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This post is part of our Australia/New Zealand Series. You can find the rest of the series here.
On Day 8, we spent our first full day in Queenstown taking a self-guided tour with Around the Basin Bike Tours. Not only did we get to marvel at the perfect landscape that is New Zealand, but we got to sample amazing wines and try bungy jumping for the first time! Come along with us as we enjoy biking the wineries of New Zealand’s Central Otago region.
- Adventures – Write-ups of the activities we enjoyed throughout the day.
- Hotel Spotlight – See our review of the DoubleTree Queenstown (coming soon).
Around the Basin
Early in the trip-planning process, I found out about the extensive trail system that runs through this region of New Zealand’s south island. I decided that biking the trails was a must-do item during our five-day visit, especially since wineries were involved.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a bike-rider by any means. The one time I took a bike ride in the past 20-ish years was super difficult for me. This time around, Jesse and the guide had to teach me how to use…wait for it…GEAR SHIFTS AND BRAKES located on the HANDLE BARS! Mind blown. (Preteen Brooke had a single speed bike with pedal brakes.)
Around the Basin Bike Tours popped up during several of my searches and seemed to be highly-rated, so we booked our tour through them. Conveniently, we were able to take the free shuttle from the DoubleTree to the tour company’s office/meeting spot in downtown Queenstown. After checking out the bike selection and maps, we loaded up and set out on a 20-minute drive to the trail. Our driver dropped us off in Arrowtown, at the start of The Arrow River Trail. He made sure we were comfortable with our bikes and helmets, knew all the proper safety measures (ride on the LEFT,) and had plenty of water. After a short walk around Arrowtown, we took off down the trail! The trail closely followed alongside the bright blue water of the Arrow and Kawarau Rivers. As you can see from the pictures below, the scenery was breathtaking!
AJ Hackett Bungy
After about seven miles of riding, we arrived at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge. There were plenty of spots to sit our bikes down and watch the crazy bungy jumpers. Bungy jumping is something that had been on our New Zealand bucket list, so we decided to forego a couple of the additional wineries and bungy jump instead! The cool thing about this place is that the 43m (141 ft) bungy was the world’s very first commercial bungy jump. Both Jesse and I successfully completed our jumps…and are still here to write about it. Our GoPro, on the other hand, is at the bottom of the Kawarau River, along with the first-hand footage of Jesse’s jump (and our bike ride). Author’s note: Listen to your significant other if they tell you taking a camera is a bad idea while throwing yourself over a bridge.
Luckily, we have professional movies of both jumps that you can see here!
Gibbston Valley Winery
After bungy jumping, we hit the trail again and quickly arrived at Gibbston Valley Winery. The onsite restaurant provided a perfect lunch stop. We opted for the Wine Cave Tour as well, so we were able to see the vineyard, caves, and enjoy a tasting in a small-group setting. I loved the wine so much that I talked Jesse into letting me join the wine club! We are looking forward to remembering our amazing time in New Zealand over glasses of wine throughout 2017. Tip: Instead of paying to ship a case home, check out the wine club options available at the winery. Usually it’s free to join, you get wine discounts, little to no shipping cost, free tours, and all the tastings you could ever want!
Our last stop of the day was at Peregrine Wines. It was a quick stop, but the wines were delicious, and we got to take a stroll through the barrel room. This winery is involved with the conservation of two of New Zealand’s native birds…which is why the winery branding is a bird! When we finished, our tour van was waiting for us at a nearby tavern.
We had such a wonderful day biking along the Arrow and Kawarau Rivers, bungy jumping, and sipping wine. Overall, we spent 7 hours riding the 10 miles at a nice, leisurely pace. I would definitely recommend the full day tour over the half day. As I mentioned before, we would have been able to visit a couple more wineries if we had not gone bungy jumping. The day is yours to plan as you see fit! Around the Basin Bike Tours provided us the opportunity to experience the Central Otago region in such a unique fashion. We highly recommend the experience! If you would like to book a tour, you can find the company’s information here. As Jesse would say, CHEERS!
We received complementary tours from Around the Basin Bike Tours in exchange for our review.
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