Only one thing beats touring through paradise and that is touring through paradise while indulging in world-class wine. In the country's superb grape producing areas, fine drops flow from fertile soils, passionate labour and vibrant sunshine. Prime vineyards are found in many of New Zealand's top travel destinations; but our three favourite regions combine magnificent, unique landscapes with some of the best wines in the world. The sunny, scenic Hawkes Bay; the verdant valleys of Marlborough and the golden tussock hills of the Gibbston Valley, near Queenstown, are nearly impossible to beat.
Endless sunshine, Art Deco and green hills by the sea
The Hawke’s Bay is on the east coast of the North Island, approximately a two hour drive south east from Lake Taupo. With its dry climate, diverse growing substrates and high sunshine hours, it is not surprising that this region is the country's second largest wine producer and our largest grower of red grape varieties. The city of Napier is the beating heart of the Hawke’s Bay and always popular with visitors - famous for not only excellent vineyards but also gourmet artisan foods and restaurants, vibrant galleries, stunning coastline and one of the world’s best collections of Art Deco-style architecture. When you visit the Hawke's Bay, make sure to try a glass or two of the local Syrah or Chardonnay – the region’s top drops.
The best sauvignon blanc in the world
Simply arriving in this part of the country is magical, the gateway being the tranquil and azure waters of the Marlborough Sounds. After disembarking the Interislander ferry at the charming town of Picton, the path to Marlborough takes you on a scenic road trip through Blenheim before arriving in the emerald-green valleys of this famous wine region. Held in the highest regard by critics across the globe, Marlborough's Sauvignon Blanc is recognised as arguably the best in the world - the wines here have been described as 'unforgettable'. It goes without saying that a vineyard tour of this region is a must-do for those who value delectable wines. A chilled glass of Marlborough Sauv while relaxing in sunshine is a special kind of kiwi bliss.
Staying in Queenstown, tasting in the Gibbston Valley
Queenstown is known as 'the adventure capital of New Zealand,' but there is so much more to this picturesque resort town than just thrills and spills. There is also tremendous variety in the boutique shopping, fine dining and relaxing sightseeing activities on offer, both in and around the town. For a wonderful and relaxing way to spend a free day in Queenstown, take a short 20 minute drive into the Gibbston Valley where beautiful golden hills cradle 250 hectares of vines in the country's coolest, highest altitude wine producing sub region. Here, a small collection of exceptional vineyards open their doors to showcase some delightful creations, the specialty being the Pinot Noir for which the Central Otago Region is so renowned. While you are there, don't miss the wonderful Gibbston Valley Cheese Company - another addition to a perfect day exploring the great sights around Queenstown.
At Moa Trek, we have been crafting the perfect small group tour itineraries in New Zealand for over 30 years and we know a thing or two about great wine. Many of our tours incorporate visits into the above regions; giving you the opportunity to discover the best wines the country has to offer within some of the most spectacular landscapes. Find out more on our website, or contact us directly.