New Zealand Wine Highlights Tour
13 days ex USA
This tour is a suggestion and may be customized in any way to include other wine regions and sightseeing. It can be modified for groups.
DAY 1 & 2
Travel days from the United States.
DAY 3 ARRIVE AUCKLAND
You will be met and transferred to your hotel by private vehicle. This afternoon, sightseeing tour of Auckland, featuring views from Mt Eden, the Domain Gardens and Parnell Village, the excellent Maori and Pacific Islands Court at the Museum, and Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter. Or you may prefer to take the ferry to Waiheke Island to visit the wineries. Accommodation: Auckland, 2 nights
DAY 4 WEST AUCKLAND WINERIES (BL)
Today, a full day tour of one of New Zealand’s best wine producing regions. Though a lot of the grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are grown here, local winemakers also import grapes from the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough areas. Most of the vineyards were
originally established in this area by European immigrants, including Corbans (1902), Babich (1916), Selaks (1934) and Soljans (1937). Lunch will be at a local café or winery; in the afternoon drive through the beautiful Waitakere Ranges.
DAY 5 WAITOMO TO ROTORUA (BLD)
The drive today takes you through the Waikato Valley, a major dairy and horse raising area, stopping for lunch and a guided tour of Waitomo Glowworm Caves before continuing to Rotorua. This evening, enjoy a hangi dinner and concert of traditional Maori song and dance on a Marae. Accommodation: Rotorua 1 night
DAY 6 TO NAPIER (B)
This morning’s sightseeing in Rotorua includes a guides tour of Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, Rainbow Springs to see the huge trout and rare kiwi bird, and the Agrodome for the popular sheep show. This afternoon’s drive will take you through Taupo and across the Kaimanawa
Ranges to the art deco city of Napier, center of the Hawkes Bay wine region. Accommodation: Napier 1 night
DAY 7 TO WELLINGTON (B)
This morning’s tour includes a visit to a variety of wineries, which may include Te Mata Estate and Vidals, or other wineries of your choice. Then in the afternoon, continue south to Wellington, stopping in the Wairarapa where there are some fine wines being produced, perhaps visiting Palliser Estate and Te Kairanga in Martinborough, known for their pinot noir. The evening is free in New Zealand’s capital city. Accommodation: Wellington 1 night
DAY 8 TO BLENHEIM (BL)
Transfer to the ferry for a cruise across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. The last part of the cruise through the Marlborough Sounds is especially scenic. Alternatively, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Blenheim. The Marlborough wine region is a short drive from Picton. Have lunch at a winery and spend the afternoon tasting at selected wineries, such as Hunters and Cloudy Bay, known for pinot noir and sauvignon blancs. Accommodation: Blenheim 1 night
DAY 9 TO CHRISTCHURCH (B)
It’s a 5 hour drive along the east coast to Christchurch, perhaps stopping at Kaikoura for a whale watch flight or cruise. Or you may prefer to visit a few of the Waipara wineries before reaching Christchurch, often called the Garden City because of its lovely parks and gardens. Accommodation: Christchurch 1 night
DAY 10 TO QUEENSTOWN (B)
A full day touring across the Canterbury Plains then inland. At Tekapo, see the quaint Church of the Good Shepard and maybe take the opportunity of a scenic flight over Mt. Cook National Park where there are good views of the mighty Southern Alps (optional extra & weather permitting). Descend through the Lindis
Pass to Central Otago and on to Queenstown. Accommodation: Queenstown 3 nights
DAY 11 QUEENSTOWN (BD)
This morning’s sightseeing includes an aerial gondola ride to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over the lake and mountains, a visit to quaint Arrowtown and wine tasting at Gibbston Valley Winery. Stop at the Kawarau Bridge, the original AJ Hackett site, to see bungy jumping and a chance to have a go, if you dare (optional extra). This evening, board the vintage lake steamer, TSS Earnslaw, for a cruise to Walter Peak High Station for a farm show and dinner at the homestead.
DAY 12 MILFORD SOUND (BL)
This morning, embark on a full day tour, traveling via Fiordland National Park. The scenery is breathtaking, with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by ice age glaciers. There are clear rushing mountain streams, leaping waterfalls and dense rainforest. At Milford Sound, cruise down the fiord where seals and
dolphins are frequently seen. Buffet lunch on board. Return to Queenstown in the evening.
DAY 13 DEPART QUEENSTOWN (B)
Transfer to the airport by private vehicle for your onward flight or return to the USA. Or stay on for a few more nights in Queenstown.