NZ Wine Trail
Enjoy a combination of full day small group tours with local experienced winery guides from each of New Zealand's award winning winery districts including West Auckland, Waiheke Island, Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough, Waipara and Central Otago. You will be able to taste New Zealand's main varieties of Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Shiraz and visit the well known wineries such as Montana, Villa Maria and Corbans to many of our boutique wineries such as Mt Difficulty, Wooing Tree and Cloudy Bay. A taste extravaganza with a cruise on spectacular Milford Sound to finish.
- Meet and Greet on arrival in New Zealand
- New Zealand Airport Transfers
- English/Foreign speaking guide depending on arrangements
- Quality hotel accommodation, twin/double rooms, (single rooms available with single supplement) all with private facilities
- Cooked Breakfasts (B) and Dinners (D) where indicated on the itinerary or to be included by arrangement.
- Tour admissions as per itinerary. (eg scenic boat cruises, cultural events). Please see itinerary for specifics.
- Touring in a modern air conditioned vehicle, type depending on arrangements
- Complimentary Travel Kit including travel vouchers, support documentation and a New Zealand Map.
Self Drive Rental Vehicle - Private Car & Driver/Guide (or a combination)
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN AUCKLAND; NEW ZEALAND
Arrive at Auckland International Airport where you will be met by our staff who will provide your final touring documents and vouchers. Transfer into Auckland City stopping en route to take in the views over the city and two harbours from Mt Eden, which is the tallest of the many extinct volcanic cones around which Auckland is sited. The balance of the day is free to rest.
Day 2 - THE WEST AUCKLAND WINERIES
Today a full day guided tour of the West Auckland wineries in a van with a small group (max 7 people) is included. Most of the vineyards here were originally established early this century by immigrants from Europe. These include Corbans 1902, Babich 1916, Selaks 1934 and Soljans 1937. Because of the slightly warmer temperature than the southern vineyards the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs which are arguably the best of the West Auckland wines have a noticeably different flavour than those produced further south. Includes visits to 5 of the best wineries in the Henderson Valley and Kumeu areas, plus a drive out to Muriwai Beach on the Tasman Sea coast to view the Gannet Colony (birds nest July / April).
Café style lunch is included...
Day 3 - WAIHEKE ISLAND WINERIES
From Auckland it is 35 minutes by high-speed catamaran across the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf to Matiatia on Waiheke Island. You will be met on arrival by your guide for a small group tour of Waiheke Island with a special focus on the boutique wineries. Since the 1970s the island's Mediterranean climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry with low quantities of high quality fruit. Among the better-known wineries are Goldwater, Mudbrick, Peninsula Estate and Stonyridge. Over the next 5 hours enjoy a private tour of the wineries with wine tasting included. You will also get to see some of the beautiful beaches, taste olive oil at one of the Olive Mills and visit one or two of the art studios for which Waiheke Island is so well known. At the conclusion of the tour you will be returned to Matiatia Wharf for the return ferry to Auckland. Or you may elect to stay on and relax and explore the galleries and studios and enjoy a café dinner at Onetangi, and return to Auckland on a later ferry.
Day 4 - AUCKLAND / ROTORUA + SIGHTS
This morning fly to Rotorua. You will be met on arrival and taken directly on a half day sightseeing tour of Rotorua which will include Rainbow Springs to see the large trout and rare kiwi birds, and a guided tour of Te Puia - Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see the geysers and other international thermal activity and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Maori are being taught traditional carving and weaving skills.
In the evening enjoy a Hangi dinner and concert of Maori song and dance, including the famous Haka, on a local Marae (Maori Village site).
Day 5 - ROTORUA / TAUPO / NAPIER (225 KMS)
This morning travel south through vast pine forests to Wairakei and Taupo on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake stopping en route to view the spectacular Huka Falls on the Waikato River. Taupo which is sited on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake is a very popular holiday resort particularly with New Zealanders and is world renown for the quality trout fishing in the area. Suggest spend some time here and visit Scenic Cellars which is one of the best wine shops in New Zealand.
From Taupo drive east across the Kaimanawa Ranges into the sunny Hawkes Bay. This is an important fruit and vegetable growing area and boasts some of New Zealand's finest wineries.
Suggest dine this evening in the lovely old building that once housed the Marist Brothers at Mission Estate. Other options are to dine at Sileni Estate or Craggy Range
Day 6 - THE HAWKES BAY WINERIES
Today enjoy a full day (7 hour) small group tour exploring some of the Hawkes Bays finest wineries with an experienced local wine guide. Among them are:- Mission Estate Winery established by the Marist Brothers about 100 years ago, Esk Valley, Ngatarawa Wines, Sileni Estate, John Buck's Te Mata Estate Winery, Vidals, CJ Pask, Brookfields, Kim Crawford Wines, Sacred Hill and Clearview Estate Winery. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot are the main varieties. Picnic lunch is included.
Day 7 - NAPIER / THE WAIRARAPA / MARTINBOROUGH (252 KMS)
Napier was devastated by a huge earthquake in 1931 and has since been rebuilt in an art deco style of architecture. Suggest this morning take a walk around the city and along Marine Parade before driving south through Hastings and the picturesque Hawkes Bay sheep and cattle farmlands to the Wairarapa.
In recent years the area around the town of Martinborough has emerged as a leading wine region. Among the better-known wineries are Palliser Estate, Lintz Estate, Margrain Vineyard and Te Karangi Wines. Chardonnays, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are among the leading varieties produced here. The afternoon visit selected wineries and the Martinborough Wine Shop.
Day 8 - MARTINBOROUGH / PICTON / BLENHEIM
This morning drive across the Rimutuka Ranges and through the Hutt Valley into Wellington City for a short sightseeing tour of New Zealand's capital city including a visit to Te Papa - the National Museum where there are some wonderful exhibits and inter-active displays.
In the afternoon depart Wellington on a 3 hour ferry cruise across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. The last part of the cruise through the Marlborough Sounds is especially scenic. On arrival travel across the hill (29 kms) to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough Wine Region.
Day 9 - THE MARLBOROUGH WINERIES
Fifty years ago there was hardly a commercial grape grown here. Now this Marlborough district is the top wine producing area in New Zealand with its wines winning awards around the world. A day visiting the leading wineries on a small group tour. Among the leading wineries here are; Wither Hills, Forrest Estate, Herzog, Grove Mill, Framminghams, Cloudy Bay, Highfield Estate, Lawson's Dry Hills, Allan Scott Wines, Brancott- Montana, Nobilo, Villa Maria, Shingle Peak, Cellier Le Brun and Wairau River Wines. .
In the evening dine at one of the top wineries such as Hunters Winery, Herzog or Allan Scott Wines.
Day 10 - BLENHEIM / KAIKOURA / CHRISTCHURCH (312 KMS)
This morning travel south to Kaikoura for a Whale watch cruise. Sperm whales, which are the largest of all the toothed Whales and grow to about 66 ft in length are seen in these waters 95% of days year round. There are also pods of Dolphins to be seen and Seal colonies around the rocky shoreline.
In the afternoon continue south to the Waipara Wine Region north of Christchurch for a visit to Canterbury House Winery and / or Pegasus Bay, which are two of the largest in the area. Then drive on down the Pacific Coast and across the sheep and cropping farmlands of the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.
Day 11 - CHRISTCHURCH / QUEENSTOWN
This morning fly south to Queenstown. On arrival you will be collected from the airport for a small group tour of Queenstown which takes you up Queenstown Hill to enjoy the panoramic views. Then continue to the Kawarau Bridge where you can watch the daring bungy jumping to the river below. Enjoy wine tasting at the Gibbston Valley Winery, and drive on past pretty Lake Hayes to historic Arrowtown. Gold was discovered here in the 1860s sparking a huge gold rush. After a stroll through the streets return to Queenstown crossing the famous Shotover River.
Day 12 - THE CENTRAL OTAGO WINERIES
Today take a small group tour with local expert guides exploring some of the very good Central Otago wineries. This is a relatively young wine growing area, but in 1999 there was an 80% increase in the grape harvest and wine making has really taken off. Among the leading wineries are Amisfield, Chard Farm, Peregrine and the Gibbston Valley Winery, which are located in the Lake Hayes/ Gibbston Valley areas. The tour takes you through the Kawarau Gorge to Bannockburn where Akarua, Carrick, Mt Difficulty Wines and Olssens are located. The Central Otago Pinot Noirs are especially good. A platter lunch is included.
Day 13 - MILFORD SOUND DAY EXCURSION (COACH/CRUISE / AIR)
This morning travel by coach around Lake Wakatipu and across the picturesque Southland countryside to Te Anau and Fiordland National Park. The scenery is stunning with high mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age Glaciers. There are clear rushing streams and cascading waterfalls set in magnificent native rainforest. Stop en route to view the Mirror Lakes and The Chasm. On arrival at Milford Sound board the MV Milford Monarch and cruise down the fiord past Mitre Peak to the open sea. Seals, penguins and dolphins are often seen. Lunch is served aboard. After the boat berths, transfer to the Milford Sound air strip for a wonderful scenic flight back to Queenstown (40 minutes). From the air there are amazing views over Fiordland and Aspiring National Parks with their high snow capped mountains, glaciers and lakes high in the mountains, tumbling waterfalls and rivers set amidst dense natural rain forest.
Day 14 - DEPART QUEENSTOWN
Free until transfer to Queenstown Airport; and check in for your flight.