West coast positions itself as MTB hotspot

The first of the new Queenstown mountain bike trails open to the public this month as the council seeks public feedback before 30 July on a plan to link the region’s towns with more trails.

West Coast Council commissioned track builders Dirt Art to write a report on future mountain bike opportunities for the region to promote tourism.

It’s come up with a concept that establishes Queenstown and Zeehan as the main mountain biking hubs, with secondary connections to Strahan, Rosebery, Tullah and Trial Harbour.

The purpose of the plan is to provide the infrastructure to encourage multi-day tourism, with Dirt Art suggesting it could result in average stays of four days.

This could set the west coast up as a destination similar to Tasmania’s north east, where Derby, Branxholm and St Helens are linked or close to trails.  

The Queenstown trails will measure about 35 km when finished, and development approvals are underway for 20–25 km of trails around Zeehan, joining the current Oonah Hill trail. 

Dirt Art’s concept plan is for another 10 trails, with most being what they describe as “back country” long format and bike packing style trails that encourage multi-day rides with accommodation and food provided in the towns.

Riders they think will be interested in this format are the intermediate to experienced riders who are fit enough or have access to an e-bike to ride 20–40 km trails. As such, most of the proposed trail concepts would be rated blue square (intermediate) or black diamond (advanced).

As well as the trails connecting the towns, there will be trails around the towns so people can choose to stay in one place or travel onwards. For instance, the additional trails proposed for the Queenstown area means riders could stay for four days in the one spot.

All up, Dirt Art are suggesting more than 300 km of new trails in the region and believe that every 50 km of trail developed is likely to attract in the order of 25,000 visitors a year, with most coming from interstate followed by intrastrate and around 15% from other countries once border restrictions are relaxed.

Have your say

Comments can be made in response to the draft plan via email: or phone 0499 055 564 before 5 pm on Friday 30 July.

Acting Mayor Shane Pitt reiterated that the concept is to spark discussion rather than being an already decided plan.

“Everyone should note that the draft report is a start point for the community and other stakeholders to engage on, it is not the final definitive approach, nor does it contain final trail designs.”

If the council decides to proceed following the public consultation, the next step is to take the concepts and start creating detailed designs, this includes consultation with key stakeholders.

Mt Owen trails open this month

10.5 km of mountain bike trails on Mt Owen in Queenstown opens on 23 July, the first stage of a 35 km network.

Rated blue and black and black, these are trails for experienced riders, with the green and blue trails planned for lower down the mountain still on their way.

You'll need to book an uplift shuttle if interested in giving them a go, and can do so on the website: