New Zealand in your Pocket


Join Our Free eNewsletter

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates and news on our apps, services and opportunities.

Classic NZ Wine Trail - Getting outdoors & having an adventure.

Published: 07/24/2012 by Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

Let the journey begin

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail serves up unforgettable wine and food experiences along the signposted 380km (240 mile) route.

The journey takes you on a drive through regions accounting for more than 80% of New Zealand’s wine production. Combined with the farmers’ markets, eateries and artisan food producers you’ll encounter along the way, the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail offers New Zealand’s most memorable wine and food experiences.

Outdoor & Adventure Itinerary Ideas

Adventure comes in every shape and size along our trail. You can roar down a river in a rubber raft, try a tandem sky-dive or blast across the country on a quad bike. At the other end of the spectrum, there are wildlife sanctuaries to visit, forest tracks to hike and kayak-friendly coasts to explore.

Day 1. Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay

Spend time on the Mohaka River at Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge and choose from a range of activities from white water rafting/kayaking, to horse trekking, fishing, archery, clay-bird shooting, off-road touring, tramping and mountain

Visit Hastings Aerodrome and tandem skydive to get the heart pumping and view Hawke's Ba from the air

Mohaka Rafting offer half, full-day and helicopter shuttled multi-day trips on any grade 2-5 white-waters. Raft through stunning New Zealand wilderness, gorges and river valleys

For an invigorating experience where you can enjoy the vineyards, farmland and villages first hand, hire a bike for a day self guided tour or book a 3-5 day tour with Takaro Trails

Take a fully guided quad biking tour over a 2000 acre working farm located on the edge of the Ngaruroro River with On Track Adventures.  Get the wind in your hair by speeding over farmland and through river gulleys

Take a guided underwater tour and organized dive trip to exotic locations with the Dive Center

Go gorging through amazing streams and waterfalls, kayaking through gorgeous rivers and exploring in underground caves with the Kiwi Adventure Co

Get really adventurous at The National Aquarium of New Zealand and swim freely in the main oceanarium with the sharks, stingrays and other marine life

Day 2. Hawke’s Bay
Hawke's Bay to Tararua  Hawke's Bay to Tararua
Play a round of golf at the internationally renowned Cape Kidnappers International Golf Course, or stay closer to Napier and play at the Awatoto Public Golf Course

If you’d like to work up a thirst or appetite, how about experiencing the Trail by bicycle? Cycle Turismo will guide you along the journey 
To experience the ultimate in wildlife, join a 4WD exclusive tour through spectacular scenery, coastal landscapes, early New Zealand history, flora and fauna and some of New Zealand’s rare native wildlife at Cape Kidnappers or visit the world’s largest, most accessible mainland gannet colony, travelling over working farmland in 4WD coaches or range rovers

Stop at...

Te Mata Peak in Havelock North, which rises 400 metres above sea level and offers panoramic views of the Hawke’s Bay Region, surrounding mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean along with a variety of walking and mountain bike tracks.

Hire a kayak, windsurfer or surfboard from Pandora Hire Ltd and take to Pandora Pond

Whether you are a novice or a professional, mountain bike your way through Esk Valley Mountain Bike Park on one of the many tracks.

Go wild at Pukeora Paintball, set in 120 acres of mature forest with 9 adrenaline pumping bush fields with creeks, gullies and trenches

Day 3. Wairarapa
Tararua to Wairarapa  Tararua to Wairarapa
Drive South along State Highway 2 through the Tararua District following the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail signs.

Spend time at Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre, a national and internationally recognised captive breeding facility for a number of threatened bird species including Kiwi. Pukaha Mount Bruce is home to Manukura the very rare white kiwi - you can see her in the Kiwi House. Check out the Kiwi Theatre, the interactive gallery and stroll through beautiful native bush

Stop at...

Waiohine Gorge, south of Carterton, a popular picnic and hiking destination, walk across one of the longest swing bridges in New Zealand

From Masterton drive to the popular beach destinations of Riversdale and Castlepoint for superb scenery, fishing, surfing and summer-patrolled beaches.

Cycle the vineyards and olive groves of Martinborough with March Hare Cycling

Drive to Cape Palliser where you will find a variety of adventures. Walk to the intriguing Putanguirua Pinnacles, see the fishing settlement of Ngawi, spy on the North Island’s largest colony of fur seals, and walk the 258 steps of the historic Cape Palliser lighthouse for an incredible view. Enjoy fish and chips at the Lake Ferry Hotel with views across Lake Onoke.

Visit Featherston’s Fell Engine, the last of its kind in the world. The Rimutaka Incline, its former routes, is walked and biked by thousands of visitors each year.

Day 4. Wairarapa to Wellington

Wairarapa to Wellington  Wairarapa to Wellington

Travel across the bush clad Rimutaka Ranges to Wellington. Even though you’ve arrived in the capital city, New Zealand’s stunning scenery and nature is right on your doorstep.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films showcased Wellington’s stunning natural scenery on the world stage. Explore the film locations from “The Lord of the Rings” on half or full day tours (suggestions right).

Visit ZEALANDIA: The Karori Sanctuary Experience, a world first conservation attraction and home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife. It’s a great spot for a picnic lunch or take a Sanctuary by Night escorted tour at dusk and try to spot Kiwi.

Drive an hour out of Wellington along the Kapiti Coast to visit Kapiti Island Alive; a unique opportunity in New Zealand to view endangered and rare birds in a completely natural setting. You’ll need to stay overnight if you want to try kiwi spotting – but staying on the island with a Maori family is something you’ll never forget!

Take a Seal Coast Safari across the rugged and remote south coast of Wellington. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the South Island... the South Coast is even more inspiring on a blustery day!

Wellington puts its hills to great use with fantastic mountain biking. There’s great tracks on Mount Victoria, Battle Hill Farm Forest near Porirua, out to the Pencarrow Lighthouse from Eastbourne or a dedicated mountain bike park at Makara. Mountain bikes can be hired from Hutt City i-Site Vistor Centre.

Stop at...

Te Papa National Museum to learn about New Zealand’s unique geology, fauna and flora.

Day 5. Wellington to Marlboough
Wellington to Marlborough
Venture out into the renowned Queen Charlotte Track which leads walkers and cyclists over 71km into the Marlborough Sounds. There are a wide range of guided and unguided options available for all fitness levels from 2 hours to 5 days.

Day 6. Marlborough
Marlborough  Marlborough

Saddle up for a guided horse trek on spectacular backcountry trails.

Take a day or evening guided kayak trip down the Opawa River and Vernon Lagoon just 10 minutes from Blenheim, view birds close up and hear stories of the Moa Hunters to present day. A wonderful opportunity for taking photographs along the way.

Head out for fly fishing or hunting tours or

Swim with the dolphins then take a guided walk on Motuara Island bird sanctuary in Queen Charlotte Sound

Take a tour through Molesworth Station, New Zealand’s largest and most iconic cattle station. Molesworth Tour Company offers a range of options between one and four days exploring the area and the high country station.

Stop at...

A walk through Wither Hills Farm Park, a network of walks with views over the vineyard-studded Wairau Plains.

Staying on track 

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is marked with brown road signs displaying grapes. Even if you decide to do a whirlwind five-day itinerary, you’ll only drive for around three hours a day on high quality roads and highways. Traffic is generally light in New Zealand, so driving is relatively stress-free.

» Touring Routes

Photo Gallery

Classic NZ Wine Trail - Getting outdoors & having an adventure.