Classic New Zealand wine trail itinerary

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail takes you through three key wine districts. Travel from Hawke's Bay in the North Island to Marlborough in the South Island, stopping at Wairarapa and Wellington along the way to take in the stunning landscape, beautiful forest parks, vibrant nightlife, and decadent dining experiences. The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail isn't called that for nothing.

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Classic New Zealand wine trail itinerary

Day 1: Napier and Hastings

Because of a substantial rebuild following the terrible 1931 earthquake, Napier and its sister city Hastings feature some of the greatest Art Deco buildings in the world. The Hawke's Bay vineyards are all within easy driving distance — drive yourself, hire a tour, or go for a cycle through the vines. Pick up a winery map at the local i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, and don't forget to stop by one of the wonderful winery restaurants for lunch. The Earthquake Exhibition and Nga Tukemata (an exhibition celebrating Maori heritage on the East Coast) in the museum, as well as the gannet colony and golf course at Cape Kidnappers, are among the other attractions.

Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Day 2: Napier to Martinborough

On your way to Wairarapa today, make a stop at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. See wild birds like the titipounamu (rifleman), kerer (New Zealand falcon), and krearea (New Zealand falcon) (wood pigeon). Advocacy birds such as Kahurangi the kkako may also be seen. The Wairarapa is a diverse collection of intriguing towns. A major artistic community can be found in Carterton, as well as Stonehenge Aotearoa, a working reproduction of England's famed henge. Greytown is a Victorian-era country town with a mix of boutique and antique shops. Martinborough has approximately 20 wineries, the most of which are within walking or bike distance of the village square. The town's boutique vineyards produce some of New Zealand's greatest pinot noir, so it's no surprise that Wairarapa is a popular wine-lovers' vacation.

Martinborough
Martinborough
Martinborough, New Zealand

Day 3: Martinborough to Wellington

Stop in Featherston on your route to Wellington to see the world's only Fell Engine. C'est Cheese, an artisan cheese shop featuring cheese from all over the country and a wide variety of deli delicacies, is a must-see. The view from the Remutaka Range is spectacular in every way. Wellington is a compact, cultured city with a lot of personality. The downtown area, which is nestled between the harbour and the hills, is great for walking tours. Cafes, restaurants, and a variety of museums are all available. Wellington is known for its dance, theatrical, and musical acts. This city, being New Zealand's capital, is steeped in political history.

Wellington
Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand

Day 4: Wellington to Picton

One of the most magnificent boat rides in the world is over Cook Strait and into the Marlborough Sounds. It takes just over three hours to travel between New Zealand's North and South islands on a cruise-style ferry. The Red Rocks seal colony, Tory Channel, Cook's Lookout, and the lovely coves of the Sounds are also highlights along the journey. The ferry service's South Island headquarters is Picton, a lovely beach town. It's also the starting point for exploring the Marlborough Sounds' marine, woodland, and island attractions. While you're here, you'll be delighted with museums and interesting walks. If you have some spare time, take a stroll or cycling along the famous Queen Charlotte Track.

Picton
Picton
Picton, New Zealand

Day 5: Picton to Blenheim

The short trip to Blenheim takes you through vineyards and wineries on the Wairau Plains. Within driving distance of Blenheim are more than 20 wineries. Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region is a must-try. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, stores, and golf courses in Blenheim itself. Blenheim offers a diverse range of lodging options, from homestays to boutique hotels. Greenshell Mussels are a must-try for seafood enthusiasts in nearby Havelock. You might want to continue exploring the South Island after your Classic New Zealand Wine Trail experience; Central Otago is another wine region worth visiting.

Blenheim
Blenheim
Blenheim, New Zealand

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