19 Day Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

19 Day Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

Visit the four major wine growing regions of New Zealand - Queenstown, Marlborough, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay. Enjoy local wine specialties as well as compareing the subtleties of regional variations along with amazing sightseeing en route and a few special surprises included along the way.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Queenstown
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $7198 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 19 Days
Tour Code: GNCNZW


18 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
3 nights in majestic Queenstown & Auckland and lot's of 2 night stopovers for a relaxing self drive itinerary
Enjoy a day of wine and olive tasting at three vineyards and an olive grove on Waiheke Island
Full day guided tour Matakana Coast Wine Country
Full day guided wine tours in Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and Queenstown
Gourmet walking tour in Wellington
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
Icons of Marlborough - Guided tour of stunning Marlborough wine region, home to our world famous Sauvignon Blanc including a Greenshell Mussel Cruise.


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

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Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

On arrival at Auckland airport, you will be personally met by our representative and transferred in an executive sedan to your accommodation.

The afternoon is yours to relax or to explore the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant city, offering an exciting array of cosmopolitan experiences. Family attractions abound and the city has plenty of adrenaline for adventure lovers. Indulge in Auckland’s shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Waiheke Island - Auckland

Make your way to the Auckland ferry terminal and board your ferry at the Downtown Terminal for a pleasant cruise through the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island. You’ll enjoy a day of wine tasting at three vineyards with a light lunch included at Stonyridge Vineyard.

You will also have the opportunity for an olive tasting at a local olive grove, plus have the chance to indulge in locally produced foods such as mouth watering preserves and world class olive oils.

After your tour, you are free to explore the island further before returning to Auckland by ferry.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Auckland - Great Taste of Matakana Guided Tour - Auckland

This morning you will be collected from your hotel and leave the bustle of the city. Relax on the one hour drive north through the rolling green hills and past beautiful coastline before arriving at The Honey Centre.

Here you’ll find New Zealand’s largest display of live bees and a huge range of honeys available for tasting as well as honey mead and fruit-wine. Then we visit a local vineyard and taste award-winning wines and local cheese in a platter match. Nearby, in the heart of Matakana Coast Wine Country, is Morris & James Pottery, where you are greeted by a pure visual spectacle of layer upon layer of design and colour from matt black to luscious red.

Lunch is at Mahurangi River Winery with its contemporary New Zealand architecture and wide pastoral views. Tour the winery and barrel room as well as sampling their wine (made only from grapes grown on the property) before taking time to enjoy the local cuisine.

From here the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail showcases an ever-changing exhibition of contemporary sculptures by leading New Zealand artists. Sample their hand crafted wines in the unique Glass House building before heading back to the city. The day is rounded off with a stop at Chocolate Brown – where they hand-make outrageously fine chocolates.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Auckland - Taupo

Collect your rental car this morning and head south to Taupo. You might like to go via Waitomo and take a guided tour of the glow-worm caves. In Taupo, relax and enjoy the Scenic Cellars for wine-tasting and shopping. Lake Taupo has a great cafe culture and is home to every type of dining from casual restaurants serving comforting pub food to internationally renowned silver service dining and everything in between.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Taupo - Hawke's Bay

You have a leisurely morning in Taupo to enjoy coffee beside the lake, or take a swim in the hot pools. From here you have quite a variety of scenery as you ascend to the volcanic plateau making your way across mountains and valleys to Hawke’s Bay. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Full Day Guided Wine Tour of Hawke's Bay

A complete action packed day highlighting the best Hawke’s Bay has to offer. Start the day in the picturesque Esk Valley Region. Take a full behind the scenes tour of Church Road winery, the Tom McDonald Cellar and New Zealand’s only wine museum. Enjoy lunch with wine at the country’s oldest and grandest winery, the Mission Estate.

After lunch visit one of Hawke’s Bay’s small boutique wineries and take another behind the scenes look at how wine evolves from the vine to the glass on a smaller scale. A great contrast to the larger production winery from the morning. Travel through New Zealand’s most prestigious wine growing district the Gimblett Gravels from which we taste award winning wines throughout the day.

Finish with a gourmet platter at award winning restaurant and winery Vidal. Indulge in the finest local produce including meat, seafood, cheese, marinated vegetables, olives, breads and dips.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Hawke's Bay - Martinborough

Today’s route has you driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. You may like to visit the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka – tour the brewery and taste a selection of ales.

Carterton is a good place to shop for Paua shell souvenirs. Browse the antique, homeware and fashion shops as well as the art galleries in the colonial village of Greytown before making your way to Martinborough. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Full Day Guided Wine Tour of Martinborough

This unique and exclusive wine tour takes you behind the scenes, often where the general public can’t access.

Your friendly, knowledgeable wine tour host, Jill Fraser, will ensure your day is pleasurable and enlightening. You will have the opportunity to taste regional cuisine and sample wines, meet local winemakers and growers and experience the culture of Martinborough including a visit to an olive oil producer.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Martinborough - Wellington

Climb up and over the Rimutaka Range – great views in every direction. Once the mountains are behind you, it’s easy driving for the rest of your journey.

You’ll wind through the picturesque Hutt Valley then a fast moving motorway will whisk you towards the city. You may like to take a detour to Wharekauhau, one of New Zealand’s most exclusive lodges, for lunch (booking is essential, so contact your consultant if you would like to include this option in your itinerary) before you arrive in Wellington. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Wellington - Zest Walking Gourmet Tour - Wellington

Over a relaxed 4 hour 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. This mouth-watering culinary experience concludes with a delicious, light, three course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines at a top Wellington restaurant.

The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Wellington – Walk around downtown and harbour-side, visit galleries, shop in Lambton Quay or visit the national museum of Te Papa Tongarewa on the harbour waterfront.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Wellington - Interislander Ferry Crossing - Blenheim

This morning you will be transferred to the ferry terminal where you board Interislander ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton. On arrival collect your rental car and make your way to Blenheim in Marlborough – home to over 160 wineries. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Blenheim - Marlborough Icons Tour - Blenheim

Head out into the stunning Marlborough wine region to sample the world famous Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough is renowned as the wine capital of New Zealand with over half of New Zealand’s wine grown in the region.

See why the Sauvignon Blanc is world famous, try the aromatic Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer or sample the complexities of the Merlot and Pinot Noir. Visit Marlborough’s icon winery, Cloudy Bay, for a tasting of their range of award winning wines. Enjoy the Pelorus Bubbles, the Sauvignon Blanc, and the complexities of Te Koko Sauvignon and Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir.

Visit “The Village” where you can try stunning wines from a selection of boutique wine companies, along with Prenzel Schnapps, Marlborough Olive oils or view the crafts of Quilters Barn.

After a morning of wine tastings we will head through to Havelock, the gateway to the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds. Time to enjoy a nice lunch (own cost) at the Slip Inn Cafe before boarding your launch for the Greenshell Mussel cruise. Enjoy an informative and relaxing afternoon cruising the inner Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds.

Take in the natural beauty of this tranquil environment, learn about the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the pioneering families who have settled here. Visit a Greenshell Mussel farm where you will learn about the intricacies of growing this delicacy and taste freshly steamed mussels with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Blenheim - Christchurch

Today travel south along the east coast of the South Island through the Wairarapa wine region to Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city. Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. Following the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city, and there is plenty to experience and see. New restaurants and bars are popping up nearly every day with an exciting food and wine scene.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Christchurch - Mt Cook

Drive through the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo, where you should definitely stop to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. Then it’s on to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier; the longest in the Southern hemisphere (optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions).

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Mt Cook - Wanaka

The easy drive to Omarama takes you through picturesque sheep farming country fringed with mountain ranges. You’ll have the chance to detour to the fascinating Paritea cliffs, which are constantly being exposed by the active Osler fault line. You could also pause to cast a line into the Ahuriri River – famous for sizeable rainbow and brown trout.

Your trip to Wanaka then takes you through the beautiful Lindis Pass – just magic when there’s snow around. Then at Tarras, a small sheep farming settlement on State Highway 8, not far from the southern end of the Lindis Pass, you might like to stop at one of the vineyards that have been established here in recent years (mainly Pinot Noir and Riesling) before you head inland to reach your destination of the peaceful and picturesque lakeside town Wanaka.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Wanaka - Queenstown

Only a short drive today. Take the route from Wanaka to Queenstown that runs along the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan and the Shotover River. This area is better known as the Central Otago Wine Trail region encompassing Wanaka, Cromwell, Bannockburn, Bendigo, Alexandra, and Gibbston with an international reputation for Pinot Noir.

There are over 30 wineries and vineyards in this area offering tastings, tours, lunches and meals. Further along SH6 and 15 minutes from central Queenstown is the Arrowtown Junction at Lake Hayes. On the corner you will find the exquisite Amisfield Winery and Bistro which should not be missed. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Queenstown - Guided Wine Tour - Queenstown

A relaxed day of fine cuisine, good company, sampling local cheeses and tasting premium cool-climate wines. Wine tastings at 5 vineyards in the Gibbston Valley, Cromwell and Bannockburn regions are on the cards today. Take a tour through New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave and enjoy a tasting of local cheeses at one of the vineyards. A delightful platter style lunch is included.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Queenstown at Leisure

A full day to further explore Queenstown and the surrounding area. Make sure you visit The Winery – located right in the heart of Queenstown. Wine Tastes is one of the largest wine tasting experiences in the world. Serve yourself a taste, half or full glass from over 80 different wines for tasting using the state-of-the-art Enomatic Wine Serving System.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19
Depart Queenstown

Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you deliver your car back to the rental car depot at Queenstown airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Your choice of accommodation


There are 1 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

We have no hesitation to recommend Relaxing Journeys to make travel arrangements for a 26 day vacation in New Zealand. Michelle was our contact via email. We did a self drive wine tour of both islands. After a few iterations of emails and planning where and when we wanted to go, we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. Knowing what we know now, we think we would hardly modify anything about the trip. We stayed in B&B's, three or four nights in each of seven locations. The accommodation experience was outstanding, especially Cobden Gardens in Napier, Glendinning House in Dunedin and Acacia Cliff Lodge at Lake Taupo. What wonderful memories. We visited local farmers' markets in Hastings, Dunedin and Queenstown. The tours booked by Michelle were all quite good, except the Huka Falls jet boat -too much spinning around at high speed. Something for younger people. The tour to Doubtful Sound was spectacular. The trip on the steamship Earnslaw in Queenstown was pleasant. We would recommend that the dinner at the sheep station at Mt. Walter be simplified - it was a buffet and way too much food. The botanical gardens in Dunedin are spectacular. Bush and Beach tours in Auckland are excellent. Driving in New Zealand was a very pleasant experience. There is not a large amount of traffic and the roads are good. If you do drive, make sure you understand the signage at the one way bridges before you encounter one. The sign indicates which end of the bridge has the right of way while the other end must yield to oncoming traffic. There are not many such bridges, but you will probably find at least one if you drive. We did air travel on two occasions within the country to avoid long days in the car. No security lines at the airport for in country flights. That was a very pleasant surprise. In summary, Relaxing Journeys is an excellent choice for an agent for your first trip to New Zealand. They have a wide variety of choices and for us, they really taylored the trip to our interests. Thank you so much Michelle for the window you opened for us in New Zealand.
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Enquire about our 19 Day Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

19 Day Classic New Zealand Wine Trail
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNCNZW
From (NZD) $7198 per person
Save (NZD) $719 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

1 reviews (5/5)

Visit the four major wine growing regions of New Zealand - Queenstown, Marlborough, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay. Enjoy local wine specialties as well as... Read More

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19 Day Classic New Zealand Wine Trail
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