Hawke's Bay to Wellington Wine Trail
A love of fine wine will drive you to travel this signposted journey through the first leg of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.3 days
Start the journey with one day in Napier where vineyards are as famous for their restaurants as they are for their wine.
Napier to Cape Kidnappers
In 1931 a devastating earthquake nearly levelled the city of Napier. It was rebuilt in the style of the times, and is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. To get in touch with the history of this region, visit the Earthquake Exhibition and Nga Tukemata (an exhibition which celebrates the Maori history of the East Coast) at the museum.
Napier – Cape Kidnappers
Driving time: 3 hrs 26 mins
The vineyards of Hawke’s Bay are all within easy reach of Napier. Another attraction is the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
Cape Kidnappers – Martinborough
Driving time: 3 hrs 26 mins
Make a wildlife stop at Mt Bruce on your way through the Wairarapa to Martinborough. Once again, wine is first on the list of local attractions – Pinot Noir is Martinborough’s specialty.
Every year in March, Masterton hosts the international Golden Shears competition. Sheep shearing in the Wairarapa is both a sport and an art form. The town’s main park has an aviary, aquarium, deer park and a small boating lake. On your way south you’ll drive through a number of small towns. Just before Masterton, the wildlife sanctuary at Mt Bruce is an essential stop.
Enjoy the clean, green Wairarapa scenery as you drive south. Carterton is a good place to shop for paua shell souvenirs, while Greytown has many beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and a quaint museum – take yourself on a self-guided walk. At Featherston, which has an interesting locomotive museum, you’ll turn left towards Martinborough.
In recent years, Martinborough has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island. It is home to over 25 boutique vineyards, several fabulous restaurants and a number of upmarket bed and breakfast establishments. From the charming town square, you can walk to most of the local attractions.
Martinborough - Wellington
Driving time: 1 hrs 7 mins
Finish your journey by immersing yourself in the coffee, cuisine and buzzing nightlife of Wellington.
The Rimutaka Ranges and Hutt Valley
After the town of Featherston, you’ll climb up and over the Rimutaka Range - great views in every direction. Once the mountains are behind you, it’s easy driving for the rest of your journey. You’ll wind through the picturesque Hutt Valley then a fast moving motorway will whisk you into the city.
Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.