Welcome to our home in stunningly beautiful Gibbston, Central Otago, New Zealand. Affectionately known locally as the 'Valley of the Vines'; boutique vineyards producing some of the best Pinot Noirs in the world. Plus, we are only 25 minutes away from NZ's adventure capital, Queenstown. We moved here in 2015 and set about planting Pip's Orchard and renovating our classic weatherboard 1930's bungalow.
The journey to Pip's Orchard Bed &Breakfast.
We are Pip and Simon Norton and our journey starts in England. Originally from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, we arrived in Wellington, NZ in 2006 having lived in Namibia, Somalia, and Pakistan and Yorkshire. You'll see items around the house that we have collected on our travels. I must not forget the latest addition to the family, Meg, our black Labrador cross; the jury is still out as to what she is crossed with. So if you have any ideas? Currently, Springer Spaniel seems to be the favourite with Viszla a popular second.
We moved onto our four hectare plot in March 2015. Our classic weatherboard house had been moved here by truck in 2000 from Christchurch. As we found out, moving houses around the country is not uncommon in NZ. The original owners landscaped a beautiful garden full of native species including Cabbage Trees, Manuka, Hebe, Flax and Tussock grass all surrounded by Poplars. The Poplars in Gibbston give it quite a Tuscan feel and produce the most stunning Autumn colours, as do the Silver Birch trees which line our driveway.
So, after much discussion and post-its on an ideas board, we decided to plant an orchard, develop a vegetable plot and redesign the house into a Homestay/ Bed and Breakfast.
To be honest we are not farmers, not even that good at gardening, but we had a plan, a new lifestyle, and so we set to it. I googled everything I could find about permaculture and took a short class to get started. And so we planted our orchard. We chose plums, pears, apples, hazelnuts, cherries, apricots and peach. Plus Alder to fix nitrogen and we started to under-plant with gooseberry, strawberry, blueberry and walking onions. Neighbours supplied us with raspberries and currants.
There have been more successes than failures so far and we know a lot more about mulching, frost protection and rabbit fencing, still so much to learn though. However, 2018 has been our best harvest yet , the gooseberries, apricots, apples and peaches are all producing fruit. Plus, at my first attempt at gooseberry jam making, I won second prize in the preserves section of the local Agricultural and Pastoral Show. Onwards and upwards.
The Bed & Breakfast
For year's I have wanted to run a Bed & Breakfast ever since we stayed in a farmhouse Chambre D'hote in the middle of France when our eldest son was a toddler. He's now 26. So when we moved into Gibbston we finally had the opportunity and we set about re-configuring our 3 bedroom 1930's bungalow.
We created another bedroom from the existing living room, added in 2 ensuite shower rooms, redesigned our breakfast room and we turned the kitchen into an office and laundry. We then built an extension for a new kitchen and living room.
We wanted to create a welcoming, cosy atmosphere, where you can relax, sleep well in a warm comfortable bed, have a decent shower and enjoy a great breakfast. And all of this in one of the most spectacular parts of New Zealand. We wanted to provide everything we look for in a Bed & Breakfast. And we can't wait to welcome you to our home.