WINE & FOOD TRAILS, NORTH & SOUTH
11 days / 10 nights – Deluxe Hotels
Highlights:

Food & Wine, Waiheke Island
Maori cultural evening, Rotorua

Wine & Country Tour, Hawkes Bay
Wine tasting, Martinborough
Fur Seals, Cape Palliser
Foodie Tour, Wellington
Food & Wine, Marlborough

Driving distances:

 

Auckland – Rotorua: 250km, 3.5hrs

Rotorua – Taupo - Napier: 230km, 3hrs
Napier – Martinborough: 270km, 3.5hrs
Martinborough – Cape Palliser - Wellington: 200km, 3hrs

ITINERARY
(B-Breakfast/L-Lunch/D-Dinner)
Day 1
ARRIVAL AUCKLAND                 
[-/-/-]

You will be welcomed by a Maori Trails representative upon arrival. Private transfer to your selected Auckland City hotel.

 

Rest of the day at your own leisure in Auckland.

Overnight:

Auckland Hilton, harbour location, Hilton Guest Room

Day 2
[B/L/-]
AUCKLAND – WAIHEKE - AUCKLAND

In the morning take a ferry and in less than 50 minutes you reach Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Waiheke is a picturesque blend of vineyards and olive groves, beaches, farmland and forest. On this full day tour, you experience a combination of the best food and wine this charming island has to offer.

 

You stop at 3 award winning vineyards and an olive grove plus have a chance to indulge in locally produced foods such as mouth-watering preserves and world class olive oils. Lunch is included at the famous Stonyridge Vineyard. Return in the afternoon by ferry to Auckland CBD.

Evening at your own leisure.

         

Overnight:

Auckland Hilton *****, harbour location, Hilton Guest Room

Day 3
AUCKLAND – ROTORUA                 
[B/-/-]

After leaving busy Auckland behind, enjoy the green rolling hills of The Waikato, a region rich in farming and agriculture where you arrive after in the afternoon in Rotorua, the cultural heart of the North Island.

 

Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. The city is also the tribal home of the Te Arawa people who settled in its lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago.

 

Rotorua is also known for its shooting geysers, bubbling mud pools and natural hot springs as well for showcasing the fascinating Maori culture.

 

Take a leisurely uphill Gondola ride on Mt. Ngongotaha for a panoramic view over Rotorua, the surrounding lakes and geothermal areas.

 

Your main purpose for this gondola ride however lies in the unique ‘Volcanic Hills’ Winery, founded in 2009 by local wine enthusiasts. The owners have also setup a spectacular tasting room where you can taste all 5 of their wines, among them their superb Sauvignon-Blanc, recently winner of the ‘Pure Gold Medal’ at Air New Zealand’s Wine Awards. Included is a tour of the winery by one of the owners.

 

 In the evening joins us on a traditional Maori experience at Mitai Village, our preferred partners and friends, for an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Mitai Maori Village is nestled in a natural bush setting just outside of Rotorua. You witness the arrival of a ‘waka’, the ancient warrior canoe on the Wai-o-whiro stream and your Maori guide explains you all the secrets to cook a traditional ‘Hangi’ and the traditions of ‘ta moko’, Maori tattoo art. A cultural performance displaying weaponry and combat, coupled with the beauty of the poi dance, will finish with the highlight – the spine-tingling Haka. A traditional Hangi dinner rounds off an unforgettable evening with the Mitai family. Maori Trails is honoured being able to offer its guests an exclusive face to face meeting with the village chief during the evening.

 

Overnight:

Peppers On the Point *****, lakeside location, Lake Villa

Day 4
ROTORUA – TAUPO - NAPIER
[B/-/-]

After breakfast, you leave Rotorua on one of New Zealand’s 10 scenic highways, the ‘Thermal Explorer’ towards Taupo. Stop at one of the many geothermal attractions along the way. After an hour, you reach Taupo which sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake.

 

Lake Taupo was formed after a giant explosion (believed in 186AD). The lake is nowadays the world’s largest volcanic crater. Taupo township has become a major holiday destination for locals- and foreign tourists alike. Taupo has also been dubbed “Adventure Capital of New Zealand”, mainly for its offerings to those wanting to try bungee-jumping, jet-boating or Skydiving.

 

The mighty Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock just before Huka Falls. The effect is nature’s large-scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle. Stop at Huka Falls for a photo opportunity, New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.

We recommend lunch in many of Taupo’s charming restaurants or a picnic by the shore of Lake Taupo.

 

Continue your journey on the ‘Thermal Explorer’ Highway towards Napier. The major entertainment on the road from Taupo to Napier is the fantastic scenery. There’s a bit of everything – rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas. At Tarawera we recommend a stop for the hot springs.

 

After a massive earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt, in the then predominant Art Deco Style, in less than 2 years. Today Napier is worldwide one of the most beautiful

and best preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
 

Evening at your own leisure.

 

Overnight:

The Crown Hotel ****, waterfront Ahuriri, 10min to Napier, Studio room

Day 5
HAWKES BAY
[B/-/-]

The Region of Hawkes Bay and Napier is not only famous for its Art Deco architecture but also for a landscape that retains an ‘untouched’ feel. Hawkes Bay is also one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest regions, making it a leading wine producer, in particular red wines – Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, but also some quite stunning whites.

Join our local Hawkes Bay expert on an intimate, informative 5hrs private tour through this fascinating part of the North Island and visit some local vineries and take in the breathtaking scenery from Te Mata Peak, where you have a bird’s eye view of the entire region, from the plains to the Pacific Ocean. You are be able to choose from a number of excellent wineries to visit, our local expert is very well connected among the wine makers in the region. Lunch at one of the wineries outstanding gourmet restaurants (own cost).

 

In the late afternoon, after all that food and wine, we have arranged for an expert guide from Napier’s Art Deco Trust for a guided walking tour where you can learn all about the devastating earthquake, the rebuild efforts and the now protected Art Deco Buildings including the stories behind some of the landmark sites.

 

Evening at your own leisure.

Overnight:

The Crown Hotel ****, waterfront Ahuriri, 10min to Napier, Studio room

Day 6
[B/-/-]
NAPIER – MARTINBOROUGH                 

Hawkes Bay is not only ‘food & wine’ but also home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. Even for those not much into ‘bird watching’ – seeing these massive birds with over 2-meter wingspan soaring above the ruggedly beautiful coastline is truly impressive. The tour is conducted as a ‘Safari’ in a 4x4 vehicle and expertly guided by an experienced local. Visit a 5000 acres’ farm on Cape Kidnapper, a production forest, learn about the local Maori legend and discover the largest mainland gannet colony in the world from a position at the brink of the cliffs edge, 100 metres above the ocean. Tour duration approx. 3 hours.

 

In the afternoon continue South on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail towards Martinborough in the Wairarapa Region.

 

The Wairarapa is a delightful mix of wineries, antiques, food and historic charm. The main town here is Martinborough which has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island and is home to 25 boutique vineyards and several fabulous restaurants.

 

Martinborough’s wineries are mostly family owned and home to some of the best Pinot Noir’s in the world. Many of these wineries have open cellar doors and there is
no need for appointments, just pop-in and taste some of their amazing wines (most charge a small free which will be reimbursed upon purchase of a bottle).

 

Evening at your own leisure.

 

Overnight:

The Martinborough ****, central location, Heritage Suite  

Day 7
[B/L/-]
MARTINBOROUGH                                   

We believe the best way to get around Martinborough and its wineries is by bicycle and we have pre-arranged for you the bikes and a local wine expert (if you don’t want to cycle yourself, there is the option of a Rickshaw).

 

 

On this 6hrs tour it is not only about tasting the excellent wines but to hear the stories from the makers! You visit 3 wineries, carefully selected to ensure you get the most interesting cross-section of producers and wine available. Enjoy a lovely gourmet picnic of local deli fare in a sheltered spot along the way.

 

Evening at your own leisure.

 

Overnight:

The Martinborough ****, central location, Heritage Suite  

We believe the best way to get around Martinborough and its wineries is by bicycle and we have pre-arranged for you the bikes and a local wine expert (if you don’t want to cycle yourself, there is the option of a Rickshaw).

Day 8
[B/-/-]
MARTINBOROUGH – CAPE PALLISER - ELLINGTON

A scenic 1.5hrs drive south brings you towards the South Coast of the North Island.

The road to Cape Palliser is dramatically scenic. This area of New Zealand has a rich Maori history of early Maori occupation and heritage sites are part of the fascinating landscape. For the final part of the journey, the road clings to the edge of the coast, providing unstoppable views of Palliser Bay. Climb the 250 steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse, built in 1897 and take in the views from the North Island’s southern-most point. On the drive back along the coast, spot the fur seals, the North Island’s largest colony.

Drive back via Lake Wairarapa towards Wellington. After the town of Featherston you climb up and over the Rimutaka Range with great views in every direction. After the mountains, descend through the picturesque Hutt Valley and then on a fast-moving motorway right to New Zealand’s Capital city.

 

Wellington is called ‘the coolest little capital in the word’ by Lonely Planet and we are sure this doesn’t refer to the often-windy conditions. Nestled between a sparkling 

harbour and rolling green hills, Wellington is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. Over the last couple of years Wellington has also made itself a name for an outstanding gastronomy – including trendy coffee shops, creative restaurants and a vibrant bar scene.

 

Evening at your own leisure.

 

Overnight:

Bolton Hotel****, central location, Classic Suite   

Day 9
[B/-/-]
WELLINGTON

Given Wellington’s increasing popularity as a ‘foodie destination’ we have arranged for you a ‘Capital Tastes Tour’, expertly guided by a renowned food- and gastro expert. You discover unique tastes in New Zealand’s coffee capital and get an introduction to the city, architecture and history, all while sampling local, artisan flavours. Stroll behind the scenes at some of our favourite Wellington food places and taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the makers behind some of the city’s best food. This tour includes some light walking.

 

In the afternoon, you visit New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. This is much more than ‘just’ a museum but an innovative and interactive destination within Wellington. It showcases New Zealand’s great treasures and stories, its unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage and fascinating history.

 

 

You take an in-depth, expertly guided tour to discover all about Maori culture. From historic, artistic and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand’s Maori culture unique. 

 

Evening at your own leisure

 

Overnight:

Bolton Hotel****, central location, Classic Suite   

Day 10
[B/-/-]
WELLINGTON - BLENHEIM                 

Given Wellington’s increasing popularity as a ‘foodie destination’ we have arranged for you a ‘Capital Tastes Tour’, expertly guided by a renowned food- and gastro expert. You discover unique tastes in New Zealand’s coffee capital and get an introduction to the city, architecture and history, all while sampling local, artisan flavours. Stroll behind the scenes at some of our favourite Wellington food places and taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the makers behind some of the city’s best food. This tour includes some light walking.

 

In the afternoon, you visit New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. This is much more than ‘just’ a museum but an innovative and interactive destination within Wellington. It showcases New Zealand’s great treasures and stories, its unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage and fascinating history.

 

 

You take an in-depth, expertly guided tour to discover all about Maori culture. From historic, artistic and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand’s Maori culture unique. 

 

Evening at your own leisure

 

Overnight:

Bolton Hotel****, central location, Classic Suite   

Day 11
[B/-/-]
MARLBOROUGH

On a full day, guided tour you will visit between 5 and 7 wineries while taking in the panoramic scenery. You have the opportunity to input your choice of wineries to visit and we will try to include these in the program. Stop for a scenic lunch at one of Marlborough’s Winery Restaurants (not included). The tour ends with a visit to the Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory before returning to your hotel.

 

Evening at your own leisure.

Day 12
[B/-/-]
MARLBOROUGH - DEPARTURE

After breakfast transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Wellington, Auckland or
Christchurch or individual extension.

TOUR END
TOUR PRICING

The total costing for the above itinerary is found below. Prices are nett, per person based on Twin sharing in NZ Dollar (NZD). Surcharges and/or black-out periods may apply during peak season from mid-December to mid-January.

Package includes:

  • 11 nights’ accommodation deluxe hotels as specified

  • Sightseeing as listed including entrance fees where mentioned

  • Excursions as per itinerary

  • 15% Good & Service charges, room taxes

  • Daily breakfast

  • Lunches as listed above included where mentioned

  • Driver/Guide option: all cost including allowances, gasoline, insurance and driver accommodation.

©2016 by Maori Trails Ltd.