If you fancy a real vintage tour of New Zealand's North and South Islands then this Classic Wine Trail trip should tickle the taste buds. On this comprehensive self-drive tour you will spend 12 nights in unique boutique accommodation, visit Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, the five star attractions at Rotorua, cross the Cook Straits by ferry from the capital Wellington to Picton and along the way visit some of the country's best vineyards enjoying tastings and lunch.
After arriving at Auckland airport you will pick up your hire car and head for the city where you will stay for the next two nights at Cotter House. You will be greeted with a bottle of premium New Zealand bubbles and a French Ritz style high tea to get your tour off to a great start. In the evening why not go out and explore the lively waterfront area.
Today is free for you to travel around this lovely city of sails. You may want to take a drive to Kumeu in West Auckland where the wineries date back to the 1940s when wine families of Croatian origin established themselves. These families are still living and working in the area today, making some of the country's most renowned wines. You can also visit nearby Muriwai and experience the spectacular coastal scenery of this regional park and take a short walk to the gannet colony.
Auckland to Hamilton
Today you leave the big city and drive south to picturesque Cambridge. This pretty country town is located in the heart of the Waikato horse breeding district. Hamilton Gardens, a sprawling public park, features elaborate themed gardens ranging from Italian Renaissance to Japanese and traditional Maori styles. The Waikato Museum displays Maori art and artefacts & ArtsPost gallery focuses on local art. In the busy city centre, Victoria Street is lined with restaurants, cafes and bars you can enjoy
Hamilton to Waitomo and Rotorua
This morning you drive to the nearby Waitomo Caves for a subterranean boat ride and cave walk, one of the must do activities on the North Island. After your memorable underground experiences you carry on across the Mamaku Hills to the famous thermal centre of Rotorua where you stay at the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel.
Rotorua to Napier
The morning is free for you to explore the major sights and attractions of extraordinary Rotorua. Entrance is included to the Te Puia Thermal Reserve, where you can see how hot you can stand your bathing, the Agrodome Sheep Show and the native garden setting of Rainbow Springs. Later drive on through Taupo to Napier, the are deco centre of New Zealand. Overnight at the County Hotel.
Napier and the Hawke's Bay
A full day today to explore the city's lovely parks and gardens and enjoy lunch at one of Hawke's Bay's famous wineries. The beautiful, sun blessed east coast city of Napier is regarded by many as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. Likened to a little piece of the Mediterranean Riviera down under, it is often referred to as the Nice of the Pacific. Magnificent sub tropical palms sway in the gentle sea breeze, as locals and visitors alike enjoy another award winning vintage at one of the region’s many world-class wineries
Napier to Wairarapa
You continue your journey south today driving the 250 miles to reach Martinborough, a town in the major wine producing area that is famous for Pinot Noir wines. Martinborough is located in the Wairarapa region and is a unique wine village with more than 25 boutique vineyards, most within walking distance of the town square.
Wairarapa to Marlborough
Today you begin by driving the short distance to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Time for a look round before dropping off your hire car and boarding the ferry for a journey by ferry across the Cook Strait. On arrival at Picton, on the South Island, collect another car and drive to Blenheim in the Marlborough wine growing region.
A full day to explore the wineries of the Marlborough Sounds area. Located at the top of the South Island, Marlborough enjoys high sunshine hours and a temperate climate. No matter what time of year, there is always something going on. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and the home of world-renowned sauvignon blanc. There are more than 40 cellar doors here so you are spoilt for choice.
Marlborough to Kaikoura
You leave Blenheim today and head further south down the east coast to the pretty town of Kaikoura. The scenery along the way is magnificent and when you reach Kaikoura in the afternoon there will be time for an optional whale watching tour.
Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs
Today you drive 100 miles inland to Hanmer Springs, New Zealand's alpine spa destination. After so much time behind the wheel you will relish the chance to relax and unwind at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Spa where you can enjoy a treatment at this world-class facility.
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
This morning you drive to Waipara on the way to Christchurch. Waipara is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country with around 80 vineyards in the Waipara Valley alone. Take time to visit some of these up and coming wineries before continuing to the beautiful city of Christchurch where afternoon tea is waiting at your hotel, the Elm Tree House.
End of tour
Your wonderful tour of New Zealand's finest wine growing regions comes to an end today. Time to go sightseeing in Christchurch and catching up with some last minute shopping before returning your hire car at Christchurch Airport and boarding your onward flight and continuing your holiday or starting your journey home.