Aussie mountain bike mag to spread word on gondola

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A major Australian mountain biking magazine will soon be spreading the word about Bob’s Peak gondola access for riders. 

Hotshot Kiwi bikers Kashi Leuchs and Justin Leov, plus local Tony Moore, are showing Australian Mountain Bike deputy editor Mick Ross and his cameraman what Otago has to offer. 

They hitched a lift on Queenstown’s gondola on Monday – it’s due to open to the public in January for a trial period until May. 

Dunedin-based veteran Leuchs thinks the gondola will be a major drawcard for overseas biking enthusiasts and provide a training ground for Kiwi riders – who will be able to catch the cableway rather than facing an uphill grind to reach tracks. 

“I think the gondola is the gold star, the final key to make [Otago mountain biking] shine for the international media,” Leuchs says. 

Leov adds that Queenstown’s atmosphere – with shops, nightlife and other adrenalin activities on tap – could potentially make it a Southern Hemisphere version of Canadian mountain bike mecca Whistler. 

But Derek Morrison, co-founder of Adventure Media Group, who’s also showing Ross around, says investment into trails and tracks for novice bikers is crucial. 

Skyline Enterprises is forking out about $100,000 for a 6km beginner-level perimeter track at the Ben Lomond Reserve to cater for lower-level riders. 

Ross says with the quality riding and elevation on the “super raw” Bob’s Peak tracks, Queenstowners have “everything at your fingertips”, but signage, which will be supplied by Queenstown Lakes District Council, is a must. 

Ross adds gondola prices aren’t unreasonable. 

“Seventy dollars a day could seem a little high for some people but it’s a good fast chairlift…you get a good quality service.” 

A single trip will sting punters $30, a day pass $70, three days $165 and five days $250. A season pass costs $475. 

While in town for three days the riders are also testing out tracks near Moke Lake, Seven Mile and Roaring Meg in the Kawarau Gorge. 

“We’re trying to make it as varied as possible to show how much there is to offer here for riders all around the world,” Leuchs says.