Queenstown to Arrowtown - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 11, 2021

Queenstown to Arrowtown

The three trails - Frankton, Twin Rivers, Arrow River. Some high notes, quite a lot of largo and the odd bit of allegro.

The day starts rather misty and cold and we take a shortcut through the gardens to reach the path we have been recently been following to get to Frankton. We take another stop at the Boatshed Cafe- we’re nearly regulars now, and then continue around to the Kawarau Falls bridge. Here the sign for the Queenstown trail is found. It’s around 30 kilometres to Arrowtown town via the Old Lower Shotover Bridge and Kararau River path. We could have taken the Countryside Trail but it looks preferable to return on.

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A misty moisty morning on the lake.
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Early latte stop.
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The path is pretty smooth though it has some gnarly hill climbs here and there. They do provide wonderful views of the river though. We start by following the Kawarau River and then turn and cycle along the Shotover towards the bridge. The Shotover River drains into the Kawarau River four kilometres from the Lake Wakatipu outlet. I have always imagined that the river earned its name as a colloquial term for its rapids. In fact it has had a few names- Maori called it  Kimi-ākau which means ‘looking for the coast’, a couple of Scots chaps called it ‘The Tummel ‘ and then William Rees, an early settler, named it after his business partner’s English estate. Miners, with comedic logic, named it the ‘Overshot’.

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We soon reach the Old Lower Shotover Bridge  via the Shotover delta and cross over slowly, admiring the wonderful views upstream.  The sun’s now strong and the cloud is burning off. The current ‘Ferry Bed & Breakfast’ was once the hotel for those wanting to cross the river before any bridges existed and so its bones are old. From here, the trail follows the deep green of the Kawarau River. There’s the occasional jet boat disturbing the peace, but mostly it’s so quiet that we can hear the roaring of deer from the farm across the river. The other cyclists we encounter are mostly on ebikes. Some, men mostly, are fully garbed in what looks like kevlar suits, and belt down the trail at fearsome speeds. It’s clearly their regular run. 

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From the old Shotover Bridge.
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At the top of Old McDonald’s  Hill (50 metre climb) we stop for lunch and sit in the much appreciated shade. A young ebiker comes past, spots our panniers and tells us we’ve earned a rest. Around us we get great views of the ranges- Coronet peak, Cardrona and the remarkable Remarkables. Coming down from the hill we reach the Lake Hayes estate- or the periphery of. There seems to be a fairly extensive area of land given over to horse riding , cycling, walking and running.

The way up Thompsons Hill.
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The Kawarau.
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Lunch stop. Helmet to ward off the sun’s rays.
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Listening to roaring stags from deer farm below.
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The trail heads across country to Morven Flat, following and original gold miners’ route, then joins the Arrow River. The Arrow Junction gives us the option of cycling along the river track towards town or taking the road. We find out later that the easier road has a separate path alongside, however we opt for the trail which is pretty but also has some unexpectedly steep climbs. The trail winds among overhanging greenery with spots for river swims. In fact some local lads are splashing about in the water which I test for temperature- no doubt there, it’s bone chilling!

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Along for the ride.
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The Southern Discoveries suspension bridge.
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The glacial, but pretty, Arrow River.
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From here we cycle up to Arrowtown and find Cath’s place- a small self contained studio in a suburban cul de sac. She’s very welcoming and the studio looks very new with great sleeping and showering spaces. The only qualm we have is that like so many airbnb places with cooking facilities, there’s really only the bathroom basin for washing dishes. It reminds me of the Steptoe episode when Albert takes the dishes with him into the bath. We’re very comfortable though and manage washing up easily as Ann has her small capsule of lux liquid. 

An added bonus, we discover, is that the bedroom has a skylight, so the clear Otago sky can be gazed up at before sleep descends.

Today's ride: 37 km (23 miles)
Total: 541 km (336 miles)

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