Back to the future in Queenstown, New Zealand

Advanced technology teams up with classic engineering for a thrilling trip from boat to bike in Queenstown.

Advanced technology teams up with classic engineering for a thrilling trip from boat to bike in Queenstown. 

Real Journeys’ latest tourism attraction takes daytrippers from a cruise aboard one of the world’s oldest forms of conveyance, a coal-powered steamship, to an off-road adventure on the latest mode of transport– the Ubco electric trail bike.

The Walter Peak Electric Trail Bike trip begins by crossing beautiful Lake Wakatipu on the 104–year old restored steamship TSS Earnslaw. Disembarking at Walter Peak high country farm, groups of up to 12 join a nature guide and put on protective clothing to ride the electric bikes. The uninterrupted views riders enjoy from the paddocks and hills are spectacular, thanks to the large-scale removal of noxious wilding pines as part of Real Journeys award-winning Walter Peak Land Restoration Project.  

Real Journeys is the first New Zealand company to provide a fleet of the brand new bikes as part of a tourism attraction.  Commercial Director, Tony McQuilkin says he chose the Ubco bikes because they are extremely functional, simple to use, silent and fit the company’s conservation ethos. 

Designed in New Zealand, the dual electric drive bikes operate almost soundlessly, despite having a powerful motor in each wheel to provide complete control.  

“These bikes are the way of the future – there’s no noise, no internal combustion engine, no petrol tank, muffler, chain or clutch,” says Tony. “But importantly for us, they’re incredibly fun and easy to ride and are a great way to enjoy the back country hills and magnificent views at Walter Peak.  The things are extraordinarily sturdy, quiet and take you anywhere, through mud or gravel.” 

The trips, which take three and a half hours, start from Thursday, November 8 and can be booked here. Riders must be at least 13 years old, 150cm or taller and weigh less than 110kg. Anyone who can ride a mountain bike on tracks and trails will be able to ride the electric trail bike.