A SENSE OF PLACE, PEOPLE and CUISINE
NORTH Island | 8 day/7 night
Ideal seasonality mid- October (late Spring) through to late March (Fall)
With only 4.5m people Aotearoa, or The Land of the Long White Cloud as the indigenous Māori call New Zealand, is a multicultural society boasting a unique blend of European, Polynesian and Pan-Asian influences in its food, wine and culture. Fresh, innovative and delicious, New Zealand's flavoursome food and world class wines are essential ingredients for any New Zealand experience - whether fine dining, casual outdoor meals, tastings at cellar doors or mingling with local producers at farmers markets.
For many, New Zealand’s wines are their primary motivation to visit, particularly the winemakers in the Hawkes Bay, Esk Valley and Wairarapa wine regions which produce some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, Aromatics and Sauvignon Blanc. What makes the wines so special? Simply, it's all about the Terroir; the exceptional climate, soil and people form the key ingredients making New Zealand's wines as distinctive as its exceptional scenery.
Pair these regions with the breath-taking scenery of the North Island to discover a rare South Pacific gastronomic jewel.
Our Delicious Highlights include
- Exclusive tours & tasting at leading Hawkes Bay, Esk Valley and Wairarapa winemakers, including Craggy Range, Black Barn, Askerne, Moana Park + Ata Rangi
- A home-hosted private dinner with a local Māori family
- Luxury sunset catamaran cruise on Lake Rotoiti and opportunity to bathe in natural outdoor hot pools
- 3 course lunch at Black Barn, recently listed by the Frommers guide books as one of th Top 10 Vineyards of the World to visit.
- A Vintners' luncheon including wine-tasting at a gorgeous boutique Martinborough winery
- Exploring Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Art Deco Napier, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa wine regions and the country's capital Wellington - voted "the coolest little capital in the world" by Lonely Planet Guides
- Sunset visit to TE MATA PEAK for sensational views over Hawkes Bay
- A cultural visit to an authentic, local Māori marae for a formal Powhiri/Welcome ceremony by local Kaumātua (elders) and a delightful (and very energetic!) kapa haka performed by local school-children
- Cruise Lake Taupo the largest lake in the country and the caldera of the Lake Taupo volcano, to view the MINE BAY carvings
- Sulfurous ROTORUA and its impressive (if somewhat...smelly!) geysers and bubbling mud pools
- The extraordinary TE PAPA National Museum
Optional Sightseeing Highlights:
- In Napier there will be an opportunity for a short round at the fabulous CAPE KIDNAPPERS golf course
- In Rotorua visit the internationally renown Polynesian Spa, Whakarewarewa thermal village and the fabulous Redwoods Treewalk
- A seasonal cooking class
- Fully escorted by a Gourmet Journeys Tour Director
- Professional wine tour guide in Hawkes Bay
- Deluxe accommodation with private facilities, hotel taxes, porterage, service charges & NZ GST (15%)
- All transfers, sightseeing and tastings as specified
- Deluxe coach transportation
- Full buffet breakfast daily + 4 lunches and 3 dinners
- Leisurely paced, two night stays in ROTORUA, NAPIER and WELLINGTON
Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland
On arrival at Auckland airport transfer to your hotel. Remainder of day at leisure.
Accommodation: SUDIMA AUCKLAND AIRPORT HOTEL (or sim)
Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua
Early departure - Auckland city sights tour. Then leaving the cityscape behind, travel southwards through the lush Waikato region to Daltons Plantation café in Matamata for a memorable two course WELCOME LUNCH. Then on to ROTORUA with city sights on arrival.Our hotel is located close to both LAKE ROTORUA (an interesting and easy walk to stretch your legs) and the wonderfully invigorating natural mineral pools at the award winning POLYNESIAN SPA. Late afternoon individual transfers to a home-hosted private dinner with a local Maori family.
Accommodation: MILLENNIUM HOTEL, ROTORUA (or sim) 2 nights
Day 3 - Rotorua
Morning free for optional sightseeing.
This afternoon brings an exceptional experience. A local Maori guide will escort and host our visit to a traditional Maori Marae. An authentic cultural experience, prepare to share something extraordinary. A formal Powhiri/Welcome ceremony by local Kaumātua/elders is followed by an enthusiastic kapa haka cultural performance by local school children and an afternoon tea with our hosts.
Late afternoon, a relaxing sunset luxury catamaran cruise on Lake Rotoiti includes BBQ dinner and an opportunity to bathe in the natural outdoor hot pools.
Day 4 - Rotorua - Lake Taupo - Napier
Depart Rotorua to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country and the caldera of the LAKE TAUPO volcano. Enjoy a 2 hour lake cruise to view the MINE BAY carvings before heading to Hawkes Bay and its art deco capital, NAPIER. Evening at leisure.
Accommodation: SCENIC HOTEL TE PANIA (or sim) 2 nights
Day 5 - Hawkes Bay Wine Region
A full day tasting and exploring the fabulous flavours of Hawkes Bay. Visits to a match of boutique and premium makers including Craggy Range and Black Barn where we will also enjoy a 3 course lunch. Black Barn was recently listed by the highly respected Frommers guidebooks as one of their Top 10 Vineyards of the World to visit. Tastings also at Askerne and Moana Park Estates and then something a little different - Telegraph Hills Olives. A late afternoon visit to TE MATA PEAK for sensational views over Hawkes Bay. Evening free.
Day 6 - Napier - Wairarapa - Wellington
Southwards to the WAIRARAPA wine region famed for fine Pinot Noir and Riesling varietals.
You would be hard-pressed to find a list of 'Best NZ Pinot Noir' which doesn't feature ATA RANGI at its top. The winery is our first stop for an exclusive tasting and talk - the principal wine has won the coveted Bouchard Finlayson Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at London’s respected International Wine and Spirit Competition three times. Then a leisurely Vintners' Lunch at boutique winery, Poppies. Later we journey over the Rimutaka ranges to the nation's capital, WELLINGTON. Evening at leisure.
Accommodation: RYDGES HOTEL - 2 nights
Day 7 - Wellington
Morning sightseeing tour takes in a panoramic view of the city from the top of the famous Mt Victoria lookout. Next a private visit to TE PAPA - the extraordinary national museum. Next is Wellington's CABLE CAR and a visit to the famous Botanic Gardens. The remainder of the afternoon is free for further exploration, or perhaps a cooking class. The city is also home to a couple of well regarded golf courses. A FAREWELL DINNER this evening.
Day 8 - Farewell Wellington
Tour finishes today at 10 am checkout.
This tour readily lends itself to combine with our Sth Island touring itinerary creating an in-depth New Zealand food and wine experience.
CUSTOMISING IS OUR MIDDLE NAME
This itinerary is easily customised to cater to your special interests and may be easily extended (and/or reversed) to continue exploring the fabulous food and wine of the South Island including the iconic Marlborough and Central Otago wine regions - where the food is as dramatic and diverse as the scenery.
Our focus is on both small-group and independent travellers allowing significant flexibility, particularly in sourcing alternative types of accommodation including; hotels, luxury lodges or villas, apartments etc. Please refer to our Booking Terms and Conditions for these details and should you have any further enquiries or wish to explore possiblilites in greater detail please click to EMAIL US
Hotels listed above are of a Deluxe grade - Luxury or Premium properties are also available, please let us know your preference and we'll create your perfect vacation.
To request a quote, ask a question or to make a booking please use the link below
Lead image courtesy Pure Cruises, Rotorua