New Zealand Wine Holiday
Following recent and highly successful wine trips to The Rhone Valley, Champagne and Argentina, we are delighted to be able to offer a 14-day holiday of a lifetime to New Zealand in the Spring of 2017
New Zealand, ‘land of the long white cloud’ in Maori language, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It also produces a range of high quality wines (in the UK its wines command the highest average price per bottle of any country in the world) and its wine regions are spread all over the country from the north of the North Island to the south of the South Island. On this unique wine tour we will visit most of them including Auckland, Waheike, Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otagao.
During the tour we will also experience local Maori culture and history, wonder at the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, admire the art deco buildings of Napier and Hastings, cross the Marlborough Sound, and experience the adventure capital of Queenstown (bungy jumping optional). And, this trip will take in the end of the summer in New Zealand when the weather is warm and balmy – a great chance to escape the British Winter and enjoy a trip of a lifetime!
You will need to book your own international flights, and also one domestic flight (see below), so that you arrive in Auckland by mid-afternoon on Day 1 of the tour. The tour program will start late afternoon that day at Hotel Rydges in Auckland.
Day 1 Sunday 26th February: Meet in the lobby of Hotel Rydges with the rest of the group to review the tour program and have dinner together at a local restaurant.
Day 2 Monday 27th February: We take the ferry to the nearby island of Waheike for the first of our winery visits including lunch. Waheike has a warm, Mediterranean climate and produces some excellent Bordeaux blends.
Day 3 Tuesday 28th February: Checking out of our hotel we drive north to one of New Zealand’s most prestigious wineries, Kumeu River, which produces very fine Burgundian style wines, and then on to Soljans Winery for a tasting and lunch.
Day 4 Wednesday 1st March: Today is free to visit the extraordinary sights of our new base, Rotorua, which is a volcanic area with many thermal springs. There is an option of a day trip to visit some of the scenic highlights in the area, like Lake Taupo, followed by a free evening with another option to go a traditional Maori show and dinner.
Day 5 Thursday 2nd March: A drive to the Hawkes Bay region on the East Coast, famous for the Gimblett Gravels which produce high quality Syrahs and Bordeaux blends. We will visit Esk Valley winery, for a tour, tasting and lunch, and Mission Estate, established in 1861 and one of the oldest wineries in the country.
Day 6 Friday 3rd March: After our first night in Napier, will have a private guided walking tour of the highlights of the town, followed by a visit to Church Road winery for lunch and tasting. And, later, this we continue to Trinity Hill winery for a tour and tasting.
Day 7 Saturday 4th March: We check out of our hotel and drive south to the region of Wairarapa, around the main town of Martinborough, which produces some excellent Pinot Noirs as well as fine Chardonnays. After some free time at the Martinborough Country Fair, we will visit Larry McKenna one of the pioneers of Martinborough, who makes wine under his own Escarpment label. Then we drive the short distance to Greytown where we will be staying for one night only at the Greyfriars Motel.
Day 8 Sunday 5th March: This morning we visit another winery and then drive to Wellington, the political capital of New Zealand, where we board the early afternoon ferry for the spectacular crossing between North and South Islands across the Marlborough Sounds which takes around 3 hours. On arrival at the port of Picton a bus will transfer us to Scenic Hotel in the town of Blenheim.
Day 9 Monday 6th March: Today we will visit 3 wineries in Marlborough, including lunch at one – on our shortlist are Seresin, Fromm, Rock Ferry, St. Clair, Staete Lande.
Day 10 Tuesday 7th March: We check out of our hotel and drive south to the Awatere Valley, a sub-region of Marlborough, to visit Stanley Winery followed by a stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Then, it is on to Cheviot and Mount Beautiful Winery where we will have a tour and tasting, followed by a drive to Christchurch, to check into Peppers Clearwater Resort for two nights).
Day 11 Wednesday 8th March: The morning is free then, at midday, we will drive an hour north to the Canterbury wine region where we will visit the premier wine estate Pegasus Bay for a tour, tasting and lunch in their renowned restaurant.
Day 12 Thursday 9th March: This morning we check out and drive the short distance to Christchurch airport for the flight to Queenstown, where we will head straight to our first winery in the Central Otago region for lunch and tasting – probably Wild Earth or Mount Difficulty. In the afternoon we will visit the iconic winery Felton Road for a tour and tasting. Felton Road is owned by Englishman Nigel Greening and produces a stunning range of wines. Late afternoon we drive to Queenstown and check into our accommodation at Platinum Villas for the next three nights.
Day 13 Friday 10th March: Today is a completely free day in Queenstown and in the evening we are planning a BYO group dinner together at our villas.
Day 14 Saturday 11th March: Today is the last day of the tour when we will visit our final two wineries. During the day we may drive to Lake Wanaka, an hour from Queenstown, to visit Rippon Estate, often photographed as the winery with possibly the most beautiful setting in the whole world! Afterwards we will head back to the Bannockburn area for lunch and tasting at another winery.
Day 15 Sunday 12th March: After breakfast TOUR ENDS
TOUR COST and INCLUSIONS
Tour Cost £3,295 sharing a Double or Twin Room; £900 Supplement for Single Occupancy. This represents very good value – another well-known UK wine tour operator is running a tour to New Zealand in February with a very similar itinerary for a cost of £6,295. This tour comprises 14 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation in mostly 4 star hotels and:
- Air conditioned coaches throughout the tour
- Tastings at 20 different wineries
- 12 Lunches or Dinners at wineries or local restaurants
- Ferry tickets between Auckland and Waheike on Day 2, and between Wellington and Picton on Day 8
- Art Deco Walking Tour of Napier with a private guide
- Services of tour/wine guide Christos Ioannou
FLIGHTS are NOT included in the price – details as follows:
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS: You will need to book your own international flights to arrive in Auckland by 2 pm latest on Day 1 of the tour Sunday 26th February. The tour will start at around 6 pm that day in the hotel lobby. Return flights - the tour ends after breakfast on Day 15 Sunday 12th March, so if you are flying back home that day you can book any flight.
DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: You will need to book a one-way domestic flight between Christchurch (CHC) and Queenstown (ZQN) – NZ627 departs CHC 10.00 Thursday 9th March. Make sure you book the fare which includes a check-in bag up to 23kgs. The cost, depending on exchange rates, is around £120.
ACCOMMODATION: We will be staying mostly in 4-star hotels (please contact us if you would like to see the full details at each location. Please note for single supplement travellers at at Platinum Villas - each Villa has 3 bedrooms, 1 of which is en-suite, whilst the other 2 bedrooms (1 twin, 1 double) share the 2nd bathroom. Dependent on the final make-up of the group (how many couples, singles) it is likely that those who have chosen the single room option for the tour will have their own bedroom at Platinum Villas but share the 2nd bathroom with one other person.
HOW TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Send us an e-mail to request a booking form. To book, complete the booking form and pay the non-refundable deposit of £800. The balance of payment will be due 8 weeks before the tour. There are now just three places remaining and only a few weeks to go.
PLEASE NOTE: Hertfordshire Wine School is acting as an Agent for Criterion Wine Limited. The contract for the tour is between you and Criterion Wine Limited. For Terms & Conditions - please see the Booking Form.
Payment will be made to Criterion Wine Limited in accordance with the conditions on their Booking Form.