I'm going to be honest with you, the last time I visited Gibbston Valley I was extremely bitter. I had lost the who's-going-to-be-the-designated-driver coin toss and ended up being the sober and bitter designated driver which meant that I was driving my friends through the most stunning vineyards so close to the godly nectar that is Otago wine but unable to join them in drinking it.
So when my best friend phoned me up and asked if I wanted to spend the day on Sunday exploring the wineries I flipped open my laptop and started googling where I could purchase a double headed coin. To my immense relief she then told me all about Around The Basin!
Bitter Betty be gone! No designated driver needed to be appointed from the group, if Oprah was here I'm sure she would be all YOU GET A WINE, HE GETS A WINE, SHE GETS A WINE, EVERYONE GETS A WINE! Multiple wines to be exact!
The full day tour starts out at 9am from Queenstown where you hop on a small bus and travel to Arrowtown. Bikes, helmets, maps and water is provided so it really is zero stress. Your super helpful guides make sure you are confident on your bike before you set off. My favourite aspect of this tour and something that makes it ideal for locals as well as tourists, is that it really is all yours. Once you have your map you can choose to set off immediately or chill out and explore arrowtown for a while. I personally require multiple coffees before I can function normally so we chose to sip lattes in the sun before we got on the trail.
However if I had realised how stunning the trail was going to be I would have drank that coffee like a Saturday night tequila shot and got straight on my bike! We were crossing suspension bridges, riding alongside small babbling streams and huge turquoise rivers while baby bunny rabbits skipped along the path not even bothered by our presence. The sun was shining and New Zealand was sparkling all around us.
As soon as we got onto the trail all thoughts of time disappeared and for this reason I definitely recommend doing the full day tour! We were so blown away by the scenery and having so much fun biking that the last thing we wanted to do was to rush.
On arriving to Gibbston Valley we were ready for a well deserved lunch, cheese to be more specific! We headed straight into the Gibbston valley cheesery and ordered ourselves a platter. The views while sitting in the little vineyard are as delicious as the cheese they serve!
It was around now that we started to think about the time again, there are 8 wineries in the valley that you can visit, we had planned to make it to 7. However we quickly abandoned the plan of sticking to a plan and decided to just enjoy ourselves as soon as we got to Peregrine winery.
The thing about wine tasting is that it isn't just about the actual tasting, the people that work there are so full of knowledge and stories and chatting to them about the wines and the area adds so much more to the whole experience.
One of the wineries that stood out to me was Kinross, their tasting consisted of trying wines from 5 different boutique wineries from around the valley. We sat outside in the sun on furniture made out of old wine barrels sipping wine as the local musician serenaded us.
As the day started to fade so did our legs, we had lost count of the number of glasses of wine we had had and we were having a brilliant chat with the lady at Brennan's winery. We were not going to make it back to the pick up spot in time we quickly called the phone number on our map.
The staff at Around The Basin were amazing and told us to sit tight! Hamish our guide came and got us and we were off. The group was super chatty the whole bus ride back, we talked about the trail and our favourite wines and who went to where. It turns out all the groups had done it completely differently, some making it to 3 wineries, some people hung out at the cheesery for the day, and then there was us with our final winery count of 6 which we were pretty proud of!
A huge thank you to the staff at Around The Basin for the most perfect day, this is a must do when in Queenstown!
Check out their tour options at : www.aroundthebasin.co.nz
For more photos of my trip check out my Instagram!
Wish You Were Here
Curious Camera :)