E-biking Arrowtown to Queenstown

When I arrived in Queenstown yesterday afternoon the Sun was shinning and the clear mountain iar made the lake a bright blue against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. It was a good flight over; but, even so, wandering about in the fresh air was delightful.

Queenstown is not a big place so it doesn’t take long to get a feel for it. The area along the waterfont is lovely, bustling and alive on a good day. But the best way to really apreciate the lake is to get a gondola up the mountain and look out over the lake and the paragliders swooping beneath you. On a clear day like yesterday it’s simply gob-smacking.

I finished the day watching the Sun go down over the lake from the gardens. There are lupins everwhere, adding spots of bright colour to the blues and greens of the lake and mountains.

All that lulled me into a false sense of security which came crashing down when I finished breakfast this morning in a local cafe and realised it was suddenly pouring with rain. And I had a bike to ride. Luckily by the time my shuttle had transported me to Arrowtown the rain had faded to a slight misting and then, within another half-an-hour, disappeared entirely.

My ride from Arrowtown back to Queenstown was on a very comfortable electric bike, which encouraged me to take some detours on the way. The principle route follows a series of rivers leading to the mighty Shotover. The rivers mean that there is a great deal of riding along ravines and over suspension bridges which, as it has been a while since I was on a bike, I found a bit confronting at first.

The views were, however, spectacular. Again there were lupins everywhere, the rivers were either the deep blue of glacial melt or startlingly clear, and the mountain tops appear almost two-dimensional they are so sharply-edged.

After some 20km the trail descends to the Shotover. Here the river is flat and shallow (a fact I can attest to after the last time we visited our jet-boat ran aground). The trail is still pretty for a while, but then pops onto roads and gets more industrial. Jet-boats on the river and jets above mean it’s less than peaceful.

With about 10km to go it was time for a lunch stop at the Altitude brewery. Strangely at the moment you can’t drink the tap-water in Queenstown thanks to some awful bug infesting it. So I went medielval and had beer instead. A sake pislner hit the spot – covering both energy and liquids in one go.

The last bit of the ride took me back through the gardens into Queenstown with the rain making a brief curtain-call. I don’t want to jinx things but, importantly, I feel I survived the ride without over-dong things with my legs (thank you e-bike) – and that’s important for the walking to come.

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