Your picturesque North Island journey is specially designed to connect you exclusively with locals, as you sample regional produce and visit three world-renowned wineries.
Travel local and feel like a VIP with food and wine experiences in Martinborough that are designed just for Insight guests, including visits to Olivo, Palliser Estate & a cooking school at Union Square.
Day 1: Welcome to Wellington
Your Private Driver meets you at Wellington Airport and transfers you to your hotel. Spend some time to relax or perhaps go for a stroll and see the nearby iconic Beehive Parliament Building. Meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers at 11:00 to kick off your culinary adventure across the North Island. Get to know New Zealand’s cool capital with a Local Expert as you discover the waterfront, the bohemian Cuba St precinct and hear about the buzzing food and drinks scene. Once dimly lit back alleys, these newly rejuvenated laneways are now home to some of the country’s funkiest bars, boutiques and breweries. Experience a private tasting of a premium batch of peanut butter made by an artisan supplier and sample Wellington’s very own chocolate. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers at your Welcome Dinner.
Hotel: Sofitel Wellington
Day 2: Cheese and Wine of Wairarapa - Relaxed Start
Leave the city after a relaxed start to the day and travel to nearby Featherston at the foothills of the Remutaka Range. Sample a selection of delicious cheeses presented by the passionate people behind the C’est Cheese artisan deli, housed in the historic 19th-century Anderson Building. Then, visit nearby Greytown, one of New Zealand’s prettiest small towns. Stroll among independent boutiques and cafes, cute colonial cottages and art galleries. In Martinborough, learn about the boutique Wairarapa Wine Country at your visit to the Palliser Estate. Hear about the uniqueness of the area, the types of wines produced and enjoy a tasting straight from the barrels. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel’s own Union Square Bistro & Bar, a modern restaurant with French influence.
Hotel: Martinborough Hotel
Day 3: Martinborough Delights - Relaxed start
This morning meet Helen and John, the couple behind Olivo, the oldest commercial olive grove of the area with the mission to produce oils that are boutique, artisan and gorgeous. Follow the olives’ journey from tree to table as you learn about production, tasting and recipes. Return to the Union Square Bistro and get hands on in a private, group cooking lesson with the chef as you prepare lunch then dine with the restaurant team. Take the rest of the day to relax or perhaps visit the Wine Bank housing, Martinborough’s most comprehensive range of locally produced wine.
Hotel: Martinborough Hotel
Day 4: On the Classic Wine Trail to Hawke's Bay
Today’s journey takes you through the lush farmlands of the Tararua district. Once known as the Seventy Mile Bush. The area was cleared for farming by Scandinavians in the 19th Century and the mark of these early settlers is visible in local townships. Arrive to Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay, the country’s oldest wine growing region. This evening set out for your dining and wine pairing experience to Craggy Range at the foot of the towering Te Mata Peak. The winery is run by the passionate Peabody family who bought the empty plot nearly 30 years ago, starting from scratch to focus on quality right from the beginning.
Hotel: Porters Boutique Hotel
Day 5: Hawke's Bay Exploration
During the 1931 earthquake, Napier was severely affected as its commercial centre was completely destroyed. It was swiftly rebuilt in primarily Art Deco style, the fashionable choice at the time and became known for its high concentration of 1930’s buildings worldwide. Explore Hawke’s Bay with Insight Choice. Feel like stepping back in time by taking a tour in a vintage car and visiting the majestic Municipal Theatre. Alternatively, get on two wheels and take a relaxing bike ride from the city centre on the Ahuriri Estuary Trail to the Taradale Wineries. Later, come together and indulge in an included lunch at a local award-winning winery. Return to Havelock North and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Hotel: Porters Boutique Hotel
Day 6: On the Way to Rotorua - Relaxed Start
After your Relaxed Start, join the Thermal Explorer Highway and cross the Ruahine Range as you approach New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake at Taupo. Pass the ‘Sleeping Lady’ Mt Tauhara and admire the roaring Huka Falls on the Waikato, the country’s longest river. Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and join a guided tour to connect with the beating heart of the world’s youngest geothermal valley, followed by a relaxing cruise around the tranquil waters of Lake Rotomahana. Later, arrive to Rotorua.
Hotel: Pullman Rotorua
DAY 7: Redwoods and Celebrations
This morning, marvel at the 118-year-old giant redwood trees sitting in Whakarewarewa Forest, one of the oldest exotic forests in New Zealand. Ascending to the breath-taking Redwoods Treewalk, enjoy a unique birds’ eye perspective of the forest below and treetops above. Tonight, toast to your new memories with your fellow travellers at your Celebration Dinner at the interactive Eight Restaurant, offering eight international cuisines. (B, DW)
Day 8: Farewell Auckland
After breakfast, your North Island adventure comes to an end. Take your complimentary transfer to Auckland airport for your onward journey.
✓ Insight Vacations have enhanced our existing hygiene protocols to align with the latest guidance following COVID-19.
✓ All Travel Directors and Drivers have been trained by their fully qualified Training Manager in well-being and hygiene protocols.
✓ Their Travel Directors are also trained to react and activate protocol should any unexpected issues arise on the trip.
✓ Physical distancing measures have been implemented on their customized luxury coaches.
✓ Hand sanitizer is freely available onboard for their guests to use throughout the day.
✓ They only work with establishments that we are confident will consistently adhere to our high well-being standards, which includes hotels, restaurants, sightseeing venues.
✓ Their operations and guest support teams are on call 24/7, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
✓ While sightseeing guests to be allowed immediate entry on arrival with no queuing.
✓ The venues Insight Vacations travels to all have physical distancing measures in all public areas.
✓ Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give.
✓ Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
✓ If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.