With all the ingredients for an experience to remember, absorb the culinary highlights and famous wine regions of New Zealand. From the cultural experience of earth cooked Hangi food to the culinary delights of the food and wine specialists New Zealand is world-renowned for. A two week epicurean adventure awaits.
Price from €4,450 per person*
Day 1 – Arrive Auckland
Many of the country’s most established wineries are found in the Auckland region, including Villa Maria, Montana and Babich. Known for its Chardonnays, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, most Auckland wines are produced in the flat areas of Henderson, Clevedon and Kumeu. In the 1980’s vines were also planted on Waiheke Island, in Auckland Harbour. Waiheke is now a fashionable wine retreat with many vineyards, and is noted for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties. Waiheke is also a haven for artists and musicians, and there are lovely cafes and galleries to be visited, in between visits to the vineyards.
Cosmopolitan wine bars, rural vineyards and trendy Waiheke Island wineries make the Auckland wine region an enviable destination.
Restaurant suggestion for dinner: Dine by Peter Gordon. Peter Gordon is an internationally renowned chef and arguably New Zealand’s highest profile international culinary celebrity. Gordon is currently co-owner of The Providores restaurant in London and a consultant for both Public in New York and Changa in Turkey. He is acknowledged as founder of the fusion food movement, for his charity works, numerous best selling cookbooks as well as his international media activity.
Day 2 – Auckland to Rotorua
Driving time approximately 3 hrs (240kms)
Enjoy a delicious brunch in Auckland at the Sofitel Hotel in the Auckland Viaduct. Make a leisurely departure from Auckland and travel south towards Rotorua. On the way, if you have time, you could make a slight detour to visit the Waitomo Glow Worms cave before heading to the Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua.
A Maori Cultural Show and Hangi Dinner is included this evening at Mitai Village. Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night’s festivities as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way, rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths and legends. (www.mitai.co.nz)
Day 3 – Rotorua
Breakfast is included this morning at The Springs – the Breakfast Menu includes The Spring’s signature dishes such as French Toast, Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, or Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Dill.
You will spend this day exploring Rotorua. Whether you are seeking to experience Maori culture, geothermal earth forces, spa rejuvenation, thrills and adventure, or any of the other natural assets like the 16 lakes in the area, some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, fantastic trout fishing and a myriad of forest walking tracks – there is a range of options available to suit everyone!
Day 4 – Rotorua to Napier
Driving time approximately 3hrs (230kms)
Farwell your hosts and travel south to Napier, located in the Hawkes Bay region. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s second most important wine-producing area, is based on the twin art deco cities of Napier and Hastings. Napier is considered the Art-Deco capital of New Zealand, after the entire city was rebuilt in the 1930’s due to a devastating earthquake. The streets of Napier are lined with captivating buildings in this beautiful architectural style.
Vineyards were first planted here 150 years ago by French Marist missionaries. Today, the tradition is continued by the Marist brothers and their Mission Vineyard is an important wine producer and tourist attraction, with a comprehensive wine shop and restaurant. The region’s extended dry growing season, low humidity and high sunshine hours enables the full ripening and flavour development of the classic wine grape varieties. These include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muller Thurgau, Gewurtztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
There are now over 49 vineyards and we recommend at least 10 worth visiting. If you feel like balancing your sampling with a little activity, you can do a great bike tour through these vineyards, stopping to sample and purchase on the way.
A 3 Course dinner is included this evening at Chambers Restaurant, The County Hotel. The multi award winning restaurant sets the culinary stage for delightful, natural cuisine with an international influence.
Day 5 – Napier
Today provides you with a complete action-packed taste of what Hawke’s Bay has to offer with Odyssey Tours. Start the day with an exclusive barrel sampling, learn about wine etiquette and tasting technique, enjoy a fully guided behind the scenes tour of NZ’s famous Church Rd winery and NZ’s only wine museum, then on to the country’s oldest winery, the Mission Estate, for a wine tasting & two course meal accompanied by matching wines at one of NZ’s top restaurants. After lunch, visit a selection of wineries from the Gimblett Gravels, Ngatarawa Triangle & Dartmoor Valley, visit a smaller winery as a comparison and opportunity to meet and learn from a winemaker, learn about wine and food matching at one of NZ’s top winery restaurants, indulge in gourmet platters with top local produce. A complete wine & gourmet experience!
- Wine Tasting at 6-7 wineries
- Barrel Sampling
- Fully Guided Winery Tour of Church Rd and its Wine Museum
- Two Course Lunch with Matching Wines
- Gourmet Platter
- Vine to Glass Experience
- Sightseeing with fully guided commentary
Day 6 – Napier to Wellington
Driving time approximately 5hrs (325kms)
Depart Napier and travel to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city located on the Southern tip of the North Island.
En route to Wellington you may wish to visit Martinborough, within the Waiarapa Region, which is New Zealand’s sixth largest wine region producing some 3.6% of the national crop. Martinborough, located in the south of the region, is well sheltered by the Rimutaka and Tararua ranges and enjoys a very sunny, dry climate with vines planted on free-draining, low-vigour soils. The result of this is intense flavoured grapes for especially powerful Pinot Noirs. Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are also key wines of the region. Most of the vineyards are boutique owner-operated businesses producing small quantities, however their reputation is impressive.
Wellington itself is situated around Wellington harbour, where its houses cling precipitously to the steep hillsides. A clever blend of buildings, both old and new, as well as beautiful vistas of the city and harbour, and a cosmopolitan mix of culture and arts give Wellington its heart, and vibrant atmosphere. If you have time, we highly recommend visiting Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s National Museum. It offers visitors a unique and authentic look into New Zealand’s history and treasures. Over five floors, you can explore the nation’s nature, art, history, and heritage – from the shaping of its land to the spirit of its diverse peoples, from its unique wildlife to its distinctive art and visual culture. Another option is to take a walk along Oriental Parade, travel to the summit of Mt Victoria, or just relax with a coffee at one of the harbourside cafés.
Day 7 – Wellington – Picton – Blenheim
Three hour Ferry Ride; Driving time approximately 0.5hrs (28kms)
Start the day in Wellington with a Chocolate Espresso Tour with Zest Gourmet Food Tours. Indulge the senses as you examine – and taste – traditional and contemporary chocolate and coffee styles. Walking this compact city, start with an in-depth coffee tasting experience; explore the adventurous edge of contemporary chocolates with flavour combinations and tastes you’ve never dreamed of before. Savour the traditional approach with hand-made classic chocolates. Experience a commercial kitchen producing innovative chocolate dishes. Finish with one last unforgettable coffee flavour combination.
Return your rental vehicle, and then travel aboard the interislander ferry (2.00 pm departure/ 5.00 pm arrival) which travels through the Marlborough Sound before arriving in Picton. Here you will collect your new rental vehicle, and make your way to Blenheim.
In Marlborough the predominant wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, followed by other white varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, & Gewurztraminer. In more recent times Pinot Noir has come to the forefront, with extensive plantings of this grape. A large concentration of wineries can be found in the Renwick area, with others spread across the expanse of the Wairau River Valley, where the river itself runs out into Cloudy Bay.
Day 8 – Blenheim
Enjoy a mouth-watering breakfast at The Pepper Tree.
Today’s mission is an enjoyable bike tour with Explore Marlborough (9.30 am – 3.30 pm). You will be taken you off the main roads and along some of the quieter country roads, through private vineyards and along the river stop-banks. Your tour includes an enthusiastic guide who will inform you about the surrounding area, the history, the wineries and wines throughout the day. The tour is designed to cover about 10km of very easy flat riding. The off road riding through the vineyards and along the stop-banks is across hard packed earth covered with grass or gravel and is easy to bike by all skill levels.
Along the way you will visit:
- Grove Mill Winery, with a great selection of wines, a stunning wetland which has become a haven for native birdlife, and one of the region’s best contemporary art galleries
- Seresin Estate, an organic winery and olive oil producer owned by renowned New Zealand cinematographer Michael Seresin
- Wairau River Winery where you will enjoy a long slow lunch in their award-winning restaurant
- Riverlore Gallery where you will meet and view the beautiful art of local artist Joanna Scott
- Forrest Estate Wines, to sample the final wines of the day.
Day 9 – Blenheim – Kaikoura
Driving time approximately 2hrs (130kms)
Breakfast is included this morning at The Pepper Tree. From here you will travel south along the east coast of the South Island to the sea side town of Kaikoura, for your Whale Watching boat excursion (duration 3 hours). Kaikoura’s semi-resident sperm whales share their unique world with a host of the other whale and dolphin species, seals and albatross – all regular sightings aboard a Whale Watch tour.
Day 10 – Kaikoura – Mount Cook region
Driving time approximately 5-6 hrs, depending on your accommodation for the evening (approx 450kms)
Depart Kaikoura and travel to one of the beautiful farms or homestays located within the Mount Cook region.
The scenic route to Lake Tekapo begins at Rangiora, a rural centre north of Christchurch city. Small towns appear regularly as you travel across the Canterbury Plains through fields and farms. Explore the old coal mining settlement of Glentunnel before the road climbs over the braided Rakaia River and up to Mount Hutt. There are historic lime kilns at Staveley and Mt Somers, and the pretty town of Geraldine has an interesting car museum. After Fairlie you’ll ascend to the region known as the Mackenzie Country, named after the legendary Scottish sheep rustler who once roamed the area.The settlement of Lake Tekapo is at the southern end of the lake. Fishing, kayaking, bike riding, horse trekking and skiing are some of the things you can do in the area. The Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue are great photo opportunities.
Agriculture is one of New Zealand’s largest industries. The best way to understand the industry is to experience it on a working farm. Today you will be hosted on a traditional New Zealand farm. It could be a dairy, cattle or a sheep farm dependant on availability. Make friends with your host and even ‘muck in’ (help out) with the daily chores. This evening enjoy a cooked meal with your hosts.
Day 11 – Mount Cook – Queenstown
Driving time approximately 3.5hrs (260kms)
Breakfast is included with your hosts this morning. If you’re on a dairy farm you may have the opportunity to assist with the morning milking. Following breakfast, farewell your new Kiwi family and travel to Queenstown.
Your trip to Queenstown begins with the beautiful Lindis Pass – just magic when there’s snow around. Lake Dunstan is a fine place for a picnic before you explore the restored heart of Cromwell. Take a detour to Bannockburn if you’re interested in old gold workings. No stop in Cromwell is complete without stopping at Mrs Jones’ Orchard to collect some yummy locally grown treats for your journey.
The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic. It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments, heli-picnics and leisurely games of golf.
Day 12 – Queenstown
This morning you will be met in your hotel lobby by Appellation Central Wine tours for a full day Gourmet Wine Tour (9.30am-4.30pm). Get a true understanding of the regions wine industry thanks to your knowledgeable guide.
Inclusions on today’s tour are:
- Tasting at 5 venues in the Gibbston, Cromwell and Bannockburn regions
- Discovering The Big Picture wine adventure with its aroma room and virtual wine flight and tasting
- Visit New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave
- A local cheese tasting at one of the vineyards
- A delightful platter style lunch at one of our venues
- 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
- View the historic Kawarau Bridge and the original AJ Hackett Bungy jump
Day 13 – Depart Queenstown
Price from €4,450 per person*
Package includes 11 nights deluxe accomodation, rental car, excursions as set out in the package above, daily breakfasts and 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Also included is a personalised Tour Manual with detailed day-to-day driving instructions and recommended activities, New Zealand road atlas and map as well as regional brochures.
*Flights to New Zealand are not included in the above package price. Flights from Germany to New Zealand cost from €1500 and above, depending upon how far in advance you book, the season of travel, the airline, and the route. Please let us know if you would like us to assist you with booking flights to New Zealand.