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Plan your journey

Take it slow and savour every sip of the journey.

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Driving from north to south:

  • From Auckland follow the Thermal Explorer Highway or the Pacific Coast Highway to Napier, joining the Wine Trail in Hawke’s Bay.

Starting in the South Island:

  • From Christchurch jump on the scenic train trip known as the Coastal Pacific which links to Marlborough to begin the Wine Trail.
  • From Marlborough, a cruise through the Cook Straight or a 30 minute flight will take you to the Wellington where you can start your drive up State Highway 2. 

How many days

Elephant Hill Food

Four to six days is recommended so you can visit each region and only have to drive for around three hours a day. You could easily spend longer though -  if you don’t want to rush good food and wine try and give yourself a minimum of two days in each region.

When you’re travelling between regions, allow plenty of time for tastings, picnics and soaking up the scenery. Along this route traffic is generally light, and the roads and highways are high quality so driving is stress free.

Look for a sign

Starts Here signage

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is well sign-posted the entire journey. The brown grape signs start from Napier and are dotted along State Highway 2, through Tararua and Wairarapa to Wellington’s ferry terminals and airport. Once you’ve crossed Cook Strait and arrived on the South Island, the brown grape signs will be there to guide you to Marlborough.

Travelling between the North Island and South Island

Interislander Arahura hero image

Interislander ferries travel between the North and South Islands of New Zealand and the trip is one of the most spectacular cruises in the world. With 92 km of breathtaking views, the three-hour journey between Wellington and Picton really is one of New Zealand's most iconic tourism activities.

Taking a vehicle on the Interislander is as easy as parking in a building - simply drive on and drive off. Travel in style and upgrade to the Premium Plus lounges on-board which include free wifi, a hot meal, and beverages.

On two wheels

Bike Riding through the vineyard

How about experiencing the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail by bicycle? There's a variety of scenery, terrain and routes to suit all abilities. Bike hire is easy with plenty of options available, from self-guided cycling the vines to mountain biking in the capital or, for those seeking more adventure, riding the entire Wine Trail. 

Distances between key towns in the Wine Trail regions

Driving times beyond the Wine Trail

Download the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail Guide and take it with you.

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