Discover Auckland's hidden foodie gems and the delights of the Matakana region before heading south through Hobbit country and on to Rotorua. Hawke's Bay is your next stop, with the chance to visit some outstanding New Zealand wineries. Experience some of the best with a Twilight Odyssey wine tour before continuing south to Martinborough, home to some of New Zealand's finest boutique wineries. Enjoy a guided tour of the local artisan producers and winemakers, then it's over the hill to the country's capital city of Wellington, and a walking tour of the cities best cafes, delis and bakeries.
Accommodation: Hotel 4 star
Day 1: Welcome to Auckland
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your city hotel. Your tour pack containing everything you need for this holiday will be handed to you. It will include a comprehensive printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information.
Day 2: Half Day Wine Tour
Today you'll be leaving the city and heading northwest to umeu Wline Country, Auckland's Heritage Wine Region Enjoy lunch at a contemporary vineyard, sample world-renowned wines and marvel at the rugged surf-fringed coastline nearby.
Continuing on, you will visit the Muriwai Gannet Colony - one of the few mainland nesting sites in the workd. Your final tasting is at West Brook Winery, one of New Zealand's oldest. These wines reflect true varietal character and their unique regional origins.
Day 3: Waiheke Vineyard Tour
Depart from Auckland Ferry Terminal and enjoy a scenic cruise through the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island. On arrival, you'll be greeted and directed to your coach for the day. Your first stop is Stoneyridge Vineyard, where you'll wander the ivy-clad buildings, sample award-winning wines and enjoy a sumptuous light lunch. You will then visit an olive growing estate and sample olive oils. A stop at Wild on Waiheke offers optional beer tasting as well as wine, and the chance to sample home grown preserves and chutneys.
Day 4: Auckland to Rotorua via Matamata
Collect your rental car and head southbound through the lush farmland and dairy pastyures of the Waikato region. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of the greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland towards Matamara. This is the real Middle Earth, and you'll see many locations used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit - as well as visiting the actual set of Hobbiton.
Day 5: Rotorua to Napier
This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.
Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180CE. As you approach the city, be sure to stop at Huka Falls to view the spectacular sight of hundred of cubic metres of water spilling every second down the narrow 11 metre drop.
Day 6: Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay
A free day to enjoy the city and local wineries. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must - Mission Estate, touted as the birthplace of NZ wine, can't be missed. For the truly enthused, head out on a tour of the vines. If you're after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to oneof the many beaches that ring the area. End on a high with another ride, this time in a comfortable trailer pulled by a tractor en-route to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony - the largest of its kind in the world.
Day 7: Napier to Martinborough
As you leave the rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay you'll be greeted with some of the country's richest dairy farmland in the Manawatu Gorge. Stop in the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, where you can see some of the New Zealand's native animals. Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day.
Day 8: Martinborough Food Tour
Today you taste and tour the artisan food and wine products of Martinborough on a food and wine producers tour. This tour is for two to four guests only, for a relaxed and personal experience. You will go where few visitors can, meeting innovative people dedicated to being the very best they can be with their premium boutique brands. Naturally, the delicious tasting lunch is matched with premium Martinborough wines, possibly from the very vines you can see from the table.
Day 9: Martinborough to Wellington City
A short drive over the Rimutaka Ranges as you make your way to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Often compared to Melbourne, Wellington is a vibrant cultural hub and home to the nation's centre of government. Take in the boardwalk view as you stroll to Te Papa Museum or indulge your cinematic side exploring Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award winning design for Lord of the Rings.
For those heading further down, the capital is where you board the ferry crossing the Cook Strait to the South Island.
Day 10: At Wellington
This morning take a walking tour of Wellington's gourmet hot spots. Time for shopping or relaxing this afternoon.
Day 11: Depart Wellington
More time to explore the city before your continue your onward journey.
This itinerary can be customised to suit you precisely
|Rotorua:||Waimangu Volcanic Valley Self Guided Walk|
|Gondola & Swing|
|Rainbow Springs & Kiwi Encounter|
|Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve & Mud Spa|
|Taupo:||Huka Falls Jet Boat Ride|
|Craters of the Moon Geothermal Area|
|Scenic Cruise on Lake Taupo|
|Napier:||Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony Tour|
|Chocolate Through the Ages Museum|
|Wellington||Cable Car to Carter Observatory & Botanic Gardens|
|Half Day Seal Coast Safari|