Tailormade tour New Zealand Wine Country tour New Zealand

14 nights/15 days

Waiheke Island • Hawke’s Bay • Martinborough • Nelson • Blenheim • Otago

The New Zealand Wine Country Touring Holiday is the perfect first-time trip to New Zealand for those looking to explore some of New Zealand’s best-known wine regions, as well as wonderful areas which are still up-and-coming in New Zealand’s gastronomy scene. In the process, you will see a great deal of broader New Zealand. On the North Island, you will travel from Waiheke Island in the North to the Hawke’s Bay and Napier Region to Wairarapa in the South. On the South Island you will sail through the Marlborough Sounds to reach the Blenheim and Marlborough region, you will road trip via Kaikoura to Christchurch, before finally reaching the picturesque Otago and Fiordland region for a truly exclusive finale to the holiday.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £6,300 per person.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

This 14-night tour starts on the sparkling and tropical Waiheke Island near Auckland, and then will take you south into the rolling green pastures of Hawke’s Bay, and further south still into the idyllic, pastural, and classically Kiwi scenery of Wairarapa. From here, you will cross Cook Strait and sail through the Marlborough Sounds to reach the enviable climate and world-renowned vineyards that comprise the Blenheim and Marlborough region. Next, an eastern seaboard road-trip via the rich waters of Kaikoura will bring you to the fascinating city of Christchurch, providing an agreeable overnight stop before you fly south to the picturesque Otago and Fiordland region of Southern New Zealand.

Highlights

Auckland • Waiheke Island • Hawke’s Bay • Napier • Mission Estate • Te Mata Estate • Martinborough • Wairarapa • Cape Palliser • Wellington • Marlborough Sounds • Woollaston Estates • Neudorf Vineyards • Abel Tasman National Park • Blenheim • Kaikoura • Christchurch • Arrowtown • Central Otago Wine Tour

Day by day

Arrive in Auckland. You a met upon arrival and transferred to your accommodation by private chauffeur to Wynyard Wharf, and then a small ferry will take you to Waiheke Island. Today, simply settle into the time zone, the climate, and your luxury accommodation.

Spend a leisurely day to explore this beautiful island of farmland and olive groves as well as spectacular views of the ocean and neighbouring islands and coastline. While beaches are Waiheke’s biggest drawcard, wine is a close second. The varieties are 57% red, with Merlot and Syrah the most widely planted, although Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are rising ascendency. In total, there are about 30 boutique wineries scattered about, many with tasting rooms, swanky restaurants and breath-taking views, but much of the wine does not leave the island or gets sold well in advance. Mudbrick is the place for lunch to try its own wines and excellent food under a pergola on a deck overlooking the vines.

Today, travel back to Auckland to catch your flight south to Napier. From here, pick up your 4x4 hire car, and set out into the magnificent region of Hawke’s Bay. With the pleasant and charming art deco capital of Napier, Hawke’s Bay is one of the North Island’s most picturesque landscapes. Rolling green hills, clad with forest and incised by rivers, cascade onto the sparkling blue of the South Pacific Ocean coastline. Perhaps spend the afternoon taking some time to fully appreciate the natural assets of Hawke’s Bay by taking a drive along the Tukituki River, or otherwise take a stroll through the charming streets of Napier. Flattened by an earthquake in the 1930s, Napier was rebuilt in a quirky and likeable art deco style, and now presents an altogether agreeable place for an afternoon potter in the wonderful climate.

On your second day in Hawke’s Bay, it’s time to turn your attention back to wine. Explore the wineries of this traditionally dry and sunny region, famous for its rich and complex chardonnays, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Some of the most established in the region include Mission Estate and Te Mata Estate and have been joined by more recent ventures including Sileni Estates (also with a good restaurant, wine education centre and shop), CJ Pask winery, Black Barn and Craggy Range. Many offer visits and tastings and some have excellent restaurants. Perhaps also try to visit Clearview Estate, a vineyard on the coast that produces small quantities of hand-made wines.

After a leisurely breakfast, drive south through rolling farming scenery to reach the region of Wairarapa, a typically Kiwi pastoral landscape dotted with sheep farms and a spectacular coastline to the South at Cape Palliser. You are headed for Martinborough, a quaint and traditional town made famous by the excellent Pinot Noir vineyards that surround it. Of its 24 wineries, many are within walking distance, and welcome visitors with warm hospitality and excellent tastings. Low rainfall, high sunshine hours and cool nights have conspired to create the perfect conditions for the notoriously tricky Pinot Noir grapes, and there are some wonderful hidden gems of the New Zealand wine scene to be found in Martinborough.

Enjoy your final day in the Wairarapa great outdoors by visiting one of the scenic excursions possible from Martinborough. To the South East lies the rugged Pacific coastline of Cape Palliser, famous for its seal colonies and stunning wilderness. Alternatively, join one of the sections of the exhilarating Rimutaka Cycle Trail, promising wonderful bike rides through a variety of landscapes including mountains, farmland, rugged coastline and the Orongorongo River. There is so much to pick and choose from, but the key idea today is to embrace one of most idyllic of New Zealand’s landscapes. Return to Martinborough in the evening to toast the North island with a glass of Pinot Noir, and some excellent food to complement.

Drive South to Wellington in the morning, and perhaps take some time to explore New Zealand’s capital city. Located on a picturesque harbour at the southern tip of the North Island, the city prides itself as a centre for culture and the arts and has a plethora of restaurants and cafes, as well as being home to the country’s parliament and national treasures. You could stop at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand to learn more of this magical country, or even visit Zealandia – an excellent wildlife conservancy where you will come face to face with the iconic kiwi. In any case, catch your car ferry from Wellington to cross the Cooke Strait and sail serenely though the idyllic Marlborough Sounds. On disembarkation, you will drive West to the Nelson and Abel Tasman region, and settle into your accommodation for late afternoon, perhaps taking some time to explore it’s 65-acre picturesque farm, and its small onsite vineyard.

Amid a mild climate and a traditionally fruit growing area, the vineyards around Nelson are now becoming more established. The winemakers here specialise in wines that respond to cooler growing conditions such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Some of the wineries to visit include Woollaston Estates, Neudorf Vineyards and Seifried. In its own right, Nelson is also a highly pleasant setting in which to while away an afternoon. Consistently voted as one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities, there is a burgeoning art scene, and tourists can visit its many galleries whilst enjoying its culinary prowess in the process. For those with more time, it may be worth extending your stay her by a night, in order to visit the pristine landscapes of the Abel Tasman National Pak located a short distance to the west.

Today’s drive is particularly pretty as you head along the coast passing Nelson again, and then heading through wooded hills skirting the edge of the Marlborough Sounds near Havelock. Stop here for a fantastic lunch of the local Greenlip mussels before reaching the more expansive, drier country of the Wairau valley around Blenheim. Vineyards here stretch for miles with easily recognisable names such as Montana, Cloudy Bay and Stoneleigh. Enjoy a spot of wine-tasting in the late afternoon, as the sun cast golden hues over the pastoral landscape.

Another full day of exploring the world-famous vineyards of Marlborough could await guests. One of the most exciting ways to do this would be by riding The Golden Mile, a series of excellent vineyards connected by easy and scenic bike trails. Coupled with a wonderful climate and achingly pretty landscape, it is one of the highlights of any wine tour of New Zealand. There are in fact about 50 wineries in this area, many of them producing the Sauvignon Blanc which put the region on the map, however others are producing excellent Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling wines are also produced here, with Le Brun specialising in méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines.

On your last day in the region, you could explore more of the vineyards that really put New Zealand on the wine-lovers map. Otherwise choose from a variety of activities to showcase the best of the natural assets of the region. To the north lies the Marlborough Sounds, and these sheltered and idyllic waterways are bursting with life, making for an excellent opportunity to get onto the water. A wider variety of operators allow you to sail, kayak or cruise around in search of wildlife, and for an even more intimate experience, you could choose to swim with wild Hector’s dolphins, one of the rarest species of dolphin found anywhere in the world. Elsewhere, explore the local museums that tell the history of New Zealand, or hike and kayak around the Wairau Lagoon, where the site of New Zealand’s earliest human habitation, and over 90 species of bird are found.

Set out in a south-easterly direction today heading for Kaikoura. Spot striking beaches, and the friendly faces of sunbathing seals before arriving into Kaikoura for lunch. If you have some extra time at your disposal, join a whale watching expedition in the rich, biodiverse waters just off the coast. Made famous by David Attenborough amongst many other naturalists, Kaikoura is home to an astonishing wealth of cetacean life, including sperm whales, orcas and dolphins, as well as variety of other species including seals and albatross. Whale watching boats really do offer a great perspective of this ‘maritime Serengeti’, however snorkelling and scenic flights are also available upon request. As you approach Christchurch you will skirt the Waipara wine country of the Canterbury Plains. One of the unsung heroes of New Zealand wine, this up and coming region are increasingly noticed as fine producers of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, as well as fine aromatic wines. Continue in the late afternoon onto your overnight accommodation in Christchurch. Perhaps this evening, explore this pleasant and fascinating city as it rebuilds in creative ways from the devastation of the 2011 earthquake.

Today you will drop your hire car at Christchurch airport and catch your flight to Queenstown. From here, pick up a new hire car and a drive into the mountains near Arrowtown to settle into the most spectacular accommodation so far on your tour. Set on an alpine landscape that spans 55,000 hectares, your accommodation really showcases the incredible environment of the Otago and Fiordland region. Much of this land is pristine, following extensive conservation work, and you will be sure to see some exceptional examples of New Zealand wildlife. More exciting still, an on-site helicopter is the perfect way to travel throughout this landscape, and a myriad of touring opportunities are available upon request, and for many – wine is of course the focus. In the evening, settle down to a sumptuous meal created by the talented in-house chefs, and lose yourself in the sky full of stars that surround you.

One of the most spectacular wine tours found anywhere in the world could await you today. The Central Otago Wine Tour encompasses the Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Lowburn wine making regions. There is time for sightseeing, photo stops, or even a browse through the galleries of Arrowtown and Cromwell, and great food to match as you enjoy a picnic prepared by the in-house chefs or opt for a long lunch in one of the wineries of Bannockburn. Ringed by mountains and interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges, the Central Otago wineries are spectacular, and these natural assets also provide superb climatic conditions for elegant Pinot Noir, as well as impressive white wine varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Taste your way through this wonderful landscape, before retiring to your luxury accommodation in the evening to celebrate this wonderful country in the only fitting way, by raising a glass.

Wake early to savour the last of the landscape before catching your return flight to London via Auckland.

Holiday price guide From about £6,300 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG08

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

Arrive in Auckland. You a met upon arrival and transferred to your accommodation by private chauffeur to Wynyard Wharf, and then a small ferry will take you to Waiheke Island. Today, simply settle into the time zone, the climate, and your luxury accommodation.

Spend a leisurely day to explore this beautiful island of farmland and olive groves as well as spectacular views of the ocean and neighbouring islands and coastline. While beaches are Waiheke’s biggest drawcard, wine is a close second. The varieties are 57% red, with Merlot and Syrah the most widely planted, although Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are rising ascendency. In total, there are about 30 boutique wineries scattered about, many with tasting rooms, swanky restaurants and breath-taking views, but much of the wine does not leave the island or gets sold well in advance. Mudbrick is the place for lunch to try its own wines and excellent food under a pergola on a deck overlooking the vines.

Today, travel back to Auckland to catch your flight south to Napier. From here, pick up your 4x4 hire car, and set out into the magnificent region of Hawke’s Bay. With the pleasant and charming art deco capital of Napier, Hawke’s Bay is one of the North Island’s most picturesque landscapes. Rolling green hills, clad with forest and incised by rivers, cascade onto the sparkling blue of the South Pacific Ocean coastline. Perhaps spend the afternoon taking some time to fully appreciate the natural assets of Hawke’s Bay by taking a drive along the Tukituki River, or otherwise take a stroll through the charming streets of Napier. Flattened by an earthquake in the 1930s, Napier was rebuilt in a quirky and likeable art deco style, and now presents an altogether agreeable place for an afternoon potter in the wonderful climate.

On your second day in Hawke’s Bay, it’s time to turn your attention back to wine. Explore the wineries of this traditionally dry and sunny region, famous for its rich and complex chardonnays, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Some of the most established in the region include Mission Estate and Te Mata Estate and have been joined by more recent ventures including Sileni Estates (also with a good restaurant, wine education centre and shop), CJ Pask winery, Black Barn and Craggy Range. Many offer visits and tastings and some have excellent restaurants. Perhaps also try to visit Clearview Estate, a vineyard on the coast that produces small quantities of hand-made wines.

After a leisurely breakfast, drive south through rolling farming scenery to reach the region of Wairarapa, a typically Kiwi pastoral landscape dotted with sheep farms and a spectacular coastline to the South at Cape Palliser. You are headed for Martinborough, a quaint and traditional town made famous by the excellent Pinot Noir vineyards that surround it. Of its 24 wineries, many are within walking distance, and welcome visitors with warm hospitality and excellent tastings. Low rainfall, high sunshine hours and cool nights have conspired to create the perfect conditions for the notoriously tricky Pinot Noir grapes, and there are some wonderful hidden gems of the New Zealand wine scene to be found in Martinborough.

Enjoy your final day in the Wairarapa great outdoors by visiting one of the scenic excursions possible from Martinborough. To the South East lies the rugged Pacific coastline of Cape Palliser, famous for its seal colonies and stunning wilderness. Alternatively, join one of the sections of the exhilarating Rimutaka Cycle Trail, promising wonderful bike rides through a variety of landscapes including mountains, farmland, rugged coastline and the Orongorongo River. There is so much to pick and choose from, but the key idea today is to embrace one of most idyllic of New Zealand’s landscapes. Return to Martinborough in the evening to toast the North island with a glass of Pinot Noir, and some excellent food to complement.

Drive South to Wellington in the morning, and perhaps take some time to explore New Zealand’s capital city. Located on a picturesque harbour at the southern tip of the North Island, the city prides itself as a centre for culture and the arts and has a plethora of restaurants and cafes, as well as being home to the country’s parliament and national treasures. You could stop at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand to learn more of this magical country, or even visit Zealandia – an excellent wildlife conservancy where you will come face to face with the iconic kiwi. In any case, catch your car ferry from Wellington to cross the Cooke Strait and sail serenely though the idyllic Marlborough Sounds. On disembarkation, you will drive West to the Nelson and Abel Tasman region, and settle into your accommodation for late afternoon, perhaps taking some time to explore it’s 65-acre picturesque farm, and its small onsite vineyard.

Amid a mild climate and a traditionally fruit growing area, the vineyards around Nelson are now becoming more established. The winemakers here specialise in wines that respond to cooler growing conditions such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Some of the wineries to visit include Woollaston Estates, Neudorf Vineyards and Seifried. In its own right, Nelson is also a highly pleasant setting in which to while away an afternoon. Consistently voted as one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities, there is a burgeoning art scene, and tourists can visit its many galleries whilst enjoying its culinary prowess in the process. For those with more time, it may be worth extending your stay her by a night, in order to visit the pristine landscapes of the Abel Tasman National Pak located a short distance to the west.

Today’s drive is particularly pretty as you head along the coast passing Nelson again, and then heading through wooded hills skirting the edge of the Marlborough Sounds near Havelock. Stop here for a fantastic lunch of the local Greenlip mussels before reaching the more expansive, drier country of the Wairau valley around Blenheim. Vineyards here stretch for miles with easily recognisable names such as Montana, Cloudy Bay and Stoneleigh. Enjoy a spot of wine-tasting in the late afternoon, as the sun cast golden hues over the pastoral landscape.

Another full day of exploring the world-famous vineyards of Marlborough could await guests. One of the most exciting ways to do this would be by riding The Golden Mile, a series of excellent vineyards connected by easy and scenic bike trails. Coupled with a wonderful climate and achingly pretty landscape, it is one of the highlights of any wine tour of New Zealand. There are in fact about 50 wineries in this area, many of them producing the Sauvignon Blanc which put the region on the map, however others are producing excellent Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling wines are also produced here, with Le Brun specialising in méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines.

On your last day in the region, you could explore more of the vineyards that really put New Zealand on the wine-lovers map. Otherwise choose from a variety of activities to showcase the best of the natural assets of the region. To the north lies the Marlborough Sounds, and these sheltered and idyllic waterways are bursting with life, making for an excellent opportunity to get onto the water. A wider variety of operators allow you to sail, kayak or cruise around in search of wildlife, and for an even more intimate experience, you could choose to swim with wild Hector’s dolphins, one of the rarest species of dolphin found anywhere in the world. Elsewhere, explore the local museums that tell the history of New Zealand, or hike and kayak around the Wairau Lagoon, where the site of New Zealand’s earliest human habitation, and over 90 species of bird are found.

Set out in a south-easterly direction today heading for Kaikoura. Spot striking beaches, and the friendly faces of sunbathing seals before arriving into Kaikoura for lunch. If you have some extra time at your disposal, join a whale watching expedition in the rich, biodiverse waters just off the coast. Made famous by David Attenborough amongst many other naturalists, Kaikoura is home to an astonishing wealth of cetacean life, including sperm whales, orcas and dolphins, as well as variety of other species including seals and albatross. Whale watching boats really do offer a great perspective of this ‘maritime Serengeti’, however snorkelling and scenic flights are also available upon request. As you approach Christchurch you will skirt the Waipara wine country of the Canterbury Plains. One of the unsung heroes of New Zealand wine, this up and coming region are increasingly noticed as fine producers of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, as well as fine aromatic wines. Continue in the late afternoon onto your overnight accommodation in Christchurch. Perhaps this evening, explore this pleasant and fascinating city as it rebuilds in creative ways from the devastation of the 2011 earthquake.

Today you will drop your hire car at Christchurch airport and catch your flight to Queenstown. From here, pick up a new hire car and a drive into the mountains near Arrowtown to settle into the most spectacular accommodation so far on your tour. Set on an alpine landscape that spans 55,000 hectares, your accommodation really showcases the incredible environment of the Otago and Fiordland region. Much of this land is pristine, following extensive conservation work, and you will be sure to see some exceptional examples of New Zealand wildlife. More exciting still, an on-site helicopter is the perfect way to travel throughout this landscape, and a myriad of touring opportunities are available upon request, and for many – wine is of course the focus. In the evening, settle down to a sumptuous meal created by the talented in-house chefs, and lose yourself in the sky full of stars that surround you.

One of the most spectacular wine tours found anywhere in the world could await you today. The Central Otago Wine Tour encompasses the Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Lowburn wine making regions. There is time for sightseeing, photo stops, or even a browse through the galleries of Arrowtown and Cromwell, and great food to match as you enjoy a picnic prepared by the in-house chefs or opt for a long lunch in one of the wineries of Bannockburn. Ringed by mountains and interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges, the Central Otago wineries are spectacular, and these natural assets also provide superb climatic conditions for elegant Pinot Noir, as well as impressive white wine varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Taste your way through this wonderful landscape, before retiring to your luxury accommodation in the evening to celebrate this wonderful country in the only fitting way, by raising a glass.

Wake early to savour the last of the landscape before catching your return flight to London via Auckland.

Holiday price guide From about £6,300 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG08

Our prices include ● Return scheduled flights with British Airways, Air New Zealand, Qantas or Emirates from London to Auckland, returning from Queenstown to London in economy class
● Domestic flights from Auckland to Napier and from Christchurch to Queenstown
● Transfers and car hire where specified in our itinerary
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast on Waiheke Island
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Hawke’s Bay
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Martinborough
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Nelson
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Blenheim
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in Christchurch
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Arrowtown
● The meals included with your tour will vary by chosen accommodation. Please see our hotel suggestions for included board basis.
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except as specified in our hotel suggestions
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, payable locally to the hotel
● Optional tours and activities within each location, except where explicitly specified as included in our itinerary, or by hotels in our hotel lists
● Personal expenses
● Visa and Passport. You will need a full British passport with at least six months validity. Until 30 September 2019 you do not need a Visa for travel to New Zealand as a British Passport will allow the holder a six month stay upon arrival. From 1 October 2019 you will need a visa which can be arranged easily on-line. More information available here: https://www.newzealand.com/uk/visas-and-immigration/

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Waiheke Island
Delamore Lodge

Delamore Lodge is an exclusive hotel in a stunning natural location. Delicious cuisine and pampering spa facilities afford guests a relaxing and restorative retreat amongst the beautiful natural surrounds of Waiheke Island.

Suite

Hawke's Bay
Breckenridge Lodge

Breckenridge Lodge is an exclusive, 5-star luxury lodge in a beautiful rural location. Part of the NZ luxury lodges gourmet trail in the heart of wine country, with a focus on sustainability, it offers guests a deliciously tranquil experience.

Guest Suite

Martinborough
Martinborough Hotel

The Martinborough Hotel is an exclusive historic hotel full of character and charm, in an excellent location in the heart of an excellent wine growing region. Cosy and comfortable accommodation and delicious cuisine afford guests a relaxing and restorative experience.

Garden Suite

Nelson
Bronte Lodge

Bronte Lodge is an exclusive 5-star lodge in a serene location surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards. The hotel's secluded location, luxurious rooms and luxury touches such as its private helipad offer guests a truly tranquil and indulgent experience.

Suite

Blenheim
The Bell Tower on Dog Point

The Bell Tower on Dog Point is a luxury boutique Bed and Breakfast in a rustic farmhouse on the Dog Point Vineyards, with stunning vistas over the winery, Marlborough's Richmond Range, and the Wairau Plain.

Self-catering French Barn

Christchurch
The George

The George is a modern 5-star hotel in an excellent location in the centre of Christchurch. Award-winning cuisine and supremely comfortable accommodation make this an excellent base for exploring the local area.

Executive room

Otago
Mahu Whenua

Mahu Whenua is an exclusive luxury lodge in a stunning natural location. In the utter wilderness of the Southern Alps, it has incredible vistas over the landscape. This, alongside delicious cuisine, excellent accommodation make it a once-in-a-lifetime luxury lodge.

Cottage Suite

Holiday price guide

From about £6,300 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG08

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

About Auckland and environs

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Auckland sets the tone of a trip to New Zealand in many ways; you see an expanse of water and shades of green of volcanic hilly peaks and open grassy fields. The vista is unashamedly attractive; eye-catchingly pretty and incredibly welcoming. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing city. It has a feel that is at once historic with its houses of timber weatherboard, corrugated iron rooves, gables, bays and decorative fretwork yet also forward-looking with striking modern architecture, the redeveloped waterfront and the 328-metre-high Sky Tower. Above all, Auckland is a city on the water. Dominated by Waitemata Harbour, Auckland probably has the most pleasure boats per capita of any city in the world. Sailing is perfect with safe harbours, nearby islands to visit and a temperate climate. Just across the harbour are the Hauraki Gulf Islands, some of the most idyllic islands in the world, either as perfect recreational spots for people or as protected sanctuaries for rare birds and native trees and plants. Waiheke Island is one of the largest and whilst people do commute the 30 minutes or so by ferry to Auckland, it is also a beautiful holiday spot with its white sand beaches and coves, vineyards and olive groves. Not far from Auckland are surf beaches on the western coast, Orewa’s 2-mile sandy beach forty minutes’ away, vineyards at Henderson about an hour away and fruit and vegetables at Kumeu.

Highlights of Auckland

Visit New Zealand National Maritime Museum, Enjoy an al fresco dinner at the Viaduct Basin, Take a ferry over to Waiheke Island and have lunch at a vineyard, Drive along Tamaki Drive to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter for sharks and penguins, Visit the west coast surf beaches at Piha, Take the ferry to Victorian Devonport across Waitemata Harbour.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

About Nelson and Abel Tasman

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Nelson and Abel Tasman encompasses a coastal and cultural region of New Zealand. This northernmost part of New Zealand's South Island is much favoured by visitors with its centre at Nelson, home to a multitude of painters, jewellers, potters, woodworkers and textile artists, its gently sloping vineyards, mild climate and outstandingly beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, accessible only by boat or on foot and full of miles of golden bays, rocky outcrops, lush, green interior. Behind Nelson rise the peaks of the tip of the Southern Alps and in between nestle the lakes of Rotoiti and Rotoroa. In this region, perhaps even more so than in other parts of New Zealand, you are very aware of the proximity of coast and mountains with fertile pastures, orchards and vineyards in between. Sheep rearing and fruit growing, fishing and mountain tramping all co-exist.

Highlights of Nelson and Abel Tasman

Spend at least one full day in the Abel Tasman approached from the water passing Split Apple rock, stopping perhaps at Anchorage Bay and seeing the seal colony at Tonga Rock, Whale watch at Kaikoura, See the seal colony at Ohau Point north of Kaikoura, Visit the Suter Art Galley in Nelson and combine it with a visit to the vibrant market on a Saturday, Day trip to Farewell Spit, Visit the vineyards of Rimu Grove, Neudorf and Woollaston Estates at Upper Moutere and perhaps have lunch at Seifried at Appelby, Visit the studios of numerous artists in the area, Go to the WOW (World of Wearable Art) in Nelson and the adjoining Collectible Cars Gallery.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

About Otago and Fiordland

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Otago and Fiordland is a chance to explore just some of the magnificent natural scenery New Zealand has to offer. These southerly regions of New Zealand are proud possessors of some of the most awe-inspiring and breath-taking natural scenery in a country of outstanding natural wonders. It is on the whole a landscape of mountain peaks, ridges and valleys, glacial lakes and fiords. With very few roads because of the terrain, the area is very natural with miles of it feeling very remote. At its heart is the resort of Queenstown, renowned as the centre of a multitude of adventure sports, with not only skiing in winter but as home to bungy jumping as well as now all sorts of sports including jet boating, white-water rafting, skydiving, hang-gliding and parapenting. The landscape is one of yellow-brown-green tussock-covered hills and rugged mountain peaks, with sparkling blue-green lakes. The lakesides often have a semi tropical feel with cabbage trees and New Zealand ferns. On the western coast are the magnificent fiords, flanked by steep mountains coated in rainforest and known for a profusion of wildlife including fur seals, dolphins and penguins.

Highlights of Otago and Fiordland

Doing or at least watching bungy jumping at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge or at Hackett’s Ledge above Queenstown, Jetboating in the Shotover or Kawaurau rivers, Climb up Queenstown Hill for a panorama over the town, lake and mountains, Helicopter trip to Milford Sound, Visit the Arrowtown gold mining settlement, Taieri Gorge railway trip from Dunedin to Pukerangi.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

About Wairarapa

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Wairarapa is the chance to witness one of New Zealand’s rural gems. New Zealand's Wairarapa region stretches from the Rimutaka Range east of Wellington further eastwards to the Pacific coast and includes some of the most remote coastal areas of the North Island but within what is primarily a sheep-raising district of grassy hills bordered by the pine-clad distant Tararua mountains, there are the low-lying vineyards of Martinborough, producing excellent pinot noir, Cape Palliser with its seal colony, and the historic town of Greytown. One of the most stunning aspects of the scope of the country is had as you drive to Wharekauhau along the shores of Lake Wairarapa and then climb the cliffs near the sea – the land is vast and open, a meeting point of dramatic coast and rolling fields.

Highlights of Wairarapa

Visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, Stop off in Greytown with it antique shops, restaurants and Victorian architecture, Visit Martinborough for its atmosphere and about 26 wineries, Stop off at Mount Bruce National wildlife centre if driving from Hawke’s Bay towards Wellington and visit the aviaries that hold some of the country’s rarest species of birds and reptiles such as the tuatara, Drive along the coast to Cape Palliser with its seal colony passing the fishing village of Ngawi.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday of New Zealand with extensive stays in the best-known wine regions on both islands including Marlborough and Martinborough.

About Wellington

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Wellington adds a taste of the cosmopolitan and diverse side of the country. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, is located on a picturesque harbour at the southern tip of the North Island. The city prides itself as a centre for culture and the arts and has a plethora of restaurants, cafes, nightlife and activities, as well as being home to the country’s parliament and national treasures. The city is nicknames ‘Windy Wellington’ and you don’t need to spend too long there to understand why.

Highlights of Wellington

A highlight of a visit to Wellington is undoubtedly Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. This striking building dominates Wellington’s waterfront and has gained widespread acclaim for its innovation and approachability since opening in 1998. The museum has become the country’s pride and joy and is affectionately called ‘Our Place’ as it celebrates the essence of New Zealand and its people. Among Te Papa’s treasures is an extensive Maori collection and its own marae. Natural history, the environment, European settlement and many other things New Zealand are presented in impressive gallery spaces with a touch of interactive high tech. There are also changing exhibits of international art. A number of hands-on discovery centres can be found here, designed for children, as well as a shop, cafes, an upmarket restaurant and an auditorium – so make sure you allow ample time to explore. Another cultural highlight is the City Gallery which features various changing exhibits and has a reputation for challenging and innovative displays.

Cultural highlights of Wellington

Other sights to see in the city of Wellington include the tranquil 26-hectare Botanic Gardens (tel: 04 499 1400. Open sunrise to sunset), which are easily visited in conjunction with the cable car ride (see below). The large gardens contain native bush and other gardens, including the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, which has over 100 rose species. There is also a teahouse, visitors centre and the New Zealand headquarters of the World Wide Fund for Nature, with information and displays. You can access the gardens from the Glenmore St entrance. The Cable Car is a Wellington icon and a ‘must-do’ attraction. Running from an arcade off Lambton Quay, it runs up the hillside to Kelburn, overlooking the city. The service began in 1902 and the small, well-presented Cable Car Museum as the top terminus gives information on its history. Mount Victoria Lookout View panoramic sights of the city from the top of Mt Victoria, watch the Cook Strait ferries sail into the harbour and the planes go in and out of the airport. Just minutes from downtown Wellington but worlds apart – Karori Sanctuary, set around a picturesque reservoir, is a living ecosystem home to some of New Zealand’s most rare and extraordinary wildlife. The Sanctuary includes a fascinating indoors exhibition with big-screen movie and a selection of outdoor walks through beautiful native bush spotting species such as kākā - the playful forest parrot, tuatara – a relic from the time of the dinosaurs, takahē – only around 250 left today, saddleback, hihi, geckos and many more. Karori Sanctuary has activities for young and old and can keep you entertained anywhere from 2 hours to a whole day. Visit the Carter Observatory and take a virtual journey through space in Carter's new planetarium - a state-of-the-art full-dome digital theatre, then take your own steps through space as you walk through the world-class interactive multimedia space experience. Discover our Universe, along with some of New Zealand's most prestigious telescopes and astronomical artefacts.

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