Well-tended vines on the slopes of the valley, views from the Gibbston River Trail, wine tasting and great food.
This section begins at end of the historic Kawarau Bridge - itself a major attraction, being the home of A J Hackett’s (and the world’s) first ever bungy operation. The AJ Hackett Centre is a stunning piece of architecture, well worth a visit - a fabulous café, toilets and of course tickets for that bungy jump you've been promising yourself.
NOTE: TRAIL UPGRADE COMPLETED NOVEMBER 8 2014. PLEASE FOLLOW SIGNAGE AS PEREGRINE LOOP IS NOT SUItable for cycling (WALKING ONLY - AND ITS GORGEOUS SO DO MAKE THE TIME TO EXPLORE!)
As you leave the AJ Hackett carpark (accessible off SH6) follow the signs to the recently upgraded Gibbston River Trail. From here-on your journey takes you into wine country.
As you ride towards the east you’ll be spoilt for vistas - The Kawarau River far below on your left and to your right, the Gibbston vineyards, architectural masterpieces and iconic Central Otago landscapes. You’ll also pass through a rare pre-1900 fruit orchard and rock huts left over from the goldrush.
Nothing can prepare you for the stunning, international award-winning Peregrine Winery building sitting lightly on the landscape. Inspired by Peregrine (native falcon or Karearea) in flight, it has won awards from London-based Architecture Review magazine and the NZ Institute of Architects.
The trail features many opportunities to stop and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Kawarau Gorge. Do bring a picnic and enjoy the many picnic spots along the way (tip - when you see the sign marked "Picnic Area' do yourself a favour and follow the trail - it's only about 20 paces on foot the little detour is so worth it!)
At Waitiri Creek, stop in for a breather and a taste of their finest wines and meals.
Across the State Highway, make an afternoon of it at the Gibbston Tavern, a real central Otago treasure.
Take your time in Gibbston - order a delicious picnic hamper packed with freshly-baked baguettes, cheeses and antipasto from Gibbston Valley Cheeses and find a shady spot for your picnic or enjoy an afternoon at the award-winning Gibbston Valley Winery Restaurant, plus there is a great gift store and bike hire centre now located at the Winery.
For wine enthusiasts, it doesn’t get any better than a guided tour through the Gibbston Valley Wine Caves. These unique caves have been blasted out of the solid schist of the mountains, to create an ideal natural environment to mature award-winning wines.
From Gibbston your options are to head to Arrowtown via the Arrow River Bridge Ride or back to Queenstown via the Twin Rivers and Wakatipu Lake Ride Trail or call for a transport pick-up for you and your bikes.
PLEASE NOTE BELOW DETAILS RE GIBBSTON RIVER TRAIL UPGRADE
The $370,000 Gibbston River Trail upgrade was celebrated today (November 8) by the Queenstown Trails Trust and recognised the commitment of the Gibbston Community Association in spearheading the original trail alongside the Kawarau River.
The official launch of the 8.7km trail, held at Gibbston Valley Winery, was attended by M.P. for Clutha-Southland Todd Barclay and Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden along with Gibbston and Wakatipu residents.
Trust chairman Tony McQuilkin told guests that the original trail was installed by the Gibbston community as a Department of Conservation standard day walk in 2010. He referred in particular to the drive of former Gibbston Community Association chairperson, Susan Stevens, in creating the walkway which has become a key part of the Queenstown Trail walking network.
“When the Queenstown Trail opened in 2012 we predicted that in five years it would have 35,000 users but we reached that number by the end of the first summer making it the most used trail in New Zealand. One of the most popular rides has been the Arrowtown River Trail over the Edgar Bridge to Gibbston, which wasn’t surprising because of the stunning scenery and the opportunity to visit award-winning wineries,” he said.
“However, what we did find through feedback from visitors and tour operators was that the Gibbston trail was too challenging in parts for the average recreational cyclist.”
“With this in mind the Trust, under the chairmanship of Terry Stevens, approached the Gibbston Community Association and key landowners, Gibbston Valley Station and Peregrine Wines, to identify support for upgrading the trail to suit a wider cross section of people. After consultation with the Gibbston Community Association we got agreement from everyone involved including seven other landowners who provided easements.”
Mr McQuilkin said the trail, which has a spectacular backdrop, now has a maximum 1 in 10 grade making it achievable for a wide cross section of users. He paid tribute to the work of Wilson Contractors in developing the trail to a high standard, which has been commended by the New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT). “I also pass on our thanks to the Queenstown Lakes District Council and its Parks and Reserves team for their support throughout the upgrade and in particular for the outstanding signage in place along the trail.”
Gibbston is gaining a high profile as a cycling destination and Mr McQuilkin congratulated operators including Gibbston Valley Winery for providing a range of facilities to attract bikers to the area. “Such amenities as the Rabbit Ridge Bike Park add to the many attractions, particularly the prominent Central Otago wineries, already available in Gibbston. There is no doubt the area will see an upsurge in visitors because of the efforts being undertaken by Gibbston people.”
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden considered the Queenstown Trail is an excellent example of the council partnering with Trusts and the community. “The Gibbston Trail upgrade reflects that ongoing partnership which has created a wonderful asset for the community.”
Nine landowners who provided easements for the Gibbston River Trail upgrade were presented with certificates marking their contribution. Their names will also be listed on the Wall of Recognition on the Queenstown Trail.
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