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8 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Gibbston Valley Wine Region, New Zealand

8 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Gibbston Valley Wine Region, New Zealand

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New Zealand is famous for its wine, and if you’re partial to sipping on Pinot Noir, then you have to visit the Gibbston Valley wine region while you’re in Queenstown

As a Queenstown local and wine lover, I’ve visited the Gibbston Valley to go sightseeing and wine tasting more times than I can count. There are lots of fantastic wineries here, and I love coming back to discover new ones as often as I can. Plus, it’s a year-round Queenstown activity

So if you’re looking for the lowdown on how to visit the Gibbston Valley, then look no further. This blog covers everything you need to know before visiting, from the best wineries to the easiest ways to get around. You can take a day trip, stay overnight, or enjoy a wine tour, and this guide is designed to help you choose the best option for you. Read on to plan your trip and enjoy all those tasty wines! 

Don’t have time to read the full article? The Gibbston Valley Wine Region is one of the most sought-after destinations for wine lovers worldwide. If you’d like to visit this picturesque paradise, I absolutely love this sampler wine tour. It offers a great wine selection at some of the best wineries, and the views are just stunning.

1. About the Gibbston Valley

Bailey enjoys wine at Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown
The wine is so good!
Bailey walks the vines in the Gibbston Valley wine region
Just checking on the grapes!

The Gibbston Valley Wine Region – aka “the Valley of the Vines” – is actually a subregion of the Central Otago Wine Region. Central Otago is considered one of the best wine regions in the whole of New Zealand. Gibbston Valley is the part that’s closest to Queenstown, so it’s pretty easy to visit. In fact, it’s only about a 30-minute drive from the city center.

Gibbston Valley is a high-altitude wine area. This means that there’s a big temperature change between day and night, which leads to ripe and balanced grapes. Summers in Gibbston Valley are hot and dry, while winters are cold, and tougher conditions usually lead to better grapes for winemaking. It’s a bit like how diamonds are made under pressure!

The region is best known for Pinot Noir, so if you’re a fan of reds, then you’re in for a treat. There are lots of award-winning Pinot Noirs to try in the Gibbston Valley! However, you can also find some amazing Chardonnays, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blancs, and Rieslings here. With so many tasty varietals, I highly recommend taking a Gibbston Valley wine tour.

This area also boasts the largest wine cave in New Zealand, as well as beautiful bike trails that offer stunning views of the blue Kawarau River (which was featured in The Lord of the Rings!). With incredible wine, fun activities, and beautiful scenery, you really can’t go wrong in the Gibbston Valley. I always take my friends and family here when they visit.

2. Where is the Gibbston Valley?

Two ladies at Waitiri Creek Wines near Queenstown in the Gibbston Valley
This place is the perfect spot on a warm summer day!

The Gibbston Valley is 28 kilometers (17 miles) from central Queenstown, and it only takes around half an hour to drive there. Basically, it’s super easy to get to. I love living so close to such a fantastic wine region – it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle with a chilled glass of wine. 

Related Read: The Gibbston Valley is such a nice area with lovely views. If you’re driving here, be sure to read my guide on things to know about renting a car in Queenstown.

3. When is the best time to visit the Gibbston Valley?

Bailey tastes wine at the Gibbston Valley Winery in the Gibbston Valley, New Zealand
Yum!
bottles of wine on a shelf at a winery in Gibbston Valley
So much good wine!

Summer is the best time to visit because the weather is warm, so you can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful valley views. Plus, there are so many fun summer activities in Queenstown. With that said, you can visit any time of year because the wineries are open year-round and have indoor tasting rooms. It’s not a weather-dependent activity, but I do love sitting out in the sunshine and sipping wine! 

4. What are the best wineries in the Gibbston Valley?

The wine cave at The Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown, New Zealand
This is New Zealand’s largest wine cave at Gibbston Valley Winery!

Gibbston Valley Winery

Arguably the most famous winery in Gibbston Valley is the Gibbston Valley Winery. It was actually founded by Alan Brady, who was a bit of a pioneer. He first planted commercial vines in the Gibbston Valley in 1983, despite a lot of naysayers insisting that the region was too cold to produce good wine. 

After proving everybody wrong, Alan opened the Gibbston Valley Winery in 1990, and it has become more and more successful with time. In fact, it’s one of the region’s biggest wine estates, and there’s a ton to do at this location. You can take a tour of the largest wine cave in New Zealand, enjoy a gourmet meal at the restaurant, treat yourself at the spa, and of course, enjoy a tasting session!

You can book a 30-minute tasting session that includes 3 local wine tastings and a tour of the wine cave for $20.50 NZD per person. It’s available daily in May and June at 10 am, 11 am, and 3 pm, but I’m hoping they’ll add more tours as the season progresses. And if you do visit in the summer, those wine caves feel super refreshing!

Or, if you’d like a slightly more luxurious experience, you can book this 45-minute tour which includes a full winery tour and tasting of 4 premium wines for $38 NZD. Tours are offered daily at 12 pm and 4 pm. When I went, the tour guide, Zac, did a fantastic job of describing the wines and made the whole experience very approachable.

If you’re visiting the winery on your own, tastings are available from 10 am to 5 pm daily. However, it’s best to book in advance if you can, because this winery is really popular!

There’s also a cheese factory and deli at the Gibbston Valley Winery, so you can pair your wines with an amazing meat and cheese platter if you like. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese with wine? It’s one of my favorite foodie duos! The Cheesery and Deli is open 10 am – 5 pm, and the onsite restaurant is open for lunch 12 pm – 3 pm.

I always enjoy visiting Gibbston Valley Winery, and recommend it to everyone I know. Since it’s pretty much the area’s flagship wine estate, I think it’s a must, especially if you’re visiting on a day trip from Queenstown

Mt Rosa

Mt Rosa is another of my favorite wineries in the Gibbston Valley, and it’s one of the newest, too! The first grapes were planted in 2002, so it’s pretty impressive how fast it has garnered such an excellent reputation. Plus, it’s located just a 5-minute drive from the Gibbston Valley Winery, making it super convenient.

The Cellar Door first opened in 2007, although a brand new, purpose-built one was established in 2021. In the summer, you can relax outside in the courtyard, or there’s always a roaring fire inside to keep you warm during Queenstown’s winter months. I love coming to taste wine here, and the 2014 Pinot Noir is my favorite wine of any Queenstown winery! 

You’ve got two options for tastings at Mt Rosa. You can either taste five different wines or choose the special Pinot Noir tasting. Given how much I love their Pinot, I would definitely recommend the latter.

You can book your tasting online between 11 am and 5 pm daily, although they often do have space if you turn up on the day. Both options cost $20 NZD per person. But if you buy 2 bottles of wine, then the tasting fee will be waived – I’d say that’s just good economics, wouldn’t you?

Tasting room at Kinross Winery in the Gibbston Valley
The tasting room at Kinross Winery in the Gibbston Valley

Kinross

Kinross isn’t technically a winery – it’s actually a cellar door where you can drink wines from several different boutique vineyards nearby. It’s a great place to experience the variety of the Gibbston Valley, and they’ve also got some beautiful accommodations on site!

I definitely think that you should take advantage of Kinross while you’re in Gibbston Valley because they’ve got wines here that you’ll really struggle to find anywhere else. Lots of cellar doors claim to be boutique, but this one is the real deal. 

There are a couple of different tasting experiences at Kinross. You can enjoy their 40-minute Classic Experience for $25 NZD per person, or if you’ve got a group of 6 or more, you can do the special Pinot Noir tasting for $45 NZD each. Gibbston Valley is famous for Pinot Noir, so I definitely recommend this if you have enough people, as you’ll get to try some of the region’s rare gems. 

If you want to do either of these experiences, you’ll need to book online. Alternatively, you can always turn up on the day and enjoy the Flight of Fancy experience (you take a quick quiz and then get a personalized tasting based on your answers!). 

Like most of these vineyards, the tasting room is located right off the highway. The Tasting Room is open every day from 10 am to 4:30 pm. If you want to grab a bite to eat before or after, their Bistro is open from 10 am to 6 pm. If you prefer to stay the night, the Kinross Boutique Vineyard Hotel is one of the best accommodations in the region (but more on that below).

Peregrine Wines

Before I start talking about the wines at Peregrine, I’ve got to mention the architecture! The building is a bit of a local icon. It’s super modern and was actually designed to look like a falcon’s wing in flight, and it’s won quite a few awards for its eye-catching style.

The Cellar Door at Peregrine is open from Monday to Saturday, and you have to book a space online as they don’t accept walk-ins. However, although you’re required to book, you can actually do the 20-minute Cellar Door tasting for free! I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t know of any other wineries that offer free tastings without any obligation to buy a bottle afterward. Still, I guess that’s how confident Peregrine is that you’ll love their wine! 

If you do want a more in-depth experience, you can book the Beyond the Barrels tour and go behind the scenes for $75 NZD per person. You can also do the full Vine to Glass journey for $100 NZD, which takes you around the entire estate, from the vineyard and the cellar to the boardroom where all of the important decisions are made. 

In my opinion, a visit to Peregrine is one of the most romantic things to do near Queenstown. There’s something about the stunning architecture and scenery (and wine, of course!) that feels very date-worthy.

Tasting wine and beer at Waitiri Creek Wines and Cargo Brewery in the Gibbston Valley, New Zealand
Tasting wine and beer at Waitiri Creek Wines and Cargo Brewery in the Gibbston Valley, New Zealand

Waitiri Creek Wines/Cargo Brewery

Waitiri Creek is another winery that almost has more awards than vines! They used to operate the Church Cellar Door and Cafe, but unfortunately, they are no longer offering tastings there. However, you can roll up your sleeves and join in with the grape picking instead!

You’ll need to get in touch with the winery online to go grape picking. If you’ve never been, I recommend trying it sometime! It’s a fun, hands-on way to learn more about winemaking, and it’s definitely not your typical cellar tour!

While it is a shame that you can’t do tastings at Waitiri Creek anymore, all is not lost because you can still visit the on-site Cargo Brewery! So you can enjoy a beer tasting and then buy some wine to take home. The beer hall is undergoing renovations, but the new venue should be open in mid-2024. This is always a good place to visit if there are people in your group who don’t like wine and prefer beer instead. 

The Church Cellar Door and Cafe

The Church Cellar Door and Cafe is one of the most unique places to go wine tasting in the Gibbston Valley. As the name suggests, it was once a Presbyterian church in the small town of Wangaloa, and it dates all the way back to 1894. 

However, in the year 2000, Waitiri Creek Wines bought it and moved it out to the Gibbston Valley to operate as their cellar door.

Then, in 2017, it was taken over by the owners of Stronsay Farm and now operates as a tasting room, cafe, and restaurant, serving Mt. Edwards and Stronsay wines. You can do a 45-minute tasting here for $25 NZD and sample a range of wines from Central Otago, which is pretty fun to do inside an old church! Plus, the grounds are huge, so I recommend taking a stroll afterward to walk off all that tasty wine. 

The place is open from 11 am to 7:30 pm. And if you’d like some snacks alongside your wine while there, try the baked brie with chutney and thyme. Yum!

Related Read: If you prefer nightlife, I’ve listed my favorite party places in Queenstown that I think you’ll enjoy. There’s everything from pub crawls to nightclubs, so hop to it and have some fun!

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5. What are the best wine tours in the Gibbston Valley?

Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown

Wine a cheese board on a winery tour in the Gibbston Valley winery
Wine tours are the best!

This boutique wine tour takes you to four wineries in the Gibbston Valley, so you can experience some of the best Pinot Noir it has to offer – as well as other types, of course. You’ll visit three of the wineries for tastings and then get a meat and cheese platter with one full glass of wine for lunch. 

You’ll be in a small group with a maximum of 12 people, so this feels more like going wine tasting with friends than a big, commercial tour. I actually think this is a great opportunity for solo travelers in Queenstown to make new friends, as it’s always easy to bond over wine. 

This tour really focuses on variety, so you don’t just feel like you’re trying the same thing over and over. The guides are so fun and very informative, and they don’t rush you, either! 

This experience costs $239 NZD per person, including hotel pickup and drop-off. It departs Queenstown at 11 am and lasts for 5.5 hours. I think this is great timing because while I love a lunchtime glass of wine, starting too early in the morning can spell disaster if you’re a bit of a lightweight! For my adrenaline-seekers out there, they also offer a 45-minute jet boat ride before the wine tour for an additional $121 NZD.

If you’re ready to travel around Queenstown enjoying a variety of scrumptious wines, you can book your tickets here.

Gourmet Food and Wine Tour

A wine glass with red wine in it in the Gibbston Valley winery
Looks good to me!

This small-group wine tour takes you to the Gibbston Valley and two more of central Otago’s subregions (Cromwell and Bannockburn) to sample the best wine that Queenstown has to offer. The itinerary includes a visit to the famous Gibbston Valley Winery, where you’ll get to explore the wine cave. This is a must-do on any wine tour in this part of the world. 

One thing I really like about this tour is that in addition to tastings at 3 different wineries, it includes lunch at The Stoaker Room. This is a unique restaurant where all of the food is cooked in French Oak Pinot Noir barrel cookers (aka Stoakers) – how cool is that?! And, of course, your lunch will be expertly paired with wines from a local Cromwell winery. 

The day ends with a visit to Arrowtown, which is one of my favorite places to go sightseeing in Queenstown. You can visit the historic Chinese settlement, enjoy the atmosphere of the bustling main street, and visit the Remarkable Sweet Shop to find candy from all over the world! 

The tour costs $289 NZD per person and begins at 9:30 am. It’s only available on select days, and since it’s a small group tour, it books out pretty fast, so I recommend reserving your spot well in advance. The price includes hotel pickup and drop-off from Queenstown, all tastings, and lunch (with vegetarian options available with advance notice).

It lasts for 6.5 hours in total, so you can still grab dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Queenstown in the evening. That is if you haven’t slipped into a happy wine and food coma by then!

Enjoy a truly delicious lunch and plenty of top-quality local wines on this scenic tour of the Central Otago Wine Region.

Hop-on Hop-off Wine Tour

Grape vines with mountain views in the Gibbston Valley Winery, New Zealand
So beautiful!

I love hop-on, hop-off wine tours because they give you so much flexibility! And with this wine tour, you can choose either a full or a half-day experience, so you can plan accordingly based on how much time (and stamina) you have. 

There are 23 stops on this bus route, and you can decide which ones you want to explore. The bus arrives at some fantastic wineries, including ones near Lake Hayes, like Nockie’s Palette, as well as some of my Gibbston Valley favorites, like Gibbston Valley Winery, Kinross, and Mt Rosa. 

It’s safe to say that this tour is ideal for wine tasting, but there are also plenty of non-wine-related stops along the way. For example, if you’re a bungy jumping enthusiast, you can stop at the Kawarau Bungy Bridge and take the plunge if you’re feeling brave (although, I highly recommend you do this before going wine tasting!). 

There’s also a stop at Canyon Brewing, which offers incredible views of the Shotover Canyon, and Oxbow Adventure Co, where you can go off-roading or clay bird shooting. This tour offers tons of adventure activities in the Queenstown area on top of all the amazing scenery and wine-tasting opportunities.

It costs $89.50 NZD for a full-day ticket, and you can depart at 10:30 am onwards from The Station. Buses leave every 45 minutes. To be honest, I think it’s best to leave as early as possible to make the most of your time! Alternatively, you can book a half-day ticket for $65.50 NZD and go from 12:10 pm onwards. 

This tour doesn’t include tastings or activities since there’s no set itinerary – you get to decide what you want to do! However, you do get some local discounts along with your ticket.

When you get your tickets, you’ll also get a timetable to help you know when the next bus is arriving. If you’re doing the full-day experience, you’ve got a little more flexibility. However, it’s a good idea to know where you want to go if you’re leaving in the afternoon since you won’t have as much time. 

For those looking for a little more flexibility on their wine-tasting adventure, book your Hop-on Hop-off ticket here!

Queenstown Wine Sampler Tour

Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at Gibbston Valley Winery, New Zealand
Cheers!
A glass of red wine during a tasting at the Gibbston valley Winery
The cards help with the tasting!

I love this wine sampler tour because it takes you to some of my favorite Gibbston Valley wineries! You’ll visit the Gibbston Valley Winery itself (of course!) and get to explore the famous wine cave, as well as Kinross, Mt Rosa, and the Church Cellar Door and Cafe. That’s a lot of Gibbston’s top wineries in one tour.

You’ll get to try a ton of different wines – including mulled wines – and you can choose to buy lunch at Kinross, as well. They make really good pizzas! 

There’s a maximum of 14 travelers per group on this tour, and the guides are great at bringing everyone together! It’s such a good way to bond, and I love the itinerary because it takes you to all of the best places to drink wine in the Gibbston Valley. The tastings you get are also pretty generous, as you’ll sample over 20 wines throughout the course of the day. Afterward, you and your new friends can round off the evening by eating at a delicious local restaurant.

The tour costs $219 NZD, which includes hotel pickup and drop-off and all of your tastings. It’s available daily, beginning at 10 am, and lasts for around 6 hours, which I think is ideal. It’s enough time to really savor the wine, but not so long that you end up getting tired.

This wine tour is a personal favorite of mine, and you can try it out for yourself by clicking here!

Bike the Wineries Full-Day Ride Queenstown

Bike racks at Gibbston Valley winery, New Zealand
The bike tours are fun!

One of the best ways to explore the Gibbston Valley is by bike, and you can do just that with this self-guided bike tour! Taking a bike ride around Arrowtown is one of the best activities on the South Island. It allows you to see all the sights, feel the fresh air, and sample wine as you go!

You’ll be picked up in central Queenstown and driven to Arrowtown, where you’ll be set up with your bike or e-bike. Then, you’ll get a map of the area’s best trails, including the Gibbston River Trail and the Arrow River Trail, with the top wineries all marked out for you. That way, you can hit as many wineries as you want while taking things at your own pace and enjoying a self-guided tour. 

I actually think that this bike tour is even more flexible than the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour since you don’t have to wait for the next bus! 

As well as being home to lots of excellent wineries, the Gibbston Valley is a truly beautiful area, so exploring on two wheels is fantastic. Plus, if you like, you can spend a little time exploring charming Arrowtown before you head out, and you’ll get to watch bungy jumpers as you cycle over the Kawarau Suspension Bridge (not to mention see an iconic LOTR filming location!).

And if you decide to buy a bottle (or a case!) of wine at one of the wineries you visit along the way, no worries! The tour operator will pick it up for you before you take the shuttle back to Queenstown.

The tour costs $105 NZD for a mountain bike or $155 NZD for an e-bike, and the experience lasts around 7.5 hours, so it’s definitely a full-day activity. This is such an amazing way to explore the beauty of the Gibbston Valley, and it gives you the chance to work off all of the wine and cheese you consume throughout the day! 

Combine an active workout, unlimited sightseeing, and fantastic wine all in one on this full-day biking tour.

Related Read: If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you have to check out these LOTR tours in Glenorchy. I’m no super-fan, but I had a blast and there were so many beautiful spots to take photos.

Why I Book Tours on Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book all of my tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here

6. Can you visit the Gibbston Valley without a tour?

A lady pours wine in Baileys glass on a wine tour in the Gibbston valley, New Zealand
More wine, please!

Yes, you can, and it’s actually pretty easy to do so! The only thing is that you’ll need a rental car and a designated driver, so make sure that there’s someone in your group who doesn’t mind missing out on all of the wine tastings. 

Do bear in mind that if you visit without a tour, you’ll need to pay the tasting fees, which usually vary between $25-$40 NZD. These are usually included with the tours, except for the self-guided options, so it’s not always that much cheaper to visit independently. You also need to make bookings for some of the wineries, which, again, a tour would handle for you. However, it’s usually easy to book online! 

7. Where to stay in the Gibbston Valley?

Kinross Boutique Vineyard Hotel

Remember earlier when I said that Kinross had some beautiful onsite accommodation? Well, I wasn’t kidding! 

The Kinross Boutique Vinyard Hotel is spacious, comfortable, and oh-so-peaceful, with huge beds and big private bathrooms. You’ll also have your own kitchenette, and, best of all, you’re just steps away from the cellar door, where you’ll be invited to enjoy a complimentary tasting with an internationally qualified sommelier during your stay. 

You can choose between mountain and vineyard views, and there’s also a hot tub and fire pit on site for guests to enjoy. It’s the perfect country escape, and I think it makes a very romantic getaway! Prices range between $350-$430 NZD per night, depending on the season, and you can book online here.

Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa

Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa is on the site of the Gibbston Valley Winery, so if you stay here, you won’t have far to travel after sampling all of their wines! 

Here, you’ll find luxurious private villas with big bedrooms, modern living spaces, and private decks. Plus, you’ll have access to the award-winning Gibbston Valley Spa, where you can treat yourself to a range of “vinotherapy” beauty treatments (not to mention all of the other amenities that the wine estate offers). You’ll even be asked about your wine preferences before arriving so that the wine fridge can be stocked appropriately! 

Rooms here start from $599 NZD per night, although they can cost upwards of $800 NZD during high season. It’s best to try and book well in advance to secure the best rate. Staying here certainly isn’t cheap, but I can’t think of a better way to make sure that you have a five-star experience in Gibbston Valley. You can reserve your spot by clicking here.

Judge & Jury Farm Retreat

If you’re an eco-conscious traveler, then this sustainable farm retreat is an awesome place to stay in Gibbston Valley. These cozy and chic self-contained cottages are super cute and are perfect for spending a peaceful night or two in Gibbston, away from the buzz of Queenstown. 

If you prefer to cook for yourself, you can opt to stay in a unit with a fully equipped kitchen and even a dishwasher, and there are also barbecues on site that you can use if you fancy grilling. The rooms also have flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, and separate dining areas, so you’ll feel right at home! 

The best thing about this place is that it’s so tranquil! It feels far removed from civilization, and you’ll be surrounded by sheep and even adorable lambs at the right time of the year. Rooms start at $440 NZD per night, but be warned, this place books up pretty far in advance. So, don’t hesitate too much if you want to stay here! You can reserve your spot on Booking.com.

8. Is visiting the Gibbston Valley worth it?

Vines of grapes in the Gibbston Valley near Queenstown, New Zealand
Yes, it’s beautiful!

Yes, absolutely! It’s a beautiful wine region in Queenstown and it’s a must-visit for wine lovers. Some of New Zealand’s best wine comes from here, so you can’t miss the chance to go tasting! I always love coming out here to see the sights and drink some delicious wine, especially the Pinot Noir (which I’ve mentioned several times because it’s that good!).

Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown

Bailey with two of her friends at Perky's - Floating Bar Queenstown at sunset
Fall in love with Queenstown at sunset!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
A cruise on the TSS Earnslaw is a unique way to explore!

Once you’re back in Queenstown after exploring the Gibbston Valley, there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy. Honestly, there are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites:

  • Watch a sunset – As the day draws to a close in Queenstown, make sure to head to the shores of Lake Wakatipu to watch a sunset. It’s one of the best viewpoints to watch the sun sink behind the Southern Alps. I like watching from Queenstown Beach or Perky’s Floating Bar where you get a view of the lake and delicious food and drinks too!
  • Go canyoning – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek as part of this Queenstown Canyoning Adventure with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
  • Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? This jet boating tour delivers! You’ll zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust me, it’s epic!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

If you’re looking to save money on travel insurance, we currently use and recommend SafetyWing. We’ve been using their coverage since 2018 and they’ve had our backs when we needed emergency flights and got sick overseas.

SafetyWing is one of the cheapest providers out there and covers everything from medical costs to lost luggage, travel delays, and emergency flights. A huge difference we’ve found between them and other companies is that they let you take out a policy AFTER leaving your home country. We’ve also found it handy that it’s a monthly payment rather than a lump sum and you get a refund for unused time.

SafetyWing has helped us out in some scary situations before and their affordable coverage has given us peace of mind.

Book your travel insurance with SafetyWing here!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey at Church Road winery in Napier NZ
Thanks for reading!

The Gibbston Valley is one of the best wine regions in all of New Zealand. I always look forward to spending the day here, and it’s a great place to take family and friends when they visit. I hope this guide has helped inform you on what to expect when you visit this gorgeous area.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, be sure to check out some of my other posts. I’ve got tons of road trips and even more Queenstown content. I’ll leave a few that I think you might like below.

25 Most BEAUTIFUL Places to Visit in New Zealand (that You Can’t Miss!)

7 Best Cafés to Drink Coffee in Queenstown

13 Best Stops on the Drive from Queenstown to Mount Cook

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