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New Zealand’s Classic Wine Trail offers spectacular scenery, wildlife and fantastic food along the way, meaning there’s an awful lot more to discover than the wine. So what do you say UK?
Travelling around New Zealand offers ample opportunity to sample gourmet food and wine that is among the best in the world. Taste is paramount to the many innovative chefs who prepare seasonal ingredients, freshly harvested from land and sea. The cuisine is often described as Pacific Rim, drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia, combined with distinctive indigenous influences.
The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is a deliciously indulgent road journey that passes through three premier wine-growing areas. Together they are responsible for around 70% of the country’s annual wine production and are renowned internationally for the quality and distinctiveness of their award-winning wines. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region; the setting is enviable and it enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate. Wairarapa is one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets, featuring more than 30 wineries, largely boutique and family-owned. Marlborough is the largest grape-growing region and has the stunning Marlborough Sounds on its doorstep. As you journey from the North Island to the South Island, you’ll also visit Wellington, the administrative and cultural capital of New Zealand, and have the chance to discover a wide variety of sights and activities en route.
Tailor Made Travel can offer a range of travel packages to the New Zealand Wine Trail
A great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the Hawke’s Bay countryside is to tour the wineries – along the way you’ll pass olive groves, orchards, farmland and Napier’s seaside charm and art deco architecture. Start the day with an exclusive barrel sampling and a fully guided behind the scenes tour at Church Road winery. Then visit Mission Hills and enjoy lunch at The Terrace, one of New Zealand’s top restaurants, before heading on to Gimblett Gravels, Ngatarawa Triangle and Dartmoor Valley.
Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony. These impressive birds are very tolerant of visitors, so you can get close without disturbing them. Travelling along the coast you’ll also encounter seals, penguins and rare shorebirds, including the New Zealand dotterel. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Hawke’s Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Cape Kidnappers golf course has been hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf.
Tailor Made travel Deal Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Experience, from £79pp; Hawke’s Bay Activity, from £24pp
Explore the historic township of Greytown and the celebrated Martinborough wine village with a relaxed focus on fine food and wine. You’ll see behind the scenes, sample speciality foods from the Wairarapa and meet the people behind these premium boutique brands. Naturally, the three-course tasting lunch is matched with wines from the area. Immerse yourself further in the region’s gastronomic offerings with a two-night stay at the country retreat, Albavilla, on Martinborough Estate. Enjoy taking part in a cookery workshop and a soft cheese-making lesson, and visit two boutique wineries.
Tailor Made travel Deal Wairarapa Food and Wine Experience, from £180pp; Wairarapa Activity, from £390pp for two nights
The focus in Wellington is on the best of local food and wine. Roast your own coffee at a boutique coffee roasting house, explore the city’s top speciality food stores and indulge in a tasting lunch at an award-winning restaurant.
Less than 10 minutes from central Wellington is a world-first conservation attraction where a predator-proof natural area is being patiently restored. Some of New Zealand’s rarest species have been released inside the sanctuary, and night tours provide the best chance of spotting some of the more secretive wildlife, such as the iconic kiwi and tuatara.
Tailor Made travel Deal Wellington Food and Wine Experience, from £92pp; Wellington Activity, from £26pp
Passing through the Marlborough Sounds on the ferry from Wellington to Picton is a spectacular cruise in itself. Once in the South Island, visit a greenshell mussel farm, where you’ll learn the intricacies of growing this delicacy and enjoy freshly steamed mussels with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a great wine and food match.
The Queen Charlotte Sound is one of four fjord-like sunken valleys that together comprise the Marlborough Sounds. It is accessible from the seaside town of Picton, rich in Maori and maritime history. Experience its beauty on a guided sea kayak trip, exploring the bays and coves as you learn about the wildlife.
Tailor Made travel Deal Marlborough Food and Wine Experience, from £44pp; Marlborough Activity, from £42pp
Many companies now offer a ‘tailor-made’ service, but Tailor Made Travel is the original, and every booking it creates is unique to the client. The company’s 92-page brochure dedicated to New Zealand offers a wide range of experiences, places to stay and inspiring journeys.
A nine-day self-drive trip costs from £2,039 per person including international flights with Air New Zealand, eight nights in boutique accommodation, nine days’ car rental and interisland ferry crossing. Based on travel in March 2010.
● So what do you say UK? For more information contact Tailor Made Travel by telephone on 0800 988 5907 or visit the website: www.tailor-made.co.uk/newzealand
Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Autumn 2009