Kelvin Peninsular trail turning into a Motorway? – UPDATED!

A few mountain bike club members have been asking questions about the dumbing down of the great technical single-track around the Kelvin Heights golf club.  This bit of trail has been a locals favourite for many years and although it has seemed pretty inevitable that it would be turned into a motorway after the same thing has been done to the Jacks Point and Kelvin Heights trails it is still disappointing. The Queenstown Mountain Bike club has asked the Queenstown Trails Trust for the reasons behind the motorwaying of this trail and if there are any plans to replace the technical singletrack they they have (will have?) removed.  We will keep you up to date with their response. Update Within a couple of hours I had received this response from Kaye Parker the CEO of Queenstown Trails Trust (formerly Wakatipu Trails Trust) "Thanks for your query. I’ve copied Tom in as well as we had a wee chat about this a couple of weeks ago. The work being carried out currently is being done by the KPCA [Kelvin Peninsula Community Association]who are tireless workers keeping the Peninsula in great order. I haven’t seen it yet, am due to meet with them on Tuesday. Yes, we need to improve and widen the existing trail for several reasons. Not only to finish the loop on the Kelvin Peninsula section of the Queenstown Trail, to meet the NZ Cycleway criteria but also to make available to younger and older members of our Queenstown community and visitors one of the most beautiful outlooks in the basin. The council and the Trust will look at widening this section, subject to funds next year. Feedback from Kelvin Peninsula residents and locals about the widening of the Kelvin Peninsula trail from the Kawarau one lane bridge to meet up with the trail work carried out by KPCA earlier has been overwhelmingly positive. Several people who initially opposed the widening have said they are now pleased with it and can see that the use of the trail by older and younger members of our Queenstown community has risen dramatically. Many locals have also expressed disappointment that they or their family members can’t access the trail around the Peninsula because of its difficult terrain. We have many other suitable more difficult trails throughout the basin and surrounding mountains for cyclists and walkers who want more of a challenge and the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club has been responsible for many of these. You all do a great job. We hope everyone can come to accept that the lower basin needs to be accessible to as many of our local community as possible, especially the young and the elderly. The Trust is extremely supportive of the QMBC and its efforts in establishing the Queenstown Bike Park. Despite us having a $5.4m Queenstown Trail funding raising and trail development programme, we gave $20,000 to the maintenance of the Bike Park last year." Thanks for the prompt response Kaye, I hope this answers our members questions.

12 thoughts on “Kelvin Peninsular trail turning into a Motorway? – UPDATED!

  1. i used to support the fledgling trails trust in it’s infancy.
    now it has transformed into a belching monster with it’s own agenda.
    i struggle to understand the logic behind much of the trust’s track building.
    huge wide tracks with so much money thrown at it.
    i struggle to understand how these trails will be maintained and how they will fund it.
    a big concern is how will they stand up to some big rains and floods as some sections are not built with such in mind.
    RIP the golf course section of trail. i hope some pram pushers make use of this. i rarely see any on many sections of trail. some still say the trails are too steep!

  2. Tom here from the MTB club. Thanks for your comments. We also appreciate why some trail has to be widened/made more accessible. The Kelvin heights track for example appeals to alot more riders now that it is wider/a better grade. In the case of the peninsula track i believe that it could be made more accessible and still keep its charm by doing some good old fashioned handwork. this would allow riders to get a taste for a more technical track and those wanting to stick to the easier track could take the shortcut through Jardines Park as Sally pointed out. Most novice riders who have ridden from town will be spent by then so a shortcut would no doubt be very appealing.
    We also appreciate the work Kaye has done with the whole Queenstown trail which is going to be a great asset to Queenstown and is currently sorely missing. As many of you have pointed out we are also short on xc singletrack and the club is onto this. Literally building as we speak!
    We would also like to see any singletrack being removed being replaced either in the same location or somewhere else and will liase with Kaye about this.
    Hopefully we can figure something out that works for all riders, remember the trust are doing great things for the community, we just need to make sure that it is not at the expense of our current network.

  3. In a nutshell, its about bums on seats, esp on trails close to town, whether it be tourists or locals, the trails need to cater for the mass no of cyclists spending money on local business. Why do you think the trust invested in the gondola trails, if I was a financier for this id say that was a good move. Now from a xc rider point of view I cant see any commercialy developed trails either being attractive, viable, compliant or economicaly sound…. Unless….. Its in the country. So dont sweat it fellow xc riders, there are some potential areas within 1hours drive of our qtown jewel that will make you wonder what all the fuss is about. Its just a matter of timing. Happy riding

    1. Well Tom (in a nutshell Tom that is) I think the point here is that not everyone wants to drive for an hour to ride their bike! I think having XC options that you can ride to from your doorstep is the type of reason that a lot of people will put up with the high cost of living in low wages in Queenstown. There is also the issue of people who do not have cars or cannot drive like kids and teenagers who need to be able to build up their basic bike handling skills before taking the more extreme riding options like the plethora of DH tracks that are ridable distance from town. We are also not talking about commercially developed trails as thus far the only commercially developed trail in QT is Hammeys which is still free to ride. Remember the Queenstown Trails Trust are a charitable trust funded with primarily with public money.

  4. I have felt the same disappointment to see the best fun techy bit of “old school” single track (bit at end of golf course to Jardines)get bulldozed. I understand need for some connector commuters. Why not make a 2nd track that does the job, as suggested above to link straight to Jardines as Sally suggested or do a bit on pavement. That way we can have our cake and eat it too. I’m over 50 and still like that bit of nearby wilderness that keeps us challenged!

  5. Ok so as Geoff has stated, It’s a numbers game regarding supply and demand principles etc…At the same time if you look at the bigger picture, There may be a limited number of single track options around for a XC rider, but the fact is that the relative location to town for many of these trails constitutes greater volumes of riders who fall into the Pedallers,Wakatipu,Motatapu, Baby boomer(whoops)bracket, who are the commerce based community.
    Dont worry about this too much cos over the next 10 years, even though concession issues, consents,covenants,pastoral lease, and freehold land issues concerning the purist XC rider may hamstring trails close to Queenstown…. There will be other options available in the near future. Once again NZ is a bit behind the 8 ball when it comes to dedicated Mountain Biking trails(espiecially for XC) but we have an exciting future

  6. Trail widening. For a couple years before the Trails Trust started the tracks I worked with the Trust and argued with Kaye about trail widening (we live on the Kelvin Heights Track) I wanted it to remain the same as it had been, but I could always see that it was going to be a losing battle and now appreciate the track even thou it is wider.
    The mtn bike club has a membership of about 400. The Pedallars Group has about the same. The Tour de Wakatipu gets about 800 riders and the Motatapu 2,000 riders. Most of these guys do not ride single track much.

    Unfortunately we are outnumbered. But we do have some great single track still and I constantly remind Kaye that once this project is finished that I want her to keep finding funding for developing the different grade of X-C trail – the single track version in different places in the basin.

  7. It’s completely unnecessary to pull the “NZ Cycleway criteria” card. The trails of the NZCT Project run the gamut from leisurely rides along wide cycle trail tracks (i.e. Otago Central Rail Trail) to full-on Grade4+ backcountry MTB rides (i.e. St James Cycle Trail). There is no reason that the Peninsula Portion of the track couldn’t remain as is, and this section just be graded higher than the other sections of the Queenstown Trail.

    I have to imagine that much of this comes down to Kaye’s misunderstanding of the Queenstown MTB community. A cyclist upset on loosing a natural XC track along the lake isn’t going to give two shits about $20k towards maintenance downhill trails from the Gondola.

  8. There is an easy short cut in existance, if you cut into Jardines park instead of keeping to the shore line, that is available to The elderly, Double prams etc. I sometimes take it on the way back from Jacks point if I’m getting tired.

  9. The continuing decline of our society, or perhaps it is the aging population; Or is it idle hands looking for something to do?
    Apparently now the majority can’t even walk on a track that has a few rocks here and there. Why not install a travelator, then you would hardly have to lift your feet at all.

  10. As Kelvin Peninsula residents we are very very disappointed to see the last of the “natural” track around the peninsula being destroyed in this way. Funny that most of our neighbours and friends from around the Wakatipu share our sentiments on this issue. Looks like those making these unilateral decisions are more vocal. I guess if our own council can sell off 25% of OUR airport in a secret meeting then we have no chance of swaying the decision on something as simple as the retention of the original route around the lake.

    I note that Kaye’s answer above never addresses the question of replacing the technical single track. Am I correct in thinking that the trails trust are allocating LESS THAN 4% of the Queenstown Trail funding raising and trail development programme? Is this what they think of as being “extremely supportive” of the QMTBC?

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