New Zealand Wilds and Wineries

   
 

New Zealand Wilds and Wineries

BY NIBBLES AND SIPS TOURS
www.nibblesipstours.com

UPDATED

1 month ago

DURATION

20 Days / 19 Nights

SEASON

February 23 - March 13, 2020

RATES

CAD 7,482.00 per person

EXPIRES

Jan 23, 2020
New Zealand Wilds and Wineries
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DESCRIPTION

Learn More @ www.nibblesipstours.com

This tour is definitely for wine and adventure lovers! We hit up 8 of the 10 best wineries on both the north and south islands, while experiencing some of the most beautiful natural areas and incredible wildlife. Of course, the historical and cultural aspects of the country are interwoven throughout our explorations. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime vacation through both islands that includes experiences such as helicopter rides to remote glaciers, swimming with dolphins, and biking through vineyards. It's time to explore and enjoy the fantastic wines, culinary delights and all amazing aspects of this gorgeous country.

Please note this is an active itinerary, participants should be able to walk on a variety of terrains and ride a bicycle on flat terrain.

ADDITION RATE INFORMATION

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Based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply, or ask to be paired with a same sex room mate. 5% GST not included. 35% deposit upon booking, final payment 60 days in advance, OR ask us about our monthly payment plan.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Welcome To Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
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This is your international flight day. Flights arrive into Auckland at all times of day and night, so please ensure that you are arriving on the correct day. You may depart your home city one or two days prior (especially because of the time difference). Please ask us for recommended flights out of your home city.

No matter what time you arrive, your tour leader will be waiting to greet you at the airport to transfer you to the hotel. You may have some free time today to enjoy the city on your own, or ask your tour leader for suggestions on what to do.

Tonight, if the group has all arrived, we will have a Welcome Dinner as a group. If the group is not complete, we will have our Welcome Dinner on Day 2. Your tour leader will give you the information upon arrival.

Day 2: Discovering Auckland: History, Culinary And Culture
Auckland, New Zealand
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We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t start our tour with some interesting off the beaten track sites and an opportunity to experience the food culture in this city. You can have a bit of a sleep in this morning and enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we depart to meet our local guide for a walking tour of some of the cool, off the beaten track places in the city. This tour will take approximately 2 and a half hours, and is a walking tour, which means that you should be able to walk approximately 3 kms with no problem. The pace is casual as we get a unique view of the city from the lanes and neighborhoods as shown by our knowledgeable local guide. We also will be learning about some of the Maori history and culture to start our New Zealand journey off right. Along our journey we’ll pass heritage buildings, sculptures and temples of high fashion to emerge at an early Maori fortress and volcanic park brimming with military secrets.

Our mornings exercise will make us hungry for our food experiences of this afternoon! Our local guide will start us off at a locally owned eatery to mix and mingle with our guide over New Zealand-style cuisine. Here we may savor seafood fritters with aioli dipping sauce or seasoned beef wagyu depending on the seasonal tastes selected for our enjoyment.

This leisurely experience blends Auckland’s colorful history and landmarks with an entertaining 'lunch on legs' designed to showcase the city's diverse flavors. It’s so much more than a food tour as we’ll discover street art, serene squares, Maori legends and hidden restaurants as the tour ducks down back lanes towards the city’s waterfront. As we walk, we will enjoy Asian-style street food, premium cheese, artisan chocolate or a dessert considered the best in the world. Auckland is a Pacific-rim foodie paradise if you know where to go and along the way. We can also sit down to share the stories of the local food vendors! We'll discover their fascination with crafting premium ingredients into the food Aucklanders' love to eat.

At the harbor’s edge, we end the time with our local guide, and we can head off to explore the city on our own, or back to the hotel for a rest. For those who are wanting to join your tour leader for dinner or a drink (if you are at all hungry!), later we will head off to experience the sunset from Swashbucklers Bar, where we might also get a glimpse of a stingray that frequents the area.

Day 3: Beaches And Wineries On Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island, Auckland Islands, New Zealand
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You can enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we head off on our first day of wineries. This morning we are going to head off to the nearby Waiheke Island to explore. This island has phenomenal beaches, vistas and wineries, and we will experience some of the island’s most iconic destinations, including three wineries and an olive grove.

A short 35-minute ferry ride takes us to the island itself, where we will join a group tour to enjoy the highlights of this island.

Light lunch & wine tasting at Stonyridge Vineyard - Nestled in a beautiful valley of olive trees and vines, Stonyridge is one of the most romantic and exotic venues in the greater Auckland area. Known for their Cabernet blends, Stonyridge also has a wonderful cafe menu, featuring fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

Wine tasting at Casita Miro - A sprawling Spanish-style vineyard is home to Casita Miro restaurant, renowned for its delightful tapas-inspired food and fine wines. Enjoy a wine and food pairing in the beautiful art deco style pavilion.

Olive oil tasting at Rangihoua Estate - Sample a range of premium, internationally-awarded Extra Virgin Olive Oil surrounded by olive groves and native New Zealand Forest. Rangihoua also hosts The Hay Paddock Cellar Door, with wine tastings to complement the EVOO.

Wine tasting at Mudbrick Vineyard - Learn about Mudbrick's varietals during a special cellar door tasting. Relax on the terrace or wander the garden, enjoying sweeping sea views all the way to Auckland City.

After the tours we have some free time to walk, spend time on the beach, or shop.

Day 4: Auckland Winery And Tauranga
Auckland, New Zealand
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This morning you can enjoy a relaxed breakfast in the hotel before we load up our private vehicle to depart for our first destination today, a fine vineyard located just a half hour away. Villa Maria was started as a one man show just 50 years ago, and today exports to over 50 countries worldwide. A tour starts at 11 am and takes us through the background history of the winery and follows the wine making process through to the bottling hall with videos. We can enjoy an early lunch here along with our wine tasting.

After lunch we are going to start off on our adventure to the eastern side of the island. Our destination today is Tauranga, about 2 and a half hours away. We can check into our hotel and then spend some time exploring this historical town. It hosts historic buildings like the Elms Mission Station, an 1847 Georgian-style home. A bridge over the harbor connects Tauranga to Mount Maunganui, a beach town with hot saltwater pools and an extinct namesake volcano with winding walking paths. Choose to explore with your tour leader or on your own.

Day 5: Bay Of Plenty, Wildlife And Cruise
Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
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Today we depart for an amazing adventure on the ocean. We enjoy an amazing full-day wildlife and adventure experience in the Bay of Plenty aboard a comfortable cruising vessel. We have the chance to see seasonal marine wildlife, and enjoy use of available water sports equipment and relax on board. We depart from the waterfront at 8 am, after a delicious breakfast in the hotel.

Starting in the Tauranga Harbour, watch the city around you while our Captain provides us with fascinating commentary on the history, geography and culture of the area. With an extraordinary knowledge of marine wildlife, the Captain will personally share with us everything they observe. Books and references are also available on board to enhance our experience.

We will explore the aquatic world of seasonal marine wildlife; such as dolphins, seals, penguins, fish, and whales. The regular dolphin encounters can range from a few animals to hundreds. The Captain will stop and let us spend time with them whenever they are spotted.

We can choose to explore even more at the islands; Matakana Island, Karewa Island and Motiti Island. Astrolabe Reef and Okapauru Reef are other fascinating hot spots to check out, here we have the chance to do optional activities including swimming, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boarding.

There is a licensed bar on board should you wish to purchase refreshments throughout the tour, a great way to celebrate our experience on the way home! The cruise normally takes between 6 and 8 hours. Variations are due to the seasonal variations between summer and winter, daylight saving, sea conditions, weather, time spent with dolphins or other marine life as encountered.

We return to the hotel and have the evening free.

Day 6: Tauranga To Gisborne
Gisborne, New Zealand
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As we start to travel south to eventually arrive on the southern island, we have several days of relaxed driving in our private vehicle. This allows us to stop and explore as frequently as we like. Today we wander our way down and around the coast to our final destination of Gisborne where we will be spending the night. Our drive today may take us all day, but the friendly coastal towns along this route offer a plethora of things to see and do, with uninterrupted beaches for swimming or walking. Near Te Araroa we can visit the country's eastern most lighthouse and Tikitiki is home to one of the most ornate Maori churches in New Zealand. Tolaga Bay a good spot to take a break and stretch your legs with a walk along the historic 660 metre wharf.

Day 7: Millton Vineyards, Hawke’S Bay
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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This morning we can have a leisurely breakfast before travelling a short distance to Millton Vineyards. Here we will find traditional viticulture practiced in their four vineyards, with no insecticide, herbicides, systemic fungicide, or soluble fertilizers used. We will sit in the quiet garden and enjoy some samplings of these fantastic wines. This is a great start to our day! We depart this beautiful space and head off towards Hawke's Bay, where we have a visit to the fabulous Te Mata Estate for another tour and tasting today.

Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate is one of the few New Zealand wineries with roots in the nineteenth century. A family-owned operation, they are proud of their inheritance and committed to the future. They produce internationally recognized wines exclusively from their Hawke’s Bay vineyards. They produce eleven wines from classical vineyard areas. With their complexity, structure and balance these wines reward careful cellaring through continued evolution in bottle. Wines have been made here for over a century. Te Mata Estate has been at the forefront of the modern rejuvenation of the New Zealand wine scene for the last forty years. We are going to enjoy a tour of the vineyards and winery, then enjoy a tasting of current and cellared vintages of Te Mata wines in the Coleraine Room overlooking the estate, or a private tasting at the cellar door.

After our tasting and tour here, we head just a short distance down the road to Craggy Range Vineyards where we will spend the night in one of their charming villas. You can enjoy a first-class culinary service in their restaurant, and of course we have included a cellar door wine experience here as well.

Day 8: Hawke's Bay To Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand
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We are going to depart a bit earlier today to continue our southern journey down to the farthest south city, Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, and this city will be our jumping off point to the South Island. The beautiful drive takes us through natural areas that we can stop and enjoy, take time to stretch our legs, take photos and enjoy lunch in route to our destination. We will arrive to the Wellington area in time to enjoy a visit to the Wellington Museum, which will give us a fantastic background and history of the area. We have the evening to enjoy the city and the hotel.

Day 9: Wellington Free Day
Wellington, New Zealand
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Today we take a rest and enjoy this beautiful city. This is New Zealand's second largest city and considered the most picturesque, with a gorgeous harbor, stunning views, beautiful beaches, and lots to see. Ask your tour leader what to do, or head off to explore on your own.

Day 10: Wellington To Picton / Wine Tasting And Tour
Picton, Marlborough, New Zealand
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We depart on the ferry after breakfast to start our adventure to the South Island. The ferry ride takes about 3 and a half hours to the town of Picton. This beautiful little town has an attractive seafront dotted with cafés, restaurants, various types of galleries. There’s also a floating maritime museum and an aquarium. We will enjoy lunch in one of the charming restaurants here before we drive a short half hour to arrive at the Brancott Estate, where we will have a tour and tasting. The first Sauvignon Blanc vines in Marlborough were planted on Brancott Vineyard in 1975. Here we will discover the history behind the varietal that has since changed the wine world. The tour here includes a tutored tasting that will demonstrate the diversity of the region's terroir and how it shapes the wine.

We head back to Picton to spend some free time enjoying the town itself. We can visit the museum or aquarium, or if you choose, you can have the rest of the day free.

Day 11: Swimming With Dolphins / Picton To Nelson
Nelson, West Coast, New Zealand
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This morning we are going to have an exciting experience that can not be matched! We have the opportunity to view and swim with five different varieties of dolphins. This is New Zealand’s best dolphin swimming experience in the shimmering, flat waters of the scenic Marlborough Sounds. We’ll be searching for Dusky, Bottlenose, Common, Orca and the rare Hector’s dolphins that frequent this unique area. During the cruise, we’re also likely to see NZ Fur Seals and a variety of seabirds (like Gannets, Shearwaters and Penguins). This is such a calm area of water that the boat operator has a no sea sickness guarantee! This is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

After our morning of swimming and enjoying the marine life, we return to Picton to have some lunch before jumping back into our vehicle and winding our way down the western side of the island to the city of Nelson, where we will spend the next two nights.

Nelson faces Tasman Bay and is well known for its local arts and crafts stores, art galleries and surrounding vineyards, along with Abel Tasman National Park. If we have some time today, we can visit the Founders Heritage Park, a living museum that offers great insight into the history of the town. Nelson is the oldest city on the South Island and the second oldest in New Zealand.

Day 12: Nelson Area Taste Tour
Nelson, West Coast, New Zealand
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We have a very different type of tasting tour today as we set off to explore the area on bicycles. We can make our own decisions about how many vineyards, cafes, cheese shops, berry farms and craft breweries we want to stop at along our route.

We are picked up at the hotel, and transferred just outside the town to start our adventure. This is a flat, rural area that takes us through orchards and vineyards, and you do not need to have cycling experience to do this. You should expect to spend 2 to 3 hours in total (broken up through the day) biking. Electric bikes are also available. We can choose to visit up to 5 wineries for tastings, and will also enjoy an afternoon tea at a brewery café. We return to the hotel at about 5:30 PM and have the evening to relax.

Day 13: Nelson To Greymouth / Shantytown Heritage Park And Monteith's Brewery
Greymouth, West Coast, New Zealand
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We depart this morning after breakfast to travel south to the interesting city of Greymouth. Greymouth is a town with a history of jade hunting, gold mining and dramatic river floods. Here we are going to take a beak from our wine tastings to sample the local beer and enjoy the history of the area.

We spend the afternoon at the Shantytown Heritage Park. Here you have time to experience everything that the Park has to offer at your own pace. Shantytown is one of New Zealand’s premier cultural and heritage attractions. A faithfully recreated 1900s pioneer town, born out of, and stimulated by, the great West Coast gold rushes of the 1860s. Shantytown, nestled amidst regenerative native rain forest provides a real sense of what it was like to live in New Zealand then and what it means to be a New Zealander now, by allowing you to be both participant and observer in this most dynamic period of its post-Maori colonization.

Later this afternoon we are going to check into our hotel, then head off to the Monteith’s Brewery, where we will enjoy a 45-minute guided tour around before sitting down to tastings of handcrafted beers and tantalizing bites including the famous Whitebait Patties & Beer Battered Fries.

Day 14: Greymouth To Hokitika Treetop Climb To Haast
Haast, West Coast, New Zealand
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We can have a bit of a sleep in this morning before enjoying breakfast and heading a short 30-minute drive down the road to our first destination of the day. Our first stop is an exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. We can experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Everyone will enjoy the 45-minute stroll along a steel platform 20 meters high and over 450 meters long. If you like, climb to the top of Hokitika Tower 40 meters above the forest floor. Be inspired by a sensational vista of the majestic snowcapped Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, or gently sway in harmony with the forest on the Mahinapua Springboard. From here you can view the exquisite Lake Mahinapua through the richly diverse forest foliage.

If the group wants, we can enjoy a coffee and snack here in the café before heading farther down the coast to have an incredible once in a lifetime experience. We are going to make our way to Fox Glacier helicopter base, then step into our helicopter for a flight over the icy landscape. This is an excellent opportunity to spot ice fields, deep crevasses, and icefalls far below as we soar across Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier; watch for the differences between the two maritime glaciers.

As we fly, our pilot shares commentary on the glaciers, then guides the helicopter down toward the snow for an exciting glacier landing. This is a great time to snap dramatic on-ice photographs and to get shots of the Southern Alps’ beautiful mountain scenery. Following our time on the glacier, we return to the helicopter for our flight back to the Fox Glacier helicopter base.

After this exciting experience, we set off to further explore and eventually reach our destination of the day – Haast. Haast is situated in the heart of Te W?hipounamu World Heritage Area. There are national parks to the north, south and east. We definitely need some downtime to process our day, so after checking into our hotel, you have the rest of the day and evening free.

Day 15: Haast World Heritage Area Boat Tour To Wanaka
Wanaka, Canterbury, New Zealand
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We can’t leave Haast without enjoying the surrounding area. This morning we take a jet boat up a remote back country river into UNESCO South West New Zealand World Heritage Area to learn about the pioneering spirit of days gone by, learn the early Maori history and later, the harshness of wilderness that faced the European settlers. We have an opportunity to walk through an ancient beech forest untouched by man for thousands of years. Our boat tour takes about two and a half hours, and we return in time to have lunch before driving to our next destination. There is a short waterfall walk about 20 minutes down the road if the group wants to stop, otherwise, we continue on for about two hours to the town of Wanaka. We have the chance to visit a Lavender Farm this afternoon before heading to our hotel. At this farm we can experience 10 acres of beautiful lavender fields and display gardens, enjoy a walk through the flowers, meet the friendly farm animals, play a garden game, unwind over a cup of herbal tea, then indulge in one of lavender ice-creams. Take a moment to sample the Lakes Honey and the many lavender products that are produced on site. This is a great relaxing experience to round out our day.

Day 16: Wanaka / Rippon Winery / Clay Cliffs / Maerewhenua Rock Art Site / Elephant Rock
Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand
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This is probably going to be our longest day of travel and exploration here on the South Island. There is so much to see and do it is impossible to include it all, but the route we travel on today has too many interesting and unique places to miss out on any! We will stop for lunch when we want, and not be hurried by any time limits.

We start our morning with a visit to the Rippon Winery. Here we will have 45 minutes to an hour with our own personal host who will talk us thoroughly through the land, people and wines of Rippon. 6-8 wines will be tasted, often mini-verticals of Pinot Noir or Riesling. What a fantastic way to start the day!

We travel on to explore the route between here and our final destination of Timaru. Along the way we will visit the Clay Cliffs; the Maerewhenua Rock Art Site, which consists of historic Maori carvings, thought to be from the moa hunting period. We also make a stop at the unique Elephant Rocks. The limestone outcrops come in different shapes – maybe some look like elephants with a lot of imagination – which makes climbing them hard to resist. The location was used during the filming of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the White Witch bowed before Aslan. Nearby the Elephant Rocks are the bones of a fossilized baleen whale. Our last visit of the day will be to a small museum. The Vanished World Centre holds all sorts of ancient marine creatures. Their fossils have been found all over the Waitaki Valley and displayed here at the centre in Duntroon.

We continue on to our hotel in Timaru to spend the evening. The old whaling station is a charming little town featuring a dramatic cliff beach, century-old buildings, and the beautiful Caroline Bay. The bay has been voted one of the Top 10 beaches in New Zealand! Plus, it’s a great place to watch little blue penguins.

Day 17: Timru To Christchurch And Pegasus Bay Vineyard / Free Time In Christchurch
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
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Our breakfast in the hotel will fuel us to continue our journey north to Christchurch, and just a half hour beyond to the Pegasus Bay Vineyard. This is to the be the last official wine tasting of your vacation, and it is nothing but spectacular. Here we will taste a large selection of current vintage wines including many from the reserve range. The cellar door hosts are knowledgeable and professional while at the same time friendly, relaxed and accommodating — in true Pegasus Bay style! The wines are kept under argon gas to ensure that they are served to you in perfect condition. While tasting, we can take in the commanding views of the barrel hall and wine cellars and at any time could catch a glimpse of what goes on in a true “working winery. We will have lunch here, so we start with the tastings to help make our selections to accompany our meals.

We head back to Christchurch where you can have the rest of the afternoon free, or join your tour leader to enjoy the Botanical Gardens and the Canterbury Museum, along with other activities dependent on time restrictions.

Day 18: Exploring Akaroa
Akaroa, Canterbury, New Zealand
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We can enjoy breakfast early before we get picked up by a local guide at 8:00 am for a full day tour. Along the way we can enjoy the scenery as we travel to Akaroa. On the way, gaze at Little River, Lake Forsyth, Lake Ellesmere, Gebbies Pass, and Governor's Bay. We arrive at the Akaroa crater, home to the scenic harbor and French settlement of Akaroa. We will stop by the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory to taste locally made cheeses, and wander through the town, distinguished by colonial architecture, with our guide. For lunch, we stop at the popular Bully Hayes Restaurant on the waterfront.

After lunch, we board a catamaran for a 2-hour harbor cruise on the lookout for marine and bird life, including Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest oceanic dolphin. Our guide provides information on the ecosystem surrounding the bay and its marine inhabitants. Later today we will be dropped back off at our hotel and have the evening free.

Day 19: Flight To Auckland / Free Afternoon Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
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We depart the South Island today by flight, just a short hour and a half back to Auckland. We arrive in at about noon, and after transferring to the hotel and checking in, you are free to enjoy the rest of the day. We will have our last dinner tonight as a group.

Day 20: Time To Say Goodbye
Auckland, New Zealand
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It will be a sad goodbye today as you depart out to your home country or next destination. Your tour leader will accompany you to the airport at the appropriate time for your flight.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

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  • 3*, 4* or 5* accommodations
  • Professional tour leader
  • Private transportation
  • Internal flight from Christchurch to Auckland, baggage rates if applicable
  • All breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 2 dinners
  • Wine tastings
  • Food tastings
  • Other transport as required (boats, train, etc.)
  • All entrances to sites and parks
  • Site guides as required
  • Local guides as required
  • All activities as described in itinerary

NOTES

Learn More @ www.nibblesipstours.com

Small group tour maximum 6 travellers.


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