Classic Wine Trail, New Zealand
Hawkes Bay to Wairarapa and Marlborough
If you love driving holidays and you also happen to be fond of wine and food, then the Classic Wine Trail in New Zealand is just the adventure you are looking for! This route has something for everyone, in addition to the great wine! If you love art, heritage, family adventure and outdoor pursuits, this is the trip for you. Pick up a motorhome rental or campervan hire in Auckland; then drive through Waitomo, Rotorua and Taupo to Napier and Hawke’s bay, the start of the Classic Wine Trail.
From Hawke’s Bay in the North Island the Classic Wine Trail travels down to Wellington, before you cross the Cook Straights to Marlborough on South Island. This is where the Classic Wine Route ends, but you can choose any one of several other scenic drives on South Island if you would like to continue with some more wonderful sightseeing.
Start off in Hawke’s Bay, where there is so much to do that you could easily spend a week! Besides all the wonderful wine tours around Hawke’s Bay you could also visit the Gannet Colony, swim in the aquarium with sharks and stingrays, visit Napier to learn about the Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture or enjoy some golf.
After sampling all the delights of Hawke’s Bay, drive south on Highway 2 – the Classic Wine Trail is well sign-posted. Visit Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka for a beer tasting and be sure to spend some time at the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre where the endangered bird species, including the Kiwi, are bred. Next on your route is Wairarapa where you can visit several boutique vineyards and some of the regions artisan food producers in Martinborough, Greytown, Gladstone and Masterton – this part of the trail is a real treat for gourmands and guided food tours are available! You can also park your van and go on a cycle tour of the vineyards if you are feeling energetic. Nearby at Cape Palliser there is a fur seal colony and a lighthouse to visit.
From Wairarapa you continue to Wellington, the culinary capital of New Zealand with enough restaurants and bars per capita to challenge New York! Besides food and drink Wellington has a lot of history and heritage as well as shopping. Take the cable car from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Gardens and go on a Film Tour to learn all about how movies like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were made.
After you have enjoyed a couple of days in the Capital, drive onto the Ferry for a spectacular transfer to South Island through the Marlborough Sounds. Marlborough has 38 cellars offering tastings and beautiful Marlborough Sounds is the best place to enjoy freshly caught seafood while enjoying the superb view. There are food and wine tours, dolphin watching tours, adventure tours and helicopter tours to entertain the whole family in Marlborough.
From Marlborough you can either head south to Christchurch; or follow the west coast through Nelson and the Glaciers to Queenstown.