Wine & Scenic Highlights of NZ Driving Itinerary

Wine tasting on magnificent Waiheke Island.

Welcome to Auckland!

Welcome to Auckland, situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea. Relax you are on holiday, take time to stroll around the Viaduct Harbour, sit in a cafe and enjoy your surroundings - this is a friendly easygoing city.

Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

Explore Waiheke Island    Island Kayaking Adventure    America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky TowerRelax on the BeachRangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine TourWhale and Dolphin SafariMuriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation: Auckland - 2 nights

Auckland's skyline in the evening sky.
Discover elegance on Auckland’s Viaduct where service and style are always in sync. The Sofitel Auckland has a global reach and a French luxury experience for its guests. Enjoy the marinas ambience from your own balcony, relax at the hotel’s spa by day and socialise at the champagne bar by night. Some of our world class amenities include: Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, World Class So Spa, Panoramic Ocean Views.
Sofitel Auckland


Gourmet Food and Wine on Waiheke Island

Just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, across the beautiful Hauraki Gulf is a tranquil little paradise. Since the late 1970's Waiheke Island's benign climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry. A "small is beautiful" philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high quality fruit, which is made into international award-winning wines. 

On this gourmet tour, we offer a relaxed tasting experience, including fresh oysters, island grown olive oil, and other specialty products like honey from the island, accompanied by wines from some of the Island's top boutique vineyards.  You can choose from various vineyards, and finish with a superb lunch at any one of the delightful vineyard restaurants.  At each vineyard you will taste a selection of premium wines and enjoy an in-depth discussion with the winemaker. Included is a platter style lunch and all tasting fees.

Enjoy Supurb Waheke Wine


Travel to Rotorua

Three and half hours easy drive from Auckland, sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire - Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. Enjoy a day soaking up this magical place, followed by an evening meal and concert with a Maori Cultural Experience

Approximate Distance: 230 kms | 132 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 nights

The Volcanic Region of Rotorua

Rotorua’s designer 5 star Boutique Hotel and Spa offers stylish luxury accommodation, with accommodation to suit most groups of travellers from hotel rooms to 2 bedroom family apartments situated amidst the exciting attractions and experiences Rotorua has to offer. With excellent facilities such as the restaurant, heated pool, gym and mineral bathing facilities. 

Regent of Rotorua


Cultural Eco Full Day Tour

Join this ‘well regarded’ small group tour of Rotorua's most popular and spectacular geothermal parks and colorful lakes on a day trip led by a local naturalist guide.

See the Lady Knox Geyser erupt, visit the Lake Tarawera lookout and see boiling mud pools and hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu. Along the way, you'll learn all about volcanology, New Zealand's stunning flora and fauna, and Maori history from your naturalist guide.

This Morning: Your tour takes you through forestry and farmland to New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool and a series of colorful hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu. After seeing the Lady Knox geyser erupt, you'll take a short drive to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where your guide will tell you about the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this spectacular, bush-covered, geothermal park.

The Afternoon: Visit Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) are amazingly clear and colorful lakes, and their gorgeous scenery make them a favorite stop for visitors. You'll also visit the Buried Village, the site of a Maori village that was destroyed during the Tarawera volcanic eruption. You'll then take a walk through beautiful native bush to a waterfall and the Lake Tarawera lookout.

Fumes rising into the blue sky from the Thermal Wonderland's blue pools.


Fly to Christchurch - The Garden City

A quick flight has you in Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch sits on the very edge of the Canterbury Plains and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The city itself has bounced back after a series of major earthquakes, and has shown its resilience with a number of new and exciting developments popping up everywhere. *Flight not included in costing.

Some suggested activities to help you to get to know the region

Easygoing Cycling Tour   Punting the Avon River  Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural EveningFrench Akaroa TourSouthern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch GondolaClearwater GolfArthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Accommodation: Christchurch - 2 nights

Christchurch the Garden City

One of the most recent luxury boutique hotels in Christchurch, Hotel Montreal is situated overlooking Cramner Square, right on the doorstep of Hagley Park, Christchurch's largest park. Experience absolute comfort and luxury in their beautifully finished rooms, choose from their Deluxe Suite, Penthouse, Twin Bed Suite or Family Suite.

Hotel Montreal - Christchurch


Harbour Cruise and Dolphin Viewing in Akaroa

Leaving Christchurch and a quick drive has you seemingly in another country - France! In 1840, French settlers arrived at Akaroa, and to this day Akaroa remains uniquely French as the site is the only attempted settlement by the French in New Zealand. Most streets have French names and the architecture has a distinct French flavour. There are still many descendants of the original French families still living in Akaroa today. 

Take a scenic cruise exploring the beautiful, sheltered harbour. The Akaroa Harbour Cruise gets you out to view the majestic scenery and wildlife and should feature sightings of the rare, native dolphin - the Hector's Dolphin (the worlds smallest Dolphin) as well as seals, penguins and other birdlife. Explore the historic and picturesque village of Akaroa, with its notable cottages and buildings, gardens, museum, craft shops, and galleries.

Approximate Distance: 85 kms | 53 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 30 mins (each way)

French Akaroa


Christchurch to Mt Cook via Lake Tekapo

Leaving the city via the Canterbury Plains, you will reach Lake Tekapo approximately halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown (a great place to stop for lunch) Continue  to Mount Cook National Park - A Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park, known for its exquisite alpine beauty is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook. Its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. Tonight enjoy a Star Gazing Tour - this area also has World Heritage status as a SkyPark for the purity and lack of light pollution.

Approximate Distance: 330 kms | 205 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 15 mins 

Accommodation: Mt Cook - 1 night

Mt Cook National Park

A stunning destination surrounded by the silent splendor of the Southern Alps and with spectacular views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area. There is a selection of properties within the Terrace Road campus from Hotel to Chalet and Mountainview Motels - all budgets and standards can be catered for.

Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook


Glacier Explorers Tour and Travel to Queenstown

A unique guided experience to get along side an iceberg!. Transfer by bus to the beautiful Tasman Valley for a short walk before boarding a MAC boat for a Glacier Expedition to the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. This tour is 4 hours duration with plenty of time left to travel via the Lindis Pass and Gibbston Valley to Queenstown. We've all heard the endless hype about it being the adventure capital of the world, and there are certainly enough crazy activities here to challenge the strongest, but Queenstown offers much more besides. On arrival into Queenstown return your rental car and enjoy the close proximity of your accommodation to the township. 

Approximate Distance: 265 kms | 164 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation: Queenstown - 3 nights

A massive, magnificent blue and icy glacier protruding from the water.

For your perfect escape to Queenstown, come and experience The Dairy Private Luxury Hotel, our clients rave about this property with a reputation for high quality and excellent service. Built in the 1920’s it has been voted #24 in the World and #1 in New Zealand for Small Hotels so you can be assured you won’t be disappointed. Situated only a minute walk to Queenstown with 13 rooms, all with ensuites and stunning views of the surrounding alpine area.


Scenic Flight & Cruise Dramatic Milford Sound

Today, board a twin engine aircraft for your scenic 35 minute flight to Milford Sound. During your flight there are panoramic views of the spectacular alpine scenery including glaciers, rivers, lakes and rainforest.  On reaching Milford Sound, enjoy a full length cruise of the fiord in modern, purpose built vessels. The vessels offer excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife with large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges. At the completion of your cruise, return to Queenstown by plane.  Transfers are provided to and from your accommodation to Queenstown airport.

Milford Sound Cruise


Boutique Wine Tour of Central Otago

Central Otago wine is so much more than a taste experience. You’ll see the real drama in the scenery, hear the pristine silence of the high country, savour the scent of pure clean air and feel the pulse of the heart of Central Otago. Taste wines at four of the best vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions whilst enjoying the Scenery of Kawarau Gorge, the Otago Goldfields, Historic Old Cromwell Town and Lake Dunstan and then enjoy a delightful gourmet platter lunch at the award winning Carrick Winery Restaurant. 

Recommended excursions in and around Queenstown:

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon      Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise  Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Central Otago Wine Tour


Homeward Bound

Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast, before an afternoon departure from Queenstown Airport, connecting with your flight home. You may have time for an activity or to just relax in one of the many waterfront cafes.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy the Wine & Scenic Highlights of New Zealand and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the Wine & Scenic Highlights of New Zealand Tour - We Guarantee you it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!

Queenstown City

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What Elizabeth says about this tour: This tour is my favourite mix of boutique wineries, scenic flights, and guided cultural experiences - I love that you traverse the country and get up close to the landscape. It's a taste of the finest offerings from our diverse land.
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