The Gibbston River Trail follows the scenic Kawarau River and includes plenty of chances for pit stops at local vineyards. With a start at either Waitiri Creek Winery or The Wine Kitchen how hard can it be? Cruise your way through the “Valley of the Vines” along the bluffs high above the roaring Kawarau River stopping at the lookouts for picnic lunches or at one of the many vineyards for a tasting of the wines from the world famous Gibbston Region.
The Gibbston River Trail is an easy grade 3 gravel trail with a few farm sties that you will have to lift your over between Peregrine Winery and the Wine Kitchen. At the Wine Kitchen taste wines from Van Asche and Hawkshead, two well-known local wineries, or wander along to the historic Kawarau Bridge - the home of Bungy Jumping.
The easiest part of the trail (grade 1) extends down the Gibbston valley between Waitiri Creek and Peregrine Vineyards. The flat trail runs parallel to the road between the wineries. Waitiri Creek has wonderful lunches to combine with tastings and Peregrine is home to some of New Zealand’s most awarded wines. A 2.4km easy bike loop, known as the Waitiri Loop is also worth riding between courses from Waitiri Creek Winery.
The trail between Peregrine and The Wine Kitchen is more difficult grade 2 or 3 trail on loose gravel. The trail undulates sharply in places, but can still be completed by most family members who are prepared to take their time and enjoy the ride.
Our only suggestion is take lots of water - the intense heat in Gibbston is one of the reasons such wonderful wines can be grown.
You can also link the Gibbston River Trail with a ride up Gibbston Back Road and back down Coal Pit Road. These are very quite back-country roads and give you the feeling of cruising through many of the vineyard regions of France. There are a number of wines to stop and try wines such as the fabulous Brennan Vineyard on the Gibbston Back Road.
As this ride gets very near cliff faces, it is not reccommended for children.