Road trips in New Zealand are without doubt the best way to enjoy the country. With good roads and breathtaking landscapes on both the North and South islands, visiting the Wineries and Vineyards of this lush green country is a delightful way to travel. Here’s our guide to the best places to go in New Zealand for wine tasting and vineyards.
Starting at the top of the North Island. Many people overlook this region for wine but there are some fantastic vineyards in this area so once you’ve landed and got over your jet-lag, get your hire car in Auckland and head to the Villa Maria Winery. From humble beginnings this winery has grown to become the largest producer of wine in the country. They often have events at the winery too and have a wonderful tasting room you could spend hours at.
I’d also recommend visiting Babich Wines, created by 2 Croatian brothers back in 1916. A vineyard of more humble proportions, they produce some excellent quality wines you’ll definitely want to sample.
Just a couple of hours north of Wellington a the bottom of the South Island you’ll find an area called the Wairarapa. It’s a scenic area with rolling hills and pretty little towns. You’ll also find a lot of farm land here and the occasional vineyard too. Check out the Gladstone Vineyard which is one of the prettiest little wineries you’ll ever see. With gorgeous vineyards, friendly staff and even accommodation at their “Vineyard Retreat” it’s the perfect place to spend a few days and sample some of their wonderful wines.
On the East coast of the North Island you’ll find Hawke’s Bay. A lush green landscape with some excellent vineyards. Te Mata Estate is one of top wineries in New Zealand and produces some top wines including a great Cabernet-Merlot. They have a wonderful array of wines to taste here and Hawke’s Bay itself is a very pretty part of New Zealand to enjoy a few days at.
Probably the most famous wine-producing region of New Zealand. The landscape and climate here are perfect for vineyards and you’ll find a number of exciting wineries worth visiting. Try the Highfield Estate for a sublime Sauvignon Blanc and gorgeous penthouse style accommodation at their winery.
It’s also worth checking out Hunter’s Wines, arguably one of the best in the region. Cloudy Bay vineyards is a real treat with gorgeous Pinot and a spacious tasting room. They also have pretty gardens too and views that will make the trip all worthwhile.
Just 2 hours drive from Marlborough you’ll find the equally beautiful Nelson region. Here you’ll find one of my personal favourites. The Five Oaks Vineyard is so-called as it’s situated near 5 mature oak trees, planted by European immigrants in the 1800s. It’s a 30 acre vineyard producing some great bottles. I’d also recommend a visit to the Brightwater Vineyards, a relative new-comer to the Nelson wine region, started in 1992, they quickly became known for producing some of the best wine, winning awards and increasing production. They have a wonderful tasting experience that’s sure to make you leave with a bottle or two.
New Zealand is blessed with perfect wine-producing weather, near tropical climate in the north and sub-tropical further south. Their beautiful hillsides and flat fertile lands produce some of the world’s best wines. Make your road trip in New Zealand a wine tasting trip too.
A great website to find out more about New Zealand’s wineries is www.nzwine.com well worth checking out.