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New Zealand - North Island Wine Tour

Tours
New Zealand - North Island Wine Tour
DATES

10 Mar 2018 - 18 Mar 2018
PRIVATE DEPARTURE - FULL

TAKING EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST:
For November 2018


RATES

Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*'Willing to Share' may be available on this departure. Please enquire.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.


New Zealand - North Island Wine Tour New Zealand - North Island Wine Tour
New Zealand - North Island Wine Tour

NEW ZEALAND: NORTH ISLAND FOOD & WINE TOUR

 

Travelling through the lovely North Island, you will experience the north's highlights - and selected gems - in comfort and style. You will discover the diversity of New Zealand from mountain passes to coastal roads; from cosmopolitan cities to amazing boutique lodging.

On this tour we will explore New Zealand's spectacular landscapes by private van & ferry. The pace of this journey allows you time to explore and have ample time to relax in some pretty luxurious surroundings.

From the harbour city of Auckland, the lakes of Rotorua, the wine of Hawkes Bay and the capital, Wellington, you will cover some of the best of the North Island. 

This remarkable journey will introduce you to some of New Zealand's best wines, world class cuisine, incredible culture and our warm friendly people.

As active or relaxed as you wish, this journey will leave you in no doubt of why New Zealand is voted the best of the best year after year.

Tour Overview
Duration
8 Nights - NOV 2018
Start Point
Auckland
Finish Point
Wellington
Tour Style
Escorted Tour
Accommodation
Boutique Accommodation
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private vehicle, Ferry
Max Group Size
Min 6, Max 10 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • All Accommodation as per itinerary 
  • Breakfast daily
  • Lunch & dinner as per itinerary
  • Private Waiheke Wine Tour 
  • Return Ferry to Waiheke Island
  • Maori Cultural performance at Te Puia, Rotorua
  • The Redwoods Walkway
  • Deluxe Lake Spa at Polynesian Spa in Rotorua
  • Evening Art Deco Walking Tour in Napier
  • Wine & Dine Tour in Hawkes Bay including Cheese Platter tasting
  • Gourmet Food Tour of Wellington with tastings
  • Te Papa Evening tour
  • Private transport throughout
  • Hosted by Jemma Wilson, Founder of Mai Journeys
Tour Highlights
  • Welcome Drink on your first evening
  • Ferry ride across Auckland harbour to Waiheke Island
  • Tasting some of the best wines Waiheke has to offer on a Private Tasting Tour
  • Maori Cultural performance in Rotorua
  • The divine Lakes of Rotorua
  • Divine Spa time at Polynesian Spa in Rotoru
  • Art Deco Evening walk in Napier
  • A chance to taste the wines from the Hawkes Bay area on a Private Tasting Tour
  • An evening at Te Papa – NZ’s National Museum
  • A Wellington Culinary Experience on a Private Tasting Tour
  • Amazing food and wine en-route
  • Plenty of time to relax – or be active

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland
View

Arrive Auckland. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. 

Evening Welcome Drink at the Sofitel Auckland (included) before heading out to our first group dinner.

A favourite Auckland restaurant will be booked TBC closer to date - *meal and drinks will be payable direct.

We will book from one the the best Auckland Restaurants as voted by Cuisine Magazine - Clooney, Orphans Kitchen, Cassia, Sidart, Saan or Masu.

Overnight Sofitel Auckland or similar. (Welcome Drink)

Day 2 - Waiheke Island
View

This morning after breakfast we walk to the harbour to board our ferry to Waiheke Island. (Depart approximatley 09.00am). The ferry to Waiheke takes 35-45 minutes. **Lunch is usually around 1.30 pm, so please ensure you have an adequate breakfast!

On arrival at Matiatia, we will be greeted by our Guide/Driver for the day and then set off on our Private Wine Tasting tour. Our guide is a long-time Waiheke resident who is more than delighted to share their intimate knowledge of the Island with us..
 
In the past 20 odd years, Waiheke Island has gained recognition in terms of a top producing wine region. At less than 100 square kilometres, it is not so much a region but an island blanketed in vineyards that produce some of the best wines in New Zealand.

First up, we will drive to Oneroa Village where you will have some free time to explore the village & wander through the boutique shops. 

We have Wine Tastings at 4 vineyards - Man O War, Passage Rock, Obisidian and Cable Bay. We will have lunch at Passage Rock.

**Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline. It was along this coastline that Captain James Cook came to anchor during his first voyage around the islands of New Zealand in 1769. Upon sighting the ancient stands of magnificent Kauri trees ashore, Cook noted in his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O' War battleships of the Royal Navy. Thus the name Man O’ War was bestowed upon this unique land. The tasting room here is the only beach-front cellar door location on Waiheke Island. Wines to taste: Blanc de Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Semillon, Cabernet Franc Merlot, Syrah and Syrah Viognier.

**Passage Rock Wines established in 1993 is based on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf in the warm north of New Zealand. Free to assess the merits of each region unrestricted by appellation or fear. They specialize in producing Waiheke wines of distinction, recognizing the strengths of each site and region to produce the best wine for the season the site and the most appropriate grape variety. Waiheke’s’ most award winery for Syrah.

**Simplicity is the driving factor behind Obsidian , and they focus on uncomplicated methods that produce consistently superb wines for drinking and cellaring. Like the prized smoky-black glass stone this winery is named after, Obsidian wines are both timeless and full of intrigue. The facilities here stand true to this method of simplicity and tastings are done in an amphitheater setting amongst the vines. Situated right next to a wetland area and vines, the cellar door offers tastings in a relaxed and friendly environment. Make sure to try their Syrahs, voted as some of the best on the island.

**At Cable Bay Vineyard we can taste a selection of their range, including Rosé, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Syrah and a Merlot/Malbec blend from Waiheke, and from Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc. Cable Bay’s wines are known for their elegance and subtlety. The vineyard has great views back to Auckland City from the lawn.

We are picked up from Cable Bay at approx 4.30pm for our return ferry to Auckland. 


Overnight Sofitel Auckland or similar. (B) Evening Free.
Day 3 - Rotorua
View
This morning we leave Auckland and drive to Rotorua via Karangahaki Gorge.
 
Renowned as one of the “14 wonders of New Zealand”, The Karangahake Gorge showcases some of New Zealand's best scenery, rich in pioneering history. The railway line within the Gorge was closed in 1979, allowing visitors to access the historical sites associated with gold mining. In the early 1900s the township of Karangahake was an important mining centre with large batteries to crush and treat gold-bearing quartz from local mines. We will take a walk through the scenic gorge so you can see the gold mining relics still scattered along the trail. The Karangahake Gorge historic loop takes about 45 minutes.
 
We continue our drive via Waihi & Waihi Beach, where we will stop for coffee before heading continuing to Rotorua.
 
After check in, and a rest, we drive to the iconic Redwoods for a Nightlights Walk, which incorporates unique creations from world-acclaimed design and sustainability champion, David Trubridge. The night-time experience offers visitors the opportunity to explore the majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by Trubridges’ bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment. In addition to the Trubridge lighting, which encompasses 30 lanterns, over 40 infinite colour spots and feature lights will illuminate the 115-year-old redwood trees, forest ferns and pungas. The lights are up to 2.5 meters tall and were assembled and installed by hand in the forest with the team taking care not to damage the forest environment.

We return to the hotel for the night. 

Overnight The Regent Hotel or similar. (B)  
Tonight an Optional Dinner will be offered. Details TBC.
Day 4 - Rotorua
View
After a lesiurley breakfast this morning, we will visit Te Puia - Maori Arts & Crafts Institute for the Te Ra and Haka Cultural Performance. You will see the Pohutu Geyser, Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, National Schools of Carving and Weaving, Powhiri Performance and a Cultural Performance (Kapa Haka - traditional ancestral storytelling, song & dance). 
 
We visit the Polynesian Spa to enjoy a Deluxe Lake Spa experience. The Lake Spa offers 5 natural hot mineral pools overlooking Lake Rotorua - four shallow Spring alkaline mineral hot pools. one Spring acidic mineral hot pool and a cold plunge pool for hot-cold hydrotherapy to detoxify - an outdoor relaxation area with geothermal recliners, secure lockers, towels, hairdryers, shampoo and conditioner. The pools have a temperature range of 36oC – 42oC.
 
Early evening, we take a Gondola Ride to Volcanic Hills Tasting Room for wine tastings. The Tasting Room at the top of the Skyline gondola overlooking Lake Rotorua. Great views, great local wine!
 
We return to the hotel. 
 
Overnight The Regent Hotel. (B) Evening free. 
Day 5 - Hawkes Bay
View
This morning after a leisurely breakfast we depart for Hawkes Bay. En-route we will stop at Taupo for a break, a chance to wander through the town and marvel at the amazing lakeside views while having a fabulous coffee.. 
 
On arrival in Napier we check into our hotel, and rest and refresh.
 
We then take a drive to Te Mata Peak for wine, cheese & crackers. Te Mata Peak gives 360° views of Hawke’s Bay. Visitors can see Napier and Mahia Peninsula to the north and east, hill country to the south and east, and the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru ranges beyond the fertile Heretaunga Plains. Mount Ruapehu is often visible in the distance.
 
Early evening: Art Deco Guided Walk.
Experience Napier’s fascinating heritage and be captivated by the dramatic story of this city’s rebirth in the vibrant 1930s. In February 1931, Napier was levelled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical.
 
Overnight Art Deco Hotel. (B)
 
This evening we will have a reservation at Pacifica Restaurant, which has been crowned New Zealand’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year. The Napier restaurant has knocked over the heavyweights of the Auckland dining scene to claim the supreme honour at the Cuisine Good Food Awards. It was also named the top regional restaurant in 2015 and 2016. Run by Maori Chef Jeremy Rameka and his partner Natalie Bulman (also the restaurant's maitre d' and sommelier), Pacifica draws on fresh and uniquely local ingredients, served in an unpretentious but expertly judged setting. Pacifica, as the Judges describe,  "captures the essence of Kiwi food, with finesse".
Day 6 - Hawkes Bay
View
Hawkes Bay Wine Tour. This morning after breakfast we are picked up from our hotel at approx 11am for our Private Wine Tour.
 
We travel out of Napier towards the coast and visit Elephant Hill. We then continue along the Tuki Tuki river valley route undoubtedly one of the most scenic pastoral and vineyard drives in New Zealand, and area often compared to Tuscany.
 
Next stop Craggy Range, where we will enjoy wonderful wines whilst looking out on to Te Mata Peak, the Peak we visited yesterday. 

Then to Black Barn for a two course lunch to be enjoyed in the restaurant with sweeping views of Hawkes Bay – and then relax a while in their sunken Tuscan garden during the summer months.

After lunch we will travel out to the wineries of the Red Metal region, visiting Trinity and Unison in the Gimblett Gravels.

A final stop at Ngatarawa  to enjoy a cheese platter in the grounds of the Vineyard beside the lily pond.

There is an opportunity to meet the wine makers along the way. You will taste classic red European varieties such as Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. The area is also famous for the white varieties, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Semillon, Pinot Gris and Viognier. Four or more wineries will be visited during the day with time taken to enjoy various cheeses from around New Zealand.

At the end of the day, we will be dropped back at our accommodation. Return to hotel approx 5pm. 

Overnight Art Deco Hotel. (B, Cheese Platter). Evening free.
Day 7 - To Wellington
View

We depart Napier approx 09.00am.

We drive south to Greytown where we will stop for a coffee & a wander. Towns don't get much prettier than Greytown in the Wairarapa region, about 80 km north-east of Wellington. It's known for its great food and sophisticated shopping, cute colonial cottages, historic trees and extra-ordinary chocolate. With its small, owner operated shops, Greytown offers the antithesis of big mall shopping. With over 85 flavours of hand-crafted chocolate, Schoc Chocolates creates hand-crafted tablets, including the most popular, lime and chilli. We can sample local olive oils at The Olive Press, one of the largest olive presses in New Zealand. It stocks extra virgin olive oil, a range of infused oils from local producers and olive oil body products. All olive oil has been pressed onsite. We can visit local favourites Bar Salute, La Pancetta Wine bar, deli and Prodigal Daughter cured meats that sits alongside The French Baker. We will end the visit with a drink on the veranda of The White Swan.

From here we continue to Wellington. We check inot our hotel, rest and relax.

Early evening Te Papa (Wellington Museum) Private Tour. We take an in-depth journey to discover Te Papa’s taonga and hear their stories for insights into Māori culture. From historic, artistic, and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand’s Māori culture unique. 

Afterwards you will have free time to explore the Museum. 

Overnight Amora Wellington Hotel or similar. (B) 
Evening Free. *Tonight an Optional Dinner at a favourite Wellington eatery will be offered. Details TBC.

Day 8 - Wellington
View

Today we enjoy a Gourmet Walking Tour - a fabulous Wellington Culinary Experience (Depart approx 09.00am).

This mouth-watering culinary experience concludes with a light two course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines at a top Wellington restaurant. Over a relaxed walking gourmet tour around Wellington's best food places, your personal guide will introduce you to new and favourite flavours. Tour content can vary seasonally, and you may visit a boutique coffee roaster* and stylish cafe, renowned specialist fresh produce and gourmet food stores, and a unique contemporary chocolatier. During the day, our guide can also introduce us to many other aspects of the Capital, ranging from iconic city architecture, sculptures and fantastic places to shop and eat. At the end of our tour, we are given a list of favourite cafes, bars, restaurants, food stores and coffee roasters to enjoy. Ends approx 2.30pm.

Afternoon free to explore Wellington. 

Overnight Amora Wellington Hotel. (B, Tastings). 
Evening Free. **Tonight an Optional Cocktail Evening will be offered at the Hippopotamus Bar in the nearby Museum Art Hotel. For those that wish, they can stay and dine at the Hippopotamus Restaurant (Payable direct).

Day 9 - Depart
View

This morning after breakfast your tour ends. 
A transfer will be arranged for your departure to the airport. (B)

About this tour

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, AucklandWith views across Viaduct Harbour, the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour waterfront hotel furnished in a simple, contemporary manner, and feature free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, plus Bose sound systems, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. Amenities include an on-site spa with an indoor pool, a whirlpool tub and an exercise room. There is a boutique, a stylish restaurant offering a high-end menu, and a lounge bar. Afternoon tea is served daily in the lobby. Balconies in all rooms allow you to open up to New Zealand’s fresh, pure air. Tranquil views take in the marina, city and internal water features. The hotel is decorated throughout in textured natural tones, enlivened with shades of sea and sky. Original artworks adorn the walls. Rooms are restful, public spaces inviting and exciting. All rooms feature Juliet balconies, floor to ceiling windows and oversized bathrooms with separate rain showers and deep soaking bathtubs.

Regent Hotel, Rotorua: - The Regent of Rotorua is a designer Boutique Hotel offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant, wine & cocktail bar, all with a touch of glamour. An oasis of understated contemporary elegance amidst the exciting attractions and experiences Rotorua has to offer. Step out of your gorgeous room or suite and stroll to the vibrant restaurant zone or lakefront area….or simply stay in, relax and savour our luxury facilities. Each of the rooms and suites in the hotel are exquisitely designed featuring contemporary decor with a touch of glamour and all today’s mod cons including free unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. An outdoor heated swimming pool, thermal mineral pool and mini gym make the Regent a perfect escape. The glamorous Regent Room Restaurant, Wine & Cocktail Bar invites you to experience a divine selection of Pacific fusion food, elegant cocktails and a sensational boutique wine list.

Art Deco Hotel, Napier - A minute's walk from the MTG Hawke's Bay museum complex, Art Deco Hotel is a historic 1900s hotel on a subdued street is 2 km from the National Aquarium of New Zealand. The individually decorated rooms feature art deco furnishings, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. They also have mini-fridges, desks, and tea and coffee making facilities; some rooms have French doors and/or balconies with courtyard views. Suites add sitting areas, rainfall showers and designer toiletries; an apartment offers a kitchen, a living room and 2 bedrooms. Room service is available. Amenities include an elegant bar/restaurant and an old-world Irish pub.

Amora Hotel, Wellington - Amora Wellington is a superbly located 4.5 star hotel in the heart of Wellington. With magnificent views of Wellington’s CBD and harbour and easy access to Lambton Quay, Te Papa and the Cable Car, Wellington’s best attractions are right at our door. The hotel offers some of the most spacious guest rooms and suites in Wellington. The rooms feature multi channel television, a writing desk, guest internet access, personal bar, coffee making facilities, fluffy robes and superb marble bathrooms, most of which have a separate bath and shower. The international award winning Bodyhaven Spa is located on the mezzanine level of Amora Hotel Wellington. 

Practicalities

Weather:
New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 - 30ºC and in winter between 10 - 15ºC.

Seasons: 
Spring - September, October, November
Summer - December, January, February
Autumn - March, April, May
Winter - June, July, August

New Zealand Summer:
New Zealand's summer months are November/December to February/March, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.

New Zealand Autumn:
March to May are New Zealand's autumn months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April. While New Zealand's native flora is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke's Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.

New Zealand Winter:
New Zealand's winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing. While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty.

New Zealand Spring:
Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand's spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. During spring buds, blossoms, and other new growth bursts forth throughout the country and new born lambs frolic in the fields just before dusk. Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke's Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you're into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high.

The facts

Visas: Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under or visa waiver program. But you will need to see if you qualify for this by visiting the New Zealand Immigration website. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country.

Money & Credit Cards - Only New Zealand dollars are legal tender in New Zealand. All our prices include GST. In the major cities some stores may choose to provide pricing in other currencies but be aware that the final transaction must be in New Zealand dollars. Credit and debit cards are an accepted form of payment in New Zealand. Visa and MasterCard providers are widely accepted as payement for almost anything, but American Express and Diners Cards are not accepted in some places so its best to arrange an alternative if you need to.

Not Included:

  • International Airfares
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Tips at meals and bars 
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

10 Mar 2018 - 18 Mar 2018
PRIVATE DEPARTURE - FULL

TAKING EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST:
For November 2018


RATES

Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*'Willing to Share' may be available on this departure. Please enquire.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. 

Evening Welcome Drink at the Sofitel Auckland (included) before heading out to our first group dinner.

A favourite Auckland restaurant will be booked TBC closer to date - *meal and drinks will be payable direct.

We will book from one the the best Auckland Restaurants as voted by Cuisine Magazine - Clooney, Orphans Kitchen, Cassia, Sidart, Saan or Masu.

Overnight Sofitel Auckland or similar. (Welcome Drink)

Day 2 - Waiheke Island

This morning after breakfast we walk to the harbour to board our ferry to Waiheke Island. (Depart approximatley 09.00am). The ferry to Waiheke takes 35-45 minutes. **Lunch is usually around 1.30 pm, so please ensure you have an adequate breakfast!

On arrival at Matiatia, we will be greeted by our Guide/Driver for the day and then set off on our Private Wine Tasting tour. Our guide is a long-time Waiheke resident who is more than delighted to share their intimate knowledge of the Island with us..
 
In the past 20 odd years, Waiheke Island has gained recognition in terms of a top producing wine region. At less than 100 square kilometres, it is not so much a region but an island blanketed in vineyards that produce some of the best wines in New Zealand.

First up, we will drive to Oneroa Village where you will have some free time to explore the village & wander through the boutique shops. 

We have Wine Tastings at 4 vineyards - Man O War, Passage Rock, Obisidian and Cable Bay. We will have lunch at Passage Rock.

**Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline. It was along this coastline that Captain James Cook came to anchor during his first voyage around the islands of New Zealand in 1769. Upon sighting the ancient stands of magnificent Kauri trees ashore, Cook noted in his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O' War battleships of the Royal Navy. Thus the name Man O’ War was bestowed upon this unique land. The tasting room here is the only beach-front cellar door location on Waiheke Island. Wines to taste: Blanc de Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Semillon, Cabernet Franc Merlot, Syrah and Syrah Viognier.

**Passage Rock Wines established in 1993 is based on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf in the warm north of New Zealand. Free to assess the merits of each region unrestricted by appellation or fear. They specialize in producing Waiheke wines of distinction, recognizing the strengths of each site and region to produce the best wine for the season the site and the most appropriate grape variety. Waiheke’s’ most award winery for Syrah.

**Simplicity is the driving factor behind Obsidian , and they focus on uncomplicated methods that produce consistently superb wines for drinking and cellaring. Like the prized smoky-black glass stone this winery is named after, Obsidian wines are both timeless and full of intrigue. The facilities here stand true to this method of simplicity and tastings are done in an amphitheater setting amongst the vines. Situated right next to a wetland area and vines, the cellar door offers tastings in a relaxed and friendly environment. Make sure to try their Syrahs, voted as some of the best on the island.

**At Cable Bay Vineyard we can taste a selection of their range, including Rosé, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Syrah and a Merlot/Malbec blend from Waiheke, and from Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc. Cable Bay’s wines are known for their elegance and subtlety. The vineyard has great views back to Auckland City from the lawn.

We are picked up from Cable Bay at approx 4.30pm for our return ferry to Auckland. 


Overnight Sofitel Auckland or similar. (B) Evening Free.
Day 3 - Rotorua
This morning we leave Auckland and drive to Rotorua via Karangahaki Gorge.
 
Renowned as one of the “14 wonders of New Zealand”, The Karangahake Gorge showcases some of New Zealand's best scenery, rich in pioneering history. The railway line within the Gorge was closed in 1979, allowing visitors to access the historical sites associated with gold mining. In the early 1900s the township of Karangahake was an important mining centre with large batteries to crush and treat gold-bearing quartz from local mines. We will take a walk through the scenic gorge so you can see the gold mining relics still scattered along the trail. The Karangahake Gorge historic loop takes about 45 minutes.
 
We continue our drive via Waihi & Waihi Beach, where we will stop for coffee before heading continuing to Rotorua.
 
After check in, and a rest, we drive to the iconic Redwoods for a Nightlights Walk, which incorporates unique creations from world-acclaimed design and sustainability champion, David Trubridge. The night-time experience offers visitors the opportunity to explore the majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by Trubridges’ bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment. In addition to the Trubridge lighting, which encompasses 30 lanterns, over 40 infinite colour spots and feature lights will illuminate the 115-year-old redwood trees, forest ferns and pungas. The lights are up to 2.5 meters tall and were assembled and installed by hand in the forest with the team taking care not to damage the forest environment.

We return to the hotel for the night. 

Overnight The Regent Hotel or similar. (B)  
Tonight an Optional Dinner will be offered. Details TBC.
Day 4 - Rotorua
After a lesiurley breakfast this morning, we will visit Te Puia - Maori Arts & Crafts Institute for the Te Ra and Haka Cultural Performance. You will see the Pohutu Geyser, Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, National Schools of Carving and Weaving, Powhiri Performance and a Cultural Performance (Kapa Haka - traditional ancestral storytelling, song & dance). 
 
We visit the Polynesian Spa to enjoy a Deluxe Lake Spa experience. The Lake Spa offers 5 natural hot mineral pools overlooking Lake Rotorua - four shallow Spring alkaline mineral hot pools. one Spring acidic mineral hot pool and a cold plunge pool for hot-cold hydrotherapy to detoxify - an outdoor relaxation area with geothermal recliners, secure lockers, towels, hairdryers, shampoo and conditioner. The pools have a temperature range of 36oC – 42oC.
 
Early evening, we take a Gondola Ride to Volcanic Hills Tasting Room for wine tastings. The Tasting Room at the top of the Skyline gondola overlooking Lake Rotorua. Great views, great local wine!
 
We return to the hotel. 
 
Overnight The Regent Hotel. (B) Evening free. 
Day 5 - Hawkes Bay
This morning after a leisurely breakfast we depart for Hawkes Bay. En-route we will stop at Taupo for a break, a chance to wander through the town and marvel at the amazing lakeside views while having a fabulous coffee.. 
 
On arrival in Napier we check into our hotel, and rest and refresh.
 
We then take a drive to Te Mata Peak for wine, cheese & crackers. Te Mata Peak gives 360° views of Hawke’s Bay. Visitors can see Napier and Mahia Peninsula to the north and east, hill country to the south and east, and the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru ranges beyond the fertile Heretaunga Plains. Mount Ruapehu is often visible in the distance.
 
Early evening: Art Deco Guided Walk.
Experience Napier’s fascinating heritage and be captivated by the dramatic story of this city’s rebirth in the vibrant 1930s. In February 1931, Napier was levelled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical.
 
Overnight Art Deco Hotel. (B)
 
This evening we will have a reservation at Pacifica Restaurant, which has been crowned New Zealand’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year. The Napier restaurant has knocked over the heavyweights of the Auckland dining scene to claim the supreme honour at the Cuisine Good Food Awards. It was also named the top regional restaurant in 2015 and 2016. Run by Maori Chef Jeremy Rameka and his partner Natalie Bulman (also the restaurant's maitre d' and sommelier), Pacifica draws on fresh and uniquely local ingredients, served in an unpretentious but expertly judged setting. Pacifica, as the Judges describe,  "captures the essence of Kiwi food, with finesse".
Day 6 - Hawkes Bay
Hawkes Bay Wine Tour. This morning after breakfast we are picked up from our hotel at approx 11am for our Private Wine Tour.
 
We travel out of Napier towards the coast and visit Elephant Hill. We then continue along the Tuki Tuki river valley route undoubtedly one of the most scenic pastoral and vineyard drives in New Zealand, and area often compared to Tuscany.
 
Next stop Craggy Range, where we will enjoy wonderful wines whilst looking out on to Te Mata Peak, the Peak we visited yesterday. 

Then to Black Barn for a two course lunch to be enjoyed in the restaurant with sweeping views of Hawkes Bay – and then relax a while in their sunken Tuscan garden during the summer months.

After lunch we will travel out to the wineries of the Red Metal region, visiting Trinity and Unison in the Gimblett Gravels.

A final stop at Ngatarawa  to enjoy a cheese platter in the grounds of the Vineyard beside the lily pond.

There is an opportunity to meet the wine makers along the way. You will taste classic red European varieties such as Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. The area is also famous for the white varieties, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Semillon, Pinot Gris and Viognier. Four or more wineries will be visited during the day with time taken to enjoy various cheeses from around New Zealand.

At the end of the day, we will be dropped back at our accommodation. Return to hotel approx 5pm. 

Overnight Art Deco Hotel. (B, Cheese Platter). Evening free.
Day 7 - To Wellington

We depart Napier approx 09.00am.

We drive south to Greytown where we will stop for a coffee & a wander. Towns don't get much prettier than Greytown in the Wairarapa region, about 80 km north-east of Wellington. It's known for its great food and sophisticated shopping, cute colonial cottages, historic trees and extra-ordinary chocolate. With its small, owner operated shops, Greytown offers the antithesis of big mall shopping. With over 85 flavours of hand-crafted chocolate, Schoc Chocolates creates hand-crafted tablets, including the most popular, lime and chilli. We can sample local olive oils at The Olive Press, one of the largest olive presses in New Zealand. It stocks extra virgin olive oil, a range of infused oils from local producers and olive oil body products. All olive oil has been pressed onsite. We can visit local favourites Bar Salute, La Pancetta Wine bar, deli and Prodigal Daughter cured meats that sits alongside The French Baker. We will end the visit with a drink on the veranda of The White Swan.

From here we continue to Wellington. We check inot our hotel, rest and relax.

Early evening Te Papa (Wellington Museum) Private Tour. We take an in-depth journey to discover Te Papa’s taonga and hear their stories for insights into Māori culture. From historic, artistic, and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand’s Māori culture unique. 

Afterwards you will have free time to explore the Museum. 

Overnight Amora Wellington Hotel or similar. (B) 
Evening Free. *Tonight an Optional Dinner at a favourite Wellington eatery will be offered. Details TBC.

Day 8 - Wellington

Today we enjoy a Gourmet Walking Tour - a fabulous Wellington Culinary Experience (Depart approx 09.00am).

This mouth-watering culinary experience concludes with a light two course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines at a top Wellington restaurant. Over a relaxed walking gourmet tour around Wellington's best food places, your personal guide will introduce you to new and favourite flavours. Tour content can vary seasonally, and you may visit a boutique coffee roaster* and stylish cafe, renowned specialist fresh produce and gourmet food stores, and a unique contemporary chocolatier. During the day, our guide can also introduce us to many other aspects of the Capital, ranging from iconic city architecture, sculptures and fantastic places to shop and eat. At the end of our tour, we are given a list of favourite cafes, bars, restaurants, food stores and coffee roasters to enjoy. Ends approx 2.30pm.

Afternoon free to explore Wellington. 

Overnight Amora Wellington Hotel. (B, Tastings). 
Evening Free. **Tonight an Optional Cocktail Evening will be offered at the Hippopotamus Bar in the nearby Museum Art Hotel. For those that wish, they can stay and dine at the Hippopotamus Restaurant (Payable direct).

Day 9 - Depart

This morning after breakfast your tour ends. 
A transfer will be arranged for your departure to the airport. (B)

About this tour

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, AucklandWith views across Viaduct Harbour, the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour waterfront hotel furnished in a simple, contemporary manner, and feature free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, plus Bose sound systems, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. Amenities include an on-site spa with an indoor pool, a whirlpool tub and an exercise room. There is a boutique, a stylish restaurant offering a high-end menu, and a lounge bar. Afternoon tea is served daily in the lobby. Balconies in all rooms allow you to open up to New Zealand’s fresh, pure air. Tranquil views take in the marina, city and internal water features. The hotel is decorated throughout in textured natural tones, enlivened with shades of sea and sky. Original artworks adorn the walls. Rooms are restful, public spaces inviting and exciting. All rooms feature Juliet balconies, floor to ceiling windows and oversized bathrooms with separate rain showers and deep soaking bathtubs.

Regent Hotel, Rotorua: - The Regent of Rotorua is a designer Boutique Hotel offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant, wine & cocktail bar, all with a touch of glamour. An oasis of understated contemporary elegance amidst the exciting attractions and experiences Rotorua has to offer. Step out of your gorgeous room or suite and stroll to the vibrant restaurant zone or lakefront area….or simply stay in, relax and savour our luxury facilities. Each of the rooms and suites in the hotel are exquisitely designed featuring contemporary decor with a touch of glamour and all today’s mod cons including free unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. An outdoor heated swimming pool, thermal mineral pool and mini gym make the Regent a perfect escape. The glamorous Regent Room Restaurant, Wine & Cocktail Bar invites you to experience a divine selection of Pacific fusion food, elegant cocktails and a sensational boutique wine list.

Art Deco Hotel, Napier - A minute's walk from the MTG Hawke's Bay museum complex, Art Deco Hotel is a historic 1900s hotel on a subdued street is 2 km from the National Aquarium of New Zealand. The individually decorated rooms feature art deco furnishings, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. They also have mini-fridges, desks, and tea and coffee making facilities; some rooms have French doors and/or balconies with courtyard views. Suites add sitting areas, rainfall showers and designer toiletries; an apartment offers a kitchen, a living room and 2 bedrooms. Room service is available. Amenities include an elegant bar/restaurant and an old-world Irish pub.

Amora Hotel, Wellington - Amora Wellington is a superbly located 4.5 star hotel in the heart of Wellington. With magnificent views of Wellington’s CBD and harbour and easy access to Lambton Quay, Te Papa and the Cable Car, Wellington’s best attractions are right at our door. The hotel offers some of the most spacious guest rooms and suites in Wellington. The rooms feature multi channel television, a writing desk, guest internet access, personal bar, coffee making facilities, fluffy robes and superb marble bathrooms, most of which have a separate bath and shower. The international award winning Bodyhaven Spa is located on the mezzanine level of Amora Hotel Wellington. 

Practicalities

Weather:
New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 - 30ºC and in winter between 10 - 15ºC.

Seasons: 
Spring - September, October, November
Summer - December, January, February
Autumn - March, April, May
Winter - June, July, August

New Zealand Summer:
New Zealand's summer months are November/December to February/March, bringing high temperatures and sunshine. Days are long and sunny, nights are mild. Summer is an excellent time for walking in the bush and a variety of other outdoor activities. New Zealand's many gorgeous beaches are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boating, and water sports during summer.

New Zealand Autumn:
March to May are New Zealand's autumn months. While temperatures are a little cooler than summer, the weather can be excellent, and it is possible to swim in some places until April. While New Zealand's native flora is evergreen, there are many introduced deciduous trees. Colourful changing leaves make autumn a scenic delight, especially in regions such as Central Otago and Hawke's Bay, which are known for their autumn splendour.

New Zealand Winter:
New Zealand's winter months of June to August bring colder weather to much of the country, and more rain to most areas in the North Island. Mountain ranges in both islands become snow-covered, providing beautiful vistas and excellent skiing. While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, so this is an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains, and other areas of scenic beauty.

New Zealand Spring:
Spring lasts from September to November, and New Zealand's spring weather can range from cold and frosty to warm and hot. During spring buds, blossoms, and other new growth bursts forth throughout the country and new born lambs frolic in the fields just before dusk. Both Alexandra in Central Otago and Hastings in Hawke's Bay celebrate spring with a blossom festival. If you're into white water rafting, this is the time when melting spring snow makes river water levels excitingly high.

The facts

Visas: Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under or visa waiver program. But you will need to see if you qualify for this by visiting the New Zealand Immigration website. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country.

Money & Credit Cards - Only New Zealand dollars are legal tender in New Zealand. All our prices include GST. In the major cities some stores may choose to provide pricing in other currencies but be aware that the final transaction must be in New Zealand dollars. Credit and debit cards are an accepted form of payment in New Zealand. Visa and MasterCard providers are widely accepted as payement for almost anything, but American Express and Diners Cards are not accepted in some places so its best to arrange an alternative if you need to.

Not Included:

  • International Airfares
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Tips at meals and bars 
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.