Starting in Arrowtown, your journey starts down by Dudley's Cottage and the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. Jump onto the trail that follows the ‘true right’ of the willow-lined Arrow River - the home of the goldrush in the 1800s and steeped in history.
The trail heads west along the banks of the Arrow River and passes a number of bridges along the way. One of the most popular photo stops is midway across the awe-inspiring Southern Discoveries suspension bridge. A destination in itself and what a view! Across the bridge, you’ll ride past quaint cottages and grazing horses down Whitechapel country lane – a landscape painting straight out of a picture book. Stop at the Knights Family Underbridge and take in the spectacular downstream view of where the Arrow River drops into the gorge.
Yet another impressive feat of engineering, the graceful 80-metre Edgar Suspension Bridge is guaranteed to deliver gasps of appreciation at the views from its midpoint down into the Arrow Gorge. Once you've crossed the Edgar Bridge, be sure to stop at the Wall of Recognition and offer up a 'thanks' to the landowners and Queenstown community who had the vision to help make the Queenstown Trail a reality.
Getting across busy State Highway 6 is a piece of cake via the Barfoot Tunnel - and onto a part of the trail which follows the original goldminers’ road into Queenstown. Breathe in the thyme-scented mountain air as you make your way over the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge, home to the world’s first commercial bungy jumping operation. The AJ Hackett Bungy Centre is a stunning piece of architecture, well worth a visit – and has a good café, toilets and of course tickets for that bungy jump you've been promising yourself. On the Bungy viewing deck there are many informative panels about the history of the area that are well worth a read.
As you leave the AJ Hackett car park (accessible from SH6) follow the signs to the Gibbston River Trail. As you ride towards the east you’ll be spoilt for vistas - The Kawarau River far below on your left and to your right, the Gibbston vineyards, and architectural masterpieces, all set within the iconic Central Otago landscape. From here, your journey takes you into dramatic wine country. Choose to explore the Gibbston River Trail, taking in some wine tasting and enjoy all that the 'valley of vines' has to offer. When you get to the Gibbston Back Road you've reached the end of the trail (connections to Cromwell through the Gorge are currently in the pipeline). Check out our Gibbston page for more information.
When you've had your fill of Gibbston, retrace your journey back along the trail to the AJ Hackett Bungy Centre. Once you've crossed back over the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, follow the old goldminers trail on the right of the State Highway 6 and make your way back under the busy Highway via the Barfoot Tunnel. You'll be pleased to be leaving the sound of traffic as your ride into a quiet farmland setting. Be wowwed once again by the Edgar Suspension Bridge.
Upstream of the Edgar Bridge you'll continue on, retracing your steps past the start of the Twin Rivers Trail at Morven Ferry Road, you'll ride a short section of trail next to the road towards the State Highway 6, where you'll cross the Knights Family underbridge, take in the downstream view of where the Arrow River drops into the gorge. Continue along Whitechapel country lane till you get to the Southern Discoveries suspension bridge.
The trail heads east along the banks of the Arrow River, a river of many moods, sometimes tranquil, often rushing over rocks and bluffs, then widening to limpid pools. There’s no shortage of photo opportunities and you'll find a great picnic spot beside the Swain Family Bridge - perfect for enjoying the peace and quiet.
Follow the trail on the true right of the Arrow River, soak up the atmosphere as you head into leafy Arrowtown for a craft beer or ice cream.