park’s central hub. It is also the access point for more technical tracks like Grundy, World Cup and Huck Yeah.
Single Track Sandwich
Beginning at the Midway Clearing, this trail is a rooty, often muddy, tight and twisting journey through a lost world of fallen trees and ancient forest. It then links up with the lower half of Original so you can work on your air-time skills on the tabletops or simply enjoy the view.
Cutting off to the left from the top of Hammy’s Track, Armageddon provides a link to Thingmajig, albeit a rooty, rutted, tree-infested, straight down link! One for the more experienced, this grade five trail (double black diamond) was made to get your heart rate high and and your brake temperatures higher.
With its high-speed sections through tightly-spaced tees (take note wide handlebar users), undulating jumps and roll-downs, and mini-north shore, Thingymajig is a very fun, grade three.
Fond about half way down the Vertigo Trail, Huck Yeah is exactly how it sounds! One of the most recent additions to the park, this very tasty jump trail is marked as a black (grade 5) but it very achievable for intermediate and above riders. All the jumps are extremely well built with low consequences and possible to roll over without getting air, however there is a wee step down in the entrance. Note that riders can come through here with A LOT of speed so be careful where you stop keep your whits about you.
A grade 5 trail, you’ll find tight and twisty tree sections, big off-camber roots, drops and a few bermed corners thrown in for good measure. This trail is the place to be for those building up to the big boys. There are a number of more recent off-shoots from Grundy, including Fundy and Jeremy’s – both offering similar tracks for the more experienced rider.
Previous home to rounds of the International Downhill World Cup Championship, as well as host to many and more smaller races, World Cup has it all for those who like their gravity served hot.
Beginning from Vertigo trail’s lower entrance, you’ll have an audience from the Zip Treck treehouse as you drop in so don’t bin it on the first corner! From there it’s a full-on thrill ride straight down over rocks, drops, roots and everything in between. It is worth asking one of the awesome Bike Park crew about conditions on this trail before entering it, as it is best avoided if wet or muddy unless you’re seriously skilled/crazy.