North Canterbury is an internationally renowned destination for wine and food. The region is home to 90 + vineyards, many grouped together in the Waipara Valley, which also boasts it’s own cycle trail. We took our ebikes up to Waipara for a day trip to check out what the region has to offer.
For New Zealanders, visiting vineyards and sampling beautiful wine and food has become a favourite pastime for many. Often vineyards will be clustered together in a valley giving visitors the great advantage to wine, dine and explore a few different vineyards in one trip.
For this great reason many of the regions across NZ have cut trails between different vineyards and promoted the use of bikes as an easy and convenient way to get around. You are probably familar with the popular trails such as the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail or the Hawkes Bay Trails that weave around some of the country’s best food, wine, art and scenery. Did you know Canterbury is blessed to have our very own Waipara Valley Vineyard Cycle Trail just 1 hour from Christchurch?
With some of the country’s most diversified land formations, from the volcanic Banks Peninsula to the clay and limestone soils of the Waipara and Waikari valleys, the North Canterbury region lends itself to highly varied and interesting soil types. Concentrated and expressive wines are grown here – particularly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
The roughly 10km cycle trail is a great way to explore and sample some of those vineyards of the Waipara Valley. The trail starts at the Glenmark Reserve but you are encourage to hop on and off anywhere you like. (Just remember the trail is not a loop so you will need to factor in your return journey.)
We began our Friday afternoon visit to Waipara at Greystone Winery where cellar door manager Fergus met us and gave us an introduction to the winery. Greystone’s journey began in 2000 and in 2008 the first wine was produced. Over the years Greystone has grown amid accolades and acclaim to be recognised as one of New Zealand’s best wineries.
The friendly Greystone team encourage you to explore their land via their loop trail that menders around the vines. A bottle of wine and some cheese from the cellar door would make the perfect picnic amongst the vines and the most romantic date or day out with the girls.
If you choose to ride the trails and explore a selection of cellar doors you may choose to either take a left under State Highway 1 which will take you through Ataahua, Glenmark Vicarage and Sherwood Estate or a right up the valley from Greystone to Black Estate where the views across the valley to the main divide are truly remarkable and a stop for lunch is highly recommended.
Upon returning to Greystone Wines after a few hours experiencing the impressive views, sunshine and the trails let Fergus treat you a glass of award winning wine and a selection of cheese in the late afternoon sun. The perfect way to finish a stunning day in North Canterbury.
We took two electric bikes up to Waipara but the trails are rideable with a Hybrid or MTB with only a few small hills. Mountain bikes, electric bikes and a bike rack can be rented from us from $55 a day.