Hawke's Bay

Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

While this route has a food and wine focus, you'll also find plenty of scenery, culture and adventure as you travel from Hawke’s Bay down to Marlborough.

  • Total length: 380km (240 miles)
  • Minimum duration: 4 days.
  • Start Napier, finish Blenheim or vice versa.

Taste your way through three significant wine regions on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Enjoy stunning scenery, beautiful forest parks, buzzing nightlife and indulgent food experiences as you journey from Hawkes Bay in the North Island to Marlborough in the South Island.

Camera Wine tasting in blenheim

Wine tasting in blenheim

Camera Wine tasting in blenheim

Wine tasting in blenheim

Route summary

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is a signposted self-drive touring route that leads travellers off the beaten track. Travel through five of New Zealand's most interesting and scenic regions, including three major wine growing areas that account for more than 80% of the country’s wine production.

While the main focus of the journey is wine and food, the route also serves up all kinds of adventure and cultural experiences.

Camera Neudorf Winery, Nelson

Neudorf Winery, Nelson

Camera Neudorf Winery, Nelson

Neudorf Winery, Nelson

Key Features

It’s not called the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail for nothing. On this touring route you’ll have the opportunity to taste and shop at more than 120 cellar doors, as well as a multitude of vineyard restaurants and cafés. Hawke’s Bay is the land of robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; in Wairarapa, Pinot Noir gets star billing; Marlborough is blockbuster Sauvignon Blanc country.

Camera Art deco architecture in Napier

Art deco architecture in Napier

Camera Art deco architecture in Napier

Art deco architecture in Napier

Unique architecture

Another appealing aspect of this journey is the chance to visit a variety of provincial towns and cities. Hastings and Napier have some of the finest Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture in the world, courtesy of a major rebuild following a catastrophic earthquake in 1931. You'll also find an Art Deco masterpiece in the middle of Tararua’s lush countryside - the Tui brewery’s brick brewing tower isn’t in use today, but it marks the spot for brewery tours and a beer or two.

Camera Ride Wellington's famous cable car for great city views right from downtown

Ride Wellington's famous cable car for great city views right from downtown

Camera Ride Wellington's famous cable car for great city views right from downtown

Ride Wellington's famous cable car for great city views right from downtown

Charming townships

Wine, food and music are three of the happiest words in the world, as any gourmand would agree. Around the Wairarapa region there are charming historic townships to discover - Greytown, Featherston, Carterton and Martinborough. In the South Island you can explore the port town of Picton, where life revolves around the sea. Marlborough’s main centre is Blenheim, a friendly town that looks after the local wine industry with great restaurants and interesting places to stay (you can even stay in a convent!). Recently, a new museum opened in Blenheim - it houses the world’s largest private collection of WWI aircraft.

Camera U074

U074

Camera U074

U074

Foodie capital

Wellington is New Zealand's capital city and a favourite among foodies. The easy-to-walk city centre is packed with bohemian cafes, top quality restaurants and exicting bars. While you're here, you may like to browse the exhibits at Te Papa, our national museum, catch a cable car to the botanic gardens, or indulge in a spot of designer shopping. 

Camera Gannet colony, Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

Gannet colony, Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

Camera Gannet colony, Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

Gannet colony, Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

Fascinating wildlife

Last but not least, the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail can show you some unique wildlife. Hawke’s Bay has the world’s largest mainland gannet colony. In Tararua you can hike in the forest park or visit the Mount Bruce wildlife centre. And if you need to burn off some calories, hiking, biking or kayaking the beautiful Queen Charlotte Track is one of Marlborough’s most satisfying adventures.

For more information visit the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail official website.