Kingston Photo credit: Williams Photography

Kingston is a small town at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu. Possibly the Southern Lakes’ best kept secret, it’s a popular summer holiday spot with locals.

Just 30 minutes from Queenstown, Kingston is famous for the historic Kingston Flyer, a vintage steam engine. The Kingston Branch was a major railway line linking Invercargill and the Southland region. The northernmost 14 kilometers were used by the Kingston Flyer up until December 2012; efforts continue to get the engine up and running again as a tourist attraction.

Kingston was founded in the 1860s as a service town for the booming gold mining industry. Gold arrived from nearby mines by boat and was then transported to the city of Dunedin. The town was well connected by boat to Queenstown (the famous TSS Earnslaw) and later by the railway lines to Invercargill and Dunedin.

Today, the SH6 road is the easiest route to Kingston. Popular for relaxing in a more rural setting, the town is also great for cycle trails, connecting with nearby Athol, Garston, Mossburn and Lumsden. The Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, is one of New Zealand’s great bike rides. Kingston is a great place to begin the 175 km trail ride which partially follows the old railway lines towards Southland. The trail then heads North, finishing in Queenstown.

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