New trail sparks Queenstown tourist operations

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Two new bike tour companies are peddling their wares following today’s official opening of the walking/cycling Queenstown Trail. 

Around the Basin Ltd and Queenstown Bike Tours Ltd both plan to run commercial trips around the trail’s 110km track network. 

Around the Basin is owned by local multisporters Steve Norton and John Knight. 

The company – operating from premises by the bottom Skyline gondola terminal — supplies bikes and equipment for half- and full-day tours with optional transport pick-ups and drop-offs and also a guided service including lunch and tea stops. 

Queenstown Bike Tours – owned by locals Matt Hirst and Dylan Thomas – also operates half- and full-day tours with optional transport drop-offs and pick-ups, too. 

The company operates from Arrowtown’s Dudley’s Cottage and will also offer guided tours once it sorts out a concession, Hirst says. 

Licence fees paid by the companies will help trail partners Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown Trails Trust maintain the track. 

It’s also hoped the companies will help attract visitors to town for cycling holidays. 

Norton says there’s been demand for half- or full-day Queenstown cycle tours. 

“If you add up the three river gorges, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Hayes, seeing this in a day – you just don’t have anything like that in New Zealand. 

“People come on adventure holidays now – they don’t just sit in a hotel and do Shotover Jet only.” 

Hirst echoes that comment: “Hopefully it’s a growing market – we’ve put everything we’ve got into it.”