Best Biking in Queenstown

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With the Gibbston Valley Winery’s ever-expanding list of products, there’s always something new for me to promote online, but first I have to experience it. This time, trying our new biking and wine packages was on the menu.

My experience started in Arrowtown to trial the winery’s new Arrowtown Breakfast to Gibbston Valley Winery Biking Package.

Gibbston Valley Graphic Designer Inteus Burton was my partner in crime for the day. Once in Arrowtown, via transport from the winery on the Gibbston Valley Shuttle, we made our way to the Arrow River Trail to start the pleasant 16 km-ride back to the winery.
Right from the get go, the views are awesome. I almost lost my balance a few times because I was distracted staring off in that distance at something instead of watching the trail.

Of course, before departing from the winery, we each packed our backpacks with some necessary supplies for the trip: a bottle each of Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir and Rosé, an assortment of imported meats and artisan cheeses, crackers, olives (we have to stay hydrated somehow), a water bottle and camera.

Most of the above will be included as part of a bike package, but for customers this will be neatly packed in a hamper attached to an electric bike. We wanted to test riding with these things in our packs, and it was likely we’d get thirsty along the way.

Back on the trail, we made our way to the Southern Discoveries Suspension Bridge. It’s incredible to see, and the views from it are even better.

One of the swing bridges you get to cross on your way from Arrowtown, and the view is nothing short of spectacular.

Leaving Arrowtown

We continued on past pastures of grazing horses and to an underpass that took us to the other side of the highway and out of Arrowtown.

However obvious it may seem, it’s not that hard to lose your way at this point and end up on the road when you’re leaving Arrowtown. If you’re on the road, you’ve gone the wrong way.

Check the signs and make sure you’re travelling in the direction of Gibbston and where the signs are directing you. Once on the other side of the highway, the trail takes you in the opposite direction of Gibbston for a short distance before it bends back in the other direction. When you get to the 80-metre Edgar Suspension Bridge, you’ll know you’re on track.

After you cross this, you’ll get to another underpass that leads to the other side of the highway again and to Gibbston. Once at the bungy bridge, you’ll get on the new Gibbston River Trail with easy access to the winery, but I recommend another stop first.

Don't miss this picnic spot on your way back to the winery.

Picture-perfect Platter

Before reaching the winery, you’ll see signs directing you to go left to access another part of the trail closer to the Kawarau River. Take this route, as it winds right along the river and will give you direct access to a picnic table with awe-inspiring views of the gorge.

We thought this would be the perfect spot to try the charcuterie platter. When your pack starts feeling heavy, it’s time to lighten the load. For us, that meant drinking more wine.

Sitting in the sun, surrounded by the lush green mountainside, with views of turquoise water rushing by below, a platter of delicious meats and cheese in front of you and a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir in your hand, is seriously awesome. Queenstown never ceases to amaze me.

A few more sips and photos later, and we were back on the trail. There are signs along the way directing where to go to access the winery, which requires crossing the highway again, but this time you will be on the road. The trail leads to Gibbston Valley’s Home Block vineyard where we rode along the vines and back to the bike centre.

Tips for the Road

The Arrow River and Gibbston River Trail to the winery is a pretty easy ride, but coming from someone who is not an avid biker, there are definitely a few inclines that will make you very happy your bike has gears (if you hire it from the Gibbston Valley Bike Centre). I like to have my feet on the ground, so running is more my thing, but this trail is definitely manageable for any rider.

Anticipating the up hills and changing gears as you approach them is key. If you wait until you are already stuck going up a steep hill and try to change them, you’ll probably end up having to get off your bike and walk it to the top of the hill. Something Inteus learned very fast. Just take note of this as you’re riding. Switch gears, and it’ll be smooth sailing all the way back to the winery.

If you haven’t been out on the trails yet, do it. With summer now in full swing, I can’t think of a better time to experience these scenic trails and some wine.

Also, when you plan your trip, I definitely recommend factoring in time to get off your bike and take photos. You’ll want to capture the stunning panoramic views along the way.

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