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Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, a town buzzing with the joys of tourism. Happy holiday makers are everywhere and the list of entertaining adventurous activities is endless…
As a mountain biking guide working in Queenstown, I want to offer my take on a rather organic experience away from the main tourist trail - something for all riding abilities. I am an semi-professional multi-sport athlete and it is the quality of cycle trails in the Queenstown Basin that played a large part in my decision to base myself here.
The Queenstown Trail Network is 120 km long and winds its’ way through much of the Queenstown basin, extending out to Arrowtown and through to the Gibbston Valley, the home of some very popular wineries. Around the Basin offer a specific “Bike the Wineries Full Day Tour” and there is the option to upgrade this trip by adding a guide… lucky me!
Here is my account of a recent trip where I was lucky enough to tag along:
Driver Lisa and I picked up our clients in Queenstown and drove them out to Arrowtown. I chatted to the group of 4 with whom I would be spending the day. It’s always fun to share some stories and get to know the clients, with a bit of light banter always thrown into the mix to get everyone relaxed before our ride.
Reaching Arrowtown the group were fitted to bikes and briefed on the latest trail conditions. In no time we were away and riding. Instead of heading straight onto the trail, I suggested that we check out Arrowtown. The group were keen on this idea and as soon as someone mentioned “coffee” the pace quickened! We cruised the main street and marvelled at the historic “western saloon” style buildings, a reminder of the gold rush which catalyst growth in the region. We rode through to Provisions Cafe and enjoyed hot coffee and delicious sticky bun(s), before linking back onto the cycle trail.
Energised by our pit stop (and full of caffeine) we enjoyed the feeling of settling into our rhythm on the bike as the blood rushed into our muscles. The scenery was beautiful as we meandered along beside the Arrow River, taking time to stop for photos.
The mountain bike trail took us over some spectacular swing bridges, through purpose built underpasses and even over the Karawau Bungy Bridge before we reached the Gibbston Valley, and our first winery. This first section was 15 km long and took us about 1hr 45min including stops. A nice start to the day!
The afternoon was spent visiting the wineries - tasting wine and eating cheese. We went to the Gibbston Valley Winery, The Gibbston Cheesery, Peregrine Wines, the Gibbston Tavern and Kinross, before being picked up by Lisa from Mt Rosa at 4.30 pm.
An extremely enjoyable day, that took us through Arrowtown, Bungy and to numerous wineries, satisfying the need to ride, as well as taste the wine. How lucky am I to do this as a job!
A full day self-guided tour of the Gibbston Valley wineries. Transport from Queenstown to Arrowtown to begin your adventure, maps and details of the wineries supplied. Enjoy this spectacular wine country at your leisure, knowing you have a ride home.
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