Jaw-dropping vineyard perched atop of alpine peaks and coastal lines.
New Zealand is one of the most southern countries on the map, surrounded by the Tasman Sea and Southern Pacific Ocean, a hopper flight away from Australia, home to the notorious Kiwi bird and rugby champion All Blacks. Visitors are often drawn to the Island for the scenic views, lava fields, volcanos, Lord of the Rings sets, adrenaline junkie thrills, and the untouched marine life. And let me tell you all of those are amazing reasons to go. They are. But New Zealand still has even more to offer, like a bustling wine industry ripe for sun drenched tastings coupled with gourmet cuisine. So if you’re looking for a more luxurious and relaxing visit to Middle Earth, consider a trip through one (or many) of New Zealand’s wine regions.
New Zealanders have grown a reputation for bold flavored wines, resulting from a long ripening period – thanks to some cooler temperatures – and jaw-dropping vineyard locations perched atop of alpine peaks and coastal lines soaking in the sunshine.
Check out four regions for wine and dine adventures.
After a night out on the town, take a day trip to any one of Auckland’s award-winning wine regions all within a quick drive (or ferry) away. Hop on a 40-minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island and find yourself surrounded by an abundance of boutique vineyards, olive oil tastings and water sport adventures. With a warm and dry microclimate, Waiheke Island offers a variety of grapes including Syrah and Cabernet blends. For a taste of classic Chardonnay and Merlots, cruise over to Kumeu Wine Country, Auckland’s oldest wine region and vineyards around. And for one more trip north, Matakana’s rolling hills will keep your glass full of tasty Pinot Gris, Syrah and Bordeaux blends.
Check out what else to do in Auckland:
- Poderi Crisci
- Passage Rock
- Kumeu River Wines
- Soljans Estate
- Matua Wines
- Babich Wines
- Mahurangi River Winery
- Heron’s Flight Vineyard
North Island’s Hawke’s Bay is the second largest wine region in New Zealand revered for its Bordeaux blends. History first mentions the region in 1851 and it has since grown to include large established vineyards like Mission Estate, as well a string of boutique wineries that line the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
Considered one of the newer wine regions of New Zealand, Canterbury is making a name for itself with bold, complex flavored Reislings and Pinot Noirs. Nestled just an hour outside of Christchurch, pair this vino with some of the best seafood around. Make sure to plan a stop in Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, and Kaikoura, the crayfish and lobster capital of New Zealand.
Queenstown and Central Otago
Central Otago is the most southern wine region in New Zealand known for its elegant Pinot Noir wines and a variety of choice white vines. Divvied up into six sub-regions, Central Otago varieties come from the soaring mountain ranges, lakes and river gorges, creating unique microclimates.
Check out these vineyard trails for a full winery tour through New Zealand.
Classic New Zealand Wine Trail
For those who want a taste of it all, here is the best of the bunch! The New Zealand Wine Trail takes you from north to south, sipping some of the very boldest flavors around. Bike, drive and cruise your way through some of the country’s most notable destinations.
4 Barrels Wine Trail
This is an 8k loop stopping at four vineyards in the Central Otago valley.
Nicole spent a 14-day road trip through NZ in 2017.