Follow the Wine Trail: New Zealand self-drive itinerary

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    Visit the famous vineyards of Blenheim | Travel Nation
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    Explore the famous Hawkes Bay region

    Explore the famous Hawkes Bay region | credit: Richard Brimer

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    Explore the blue bays and green islands of Marlborough Sounds

    Explore the blue bays and green islands of Marlborough Sounds

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    Try local New Zealand mussels with tomato sauce | Travel Nation

    Try local New Zealand mussels with tomato sauce

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    Head to Te Mata for a sunrise to remember | Travel Nation

    Head to Te Mata for a sunrise to remember

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    Eat delicious meals in New Zealand's vineyards | Travel Nation

    Eat wonderful meals amidst the wineries of Wellington

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    We've included tastings at 2 Marlborough wineries

    We've included tastings at 2 Marlborough wineries | credit: Kieran Scott

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    Visit Cape Kidnappers near Hawkes Bay | Travel Nation

    Visit Cape Kidnappers near Hawkes Bay

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 9

From: Auckland

To: Christchurch



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: New Zealand

    Spend 9 days on this gourmet New Zealand self-drive itinerary from Auckland to Christchurch, exploring a few of the key wine regions that account for more than 80% of the country’s wine production. Stay in some of our favourite boutique-style B&B’s as you embark on your journey through the likes of Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and the picturesque Marlborough Sounds sampling delicious wines and food as you go.  

    Stay in some of our favourite boutique-style B&Bs as you embark on your journey beginning in the geothermal and cultural hub of Rotorua where you can relax among the geysers and hot springs or learn about the Maori culture. From here it’s onto Hawkes Bay for some world class vineyards and unique art deco architecture. You will also cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds for pure tranquillity and delicious seafood after wine tasting in the vineyards of the area. Finish your trip in Christchurch on a punting trip to take in the best sights of the city.

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Enjoy a scenic gondola ride in Rotorua for glimpses of the geothermal activity
    • Stroll past the art deco architecture of Napier
    • Visit wineries in Martinborough and Hawkes Bay
    • Sample seafood delights in Marlborough Sounds on a picturesque cruise
    • Shop in Christchurch’s many boutique pop-ups


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 1 night Auckland
    • 1 night Rotorua
    • 2 nights Napier
    • 1 night Martinborough
    • 2 nights Blenheim
    • 1 night Christchurch

    Day 1: Auckland

    Arrive at any time today where you will take a private transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city. You could take a walk up Mount Eden or a ferry across to the quaint suburb of Devonport for great views across Auckland.

    Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua

    Collect your car rental today from the city centre and head towards Rotorua. The town is a hub of activities and most renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. The best way to experience this is via the Skyline Rotorua adventure where you take a gondola ride uphill 487 metres for spectacular vistas from Mount Ngongotaha down towards the lake and geothermal areas surrounding the town. Once you have finished taking in the view head towards a wine tasting at the top of the gondola before a decadent dining experience in the Skyline restaurant with 180-degree views of Rotorua below.

    Day 3: Napier

    It’s less than a 3-hour drive today to the coastal city of Napier set in the famous wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay. On arrival check into your hotel for 2 nights before heading out to explore the city in your own time. Napier is well known for its 1930’s art-deco style architecture so either explore at your own leisure or we can organise a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide to give you insight into the city that you’d never know!

    Day 4: Napier

    We have included a tour in today’s itinerary to an iconic winery- the Tom McDonald Cellar and New Zealand’s only wine museum. Here you will learn about the wine production process in this region and have the chance to buy gifts on site. Following the tour, you will be presented with a platter showcasing an array of the finest produce in the Hawkes Bay region.

    Day 5: Martinborough

    Enjoy the rolling green countryside as you head south towards New Zealand’s capital today where you will overnight in the wine village of Martinborough. The area has around 25 boutique wineries, most of which you could walk or cycle to from your hotel. The Pinot Noir, in particular, is highly recommended here! The area also has a variety of boutique stores, a local brewery and gourmet treats such as homegrown olives from the many artisan food producers of the area.

    Day 6: Blenheim

    Head through Wellington today, drop off your rental car and catch the Interislander ferry across to Picton. This trip is one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world with little coves home to seal colonies and dolphins gliding by. Pick up your new car rental and continue the onward drive to Blenheim which takes you past yet more wineries as you have reached the Marlborough region, known for its universally acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc. You will stay here for 2 nights so have plenty of time to wander around the cafes, shops and sample some of the fantastic seafood in this part of the country.

    Day 7: Blenheim

    This morning we’ve included a tour to two wineries in the Marlborough region including the iconic Cloudy Bay. Following the tastings, you will be taken through to the Marlborough Sounds waterfront for a lunch at your own expense. Leave the marina on a sumptuous seafood cruise allowing you to take in the natural beauty of the sounds while tasting seafood and yet more wine. You will learn the history of the area and visit a marine farm before being dropped off back at your hotel in Blenheim.

    Day 8: Christchurch

    After breakfast, it's your final drive today to Christchurch. With no touring included today, you have time to meander around the city's many pop-up bars, cafes and shops or go punting along the River Avon past the Botanic gardens.

    Day 9: Depart Christchurch

    After breakfast, enjoy your morning at leisure before dropping off your rental car and departing to your next destination.

    New Zealand is a year-round destination and there is always something to see and enjoy whatever time you decide to travel. High season runs from December to February (summer), prices will be at a premium at these times and availability limited so it is advisable to book in advance. March to April and September to November can be a great time to travel as the weather is fine and the crowds fewer. Low season is May to August (winter) for most of New Zealand, this is, however, the best time for skiing and so ski towns such as Queenstown will be at their busiest.

    Are you looking for more New Zealand ideas?

    We’re experts in planning tailor-made holidays, so whether you’re looking for a luxury New Zealand holiday, ideas for a road trip or multi-stop flights to New Zealand with stopovers – let us help you with the planning. Our experts can tailor-make precisely the trip you’re looking for – this itinerary is purely a suggestion, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • Private arrival transfer in Auckland
    • Car hire with Avis – fully inclusive insurance
    • Interislander Ferry
    • 8 nights accommodation including breakfast
    • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
    Not included
    • International flights
    • Any meals not mentioned
    • Personal expenses
    • Tips & gratuities