Taste your way through stunning scenery on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, including major wine growing areas and the best food experiences the country has to offer. This is a fantastic self-drive itinerary that’s well signposted and easy to follow, and on this touring route you’ll have the opportunity to taste and shop at more than 120 cellar doors, as well as a multitude of vineyard restaurants and cafés.
Your journey begins in the ‘fruit bowl’ of New Zealand – the Hawke’s Bay – which is famous for its boutique wineries, fruit orchards and pastureland. The capital, Wellington, is renowned as a foodie’s paradise with many independent cafes (more per capita than New York City!), coffee roasteries and gourmet shops – as the city also is compact in size it is ideal for exploration on foot.
Taking the InterIslander ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island, two nights are included in the beautiful Marlborough region, world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc production. A half day wine tour is included followed by a cruise on the Marlborough Sounds with a focus on the seafood production in the area including tastings of salmon, oysters and Greenshell Mussels.
Lastly, three nights are included in Queenstown which is home to an array of excellent restaurants which make the most of local produce. Spend a full day with a private guide to explore the wine and gourmet production of the Central Otago region which is renowned for its exceptional Pinot Noir wine.
Price includes meet & greet upon arrival, accommodation, all excursions on a private basis except the scenic cruise of Queen Charlotte Sounds, Full-size automatic rental vehicle including daily insurance, unlimited mileage, accident excess reduction and Neverlost GPS. Excludes international flights, optional activities and items not mentioned in Inclusions.
Day 1: Arrival into Auckland - Napier
Upon arrival at Auckland International Airport you will be met by a representative of Lightfoot Travel who will hand over your New Zealand documentation and transfer you to the Domestic Airport prior to your onward flight. Fly from Auckland to Napier airport (cost not included).
On arrival at Napier Airport pick up your hire car and drive to your accommodation in the beautiful countryside.
Stay: Greenhill Lodge
Day 2: Private guided cycling tour of Hawke's Bay
You will be met at your accommodation by your private cycling guide for a full day tour of Hawke’s Bay, allowing you to explore the wine region at a relaxed, yet active, manner – the fresh air is all around you.
Taste wonderful wines, meet fascinating artists, explore stunning scenery, absorb history, enjoy the challenge to the summit of Te Mata Peak for stunning views of the region (weather permitting) and enjoy a platter lunch at a winery restaurant.
Wineries of note include Clearview and Elephant Hill, while we can also incorporate The Filter Room for ales and cider,The Village Press for olives, as well as Silky Oak Chocolates and Arataki Honey. If you arrive on the weekend, spend a few hours like a Kiwi – tasting and purchasing local produce!
Stay: Greenhill Lodge
Day 3: Napier - Wellington
This morning drive south towards Wellington through Wairarapa wine region where there are charming historic townships to discover, Greytown and Martinborough are two of our favourites (approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes drive).
From Martinborough’s village explore up to 30 local vineyards. Many vineyards have vineyard cafes where you can make the most of the settled weather and relax outside.
Historic Greytown was New Zealand’s first planned inland town. Excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture line the main street and there is a wide choice of cafes and restaurants. Designer boutiques and quirky stores stock everything from handmade handbags, jewellery and art to gourmet chocolates, antiques, homeware and rare books.
Continue the drive south to Wellington (approximately 2 hours drive).
Stay: Museum Art Hotel
Day 4: Private guided walking tour of Wellington
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide to discover fresh tastes in New Zealand’s café capital, as you are introduced to Wellington, its local tastes, products and people. Stroll behind the scenes at some favourite Wellington food places with a personal guide, to taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the people behind some of the city’s best food. Duration of the excursion is approximately 3 hours).
Stay: Museum Art Hotel
Day 5: Wellington - Blenheim
This morning return your rental car before boarding the InterIslander Ferry to Picton.
The 92 kilometre journey between Wellington and Picton takes only three hours and has been described as “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”. From the wide decks of the Interislander ferries, take in the spectacular views of Wellington harbour, the wide expanse of the Cook Strait, and the majestic vistas of Queen Charlotte Sound. You may even be lucky enough to be catch sight of a dolphin or three as you cruise along.
On arrival at Picton InterIslander Terminal you will be met by your private car and driver and transferred to your accommodation in Blenheim.
Stay: Lake Timara Lodge
Day 6: Guided Vineyard & Marlborough Sounds tour
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver for a half day wine tour, tailored to your interests.
Enjoy the Marlborough vineyards, from globally renowned wineries to small, unique vineyards. You may choose to also visit local beer or schnapps distilleries, gourmet food producers such as olive oil or chocolate, or view the crafts at Quilters Barn.
In the afternoonn, depart Picton Marina for an afternoon scenic cruise in the Queen Charlotte Sound. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the area with seemingly endless bays and coves to explore and different scenery around each corner. During the cruise you will visit a New Zealand King Salmon Farm where you may go onto the farm to hand feed the salmon and learn the processes of salmon farming before sailing to Tio Point Oysters. You’ll have the opportunity to taste Regal Salmon, fresh Tio Point Oysters matched with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Duration of the cruise is approximately 3 hours 30 minutes.
Following your excursion you will be transferred back to your accommodation.
Stay: Lake Timara Lodge
Day 7: Blenheim - Queenstown
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver and transferred to Blenheim Airport prior to your onward flight. Fly from Blenheim to Queenstown (cost not included)
Day 8: Queenstown Wine Tour
Depart Queenstown for a full day private wine tour, venturing into the heart of Central Otago to taste some of New Zealand’s finest wines, in surroundings of unmatched scenic beauty and historical interest.
The tour takes in five outstanding vineyards from the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell areas, includes wine tastings and a tasting of excellent local cheeses in a vineyard setting, and a visit to New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave.
There will also be a visit to historic Old Cromwell Town (time and weather permitting), a stunning drive through the Kawarau Gorge whilst learning about the early pioneering history of this rugged region, and viewing the historic Kawarau Bridge and the original AJ Hackett Bungy jump – a fascinating insight into the region.
Enjoy a delicious gourmet platter style lunch which has been included today, and tasting with a local winemaker.
Return to Queenstown by approximately 4.30pm.
Day 9: Departure
This morning you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to Queenstown Aiport for your flight home.
|Day 1:||Arrival into Auckland - Napier||Greenhill Lodge|
|Day 2:||Private guided cycling tour of Hawke's Bay||Greenhill Lodge|
|Day 3:||Napier - Wellington||Museum Art Hotel|
|Day 4:||Private guided walking tour of Wellington||Museum Art Hotel|
|Day 5:||Wellington - Blenheim||Lake Timara Lodge|
|Day 6:||Guided Vineyard & Marlborough Sounds tour||Lake Timara Lodge|
|Day 7:||Blenheim - Queenstown||Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa|
|Day 8:||Queenstown Wine Tour||Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa|
- Accommodation with daily breakfast
- Transfers or car hire
- Activities with guides
- 24 hour emergency contact
- International flights
- Visa if necessary
- Personal expenses
- Hotel early check in / Late check out
- Tips and gratuities
- Travel insurance (please note that this is required for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)
From US$ 5,998 per person, based on two pax travelling
Notes on our prices
- This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
- Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
- Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
- This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant
- The “Classic New Zealand Wine Trail” showing the very best of the country’s gourmet produce and wines
- Wine tasting with by bike in Hawke’s Bay
- 3 hour gourmet walking tour in Wellington
- Seafood tour in Marlborough Sounds
- Cellar door visits in Blenheim and Queenstown
From US$ 5,998 per person