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Vacation Itinerary

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Dates: Any day at customer's request

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail brings together New Zealand's finest experiences in wine, food and stylish accommodation in a unique, scenic tour through beautiful and relatively undiscovered parts of the country.

The Wine Trail links three leading wine regions -- Hawke's Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough -- which together produce 70 of New Zealand's total wine. Each region has quite distinctive wine characteristics: Hawke's Bay is renowned for its Chardonnay, Martinborough for extraordinary Pinot Noir, and Marlborough for the world's leading Sauvignon Blanc.

Days 1-2 Depart LAX on your international flight with Air New Zealand, crossing the Dateline en route to Auckland.

Day 3 Arrive in Auckland early this morning and connect to a flight to picturesque Napier city on the North Island. Stay in Hawke's Bay for your first night on the Trail at McHardy House, a boutique accommodation overlooking beautiful Hawke's Bay. Your host is also a gourmet chef who will prepare a wonderful 4-course dinner for both nights of your stay.

Day 4 Enjoy a gourmet breakfast before heading out to explore the area. Today you have the option of hopping on a bicycle for an invigorating ride around the vineyards, or you may opt to self-drive at your own pace. There are six wineries in the area, including Huthlee Estate, Ngatarawa Wines, Trinity Hill Winery, Te Awa Farm Winery, Sileni Estates and Alpha Domus Winery. Take time to tour Napier's Art Deco buildings, in a city reborn after the 1931 earthquake and fire leveled the town center. Stay in Hawke's Bay for your second night.

Day 5 This morning, embark on a comfortable 3-hour drive south through typical New Zealand farmland, towns and orchards. Stop in Woodville for antiques and at the vast Mt Bruce Wildlife Reserve with its breeding programs for endangered wildlife. If time allows, start your Martinborough experience with a late afternoon wine tasting, or simply relax at your accommodation for the next two nights, the historic Martinborough Hotel. A gourmet dinner at the Martinborough Bistro is included on the night of your choice.

Day 6 A morning stroll around Martinborough Wine Village offers a leisurely start to a day of fine food and wine tasting. Leading wineries such as Ata Rangi, Martinborough Vineyard and Palliser Estate are all within easy walking distance of the Village Square. The Martinborough Wine Centre is a must, with its extensive cellar and tasting of local wines -- as well as being a great place for lunch. After lunch, take a short drive to the craft shops in the charmingly restored buildings of Greytown, many of which date back to 1854, when the town was established. Spend your second night in Martinborough.

Day 7 The morning choices are plentiful. In the Wairarapa region, the seal colony and Palliser lighthouse will absorb a full morning; the fishing fleet at Ngawi is an inspiring sight and Featherston offers several intriguing museums. But less than 2 hours away, Wellington's arts, cuisine and culture beckon, before the afternoon ferry departs. Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum, is modern, interactive and informative. Allow a generous half-day to travel from Wairarapa to Marlborough by road and ferry. Upon arrival at the South Island port of Picton, drive just about a half hour to Blenheim. Here the charming vineyard retreat of Old Saint Mary's Convent, your home for the next two nights, awaits.

Day 8 This day promises a true pilgrimage through a region known for its Sauvignon Blanc. More than 40 wineries are within a mere 10 miles of Blenheim, including the iconic Cloudy Bay Winery. We suggest you lunch al fresco at Allan Scott's or Wairau River Wines, visit boutique producers, or head south to Kaikoura, famous for year-round whale watching. Or explore the tranquil shores of the Marlborough Sounds on forest walks, by sea kayak or cruise boat. To conclude your Wine Trail experience, indulge in a 5-course gourmet dinner tonight at Herzog's Winery.

Day 9 On this last leisurely morning, visit Marlborough's potters, craft shops and gourmet food producers -- or linger for a last drop of wine tasting. Take a flight from Blenheim to Auckland to connect with your international flight back to the US.

- 6 nights accommodation
- All breakfasts / 4 dinners
- Optional cycling in Hawke's Bay
- Complimentary bottle of wine at each hotel
- Mid-size rental car for 7 days
- Ferry transfer
- Taxes

* Ask us about extending your stay to explore other fantastic areas of New Zealand.

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