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Art, culture and heritage itinerary

If you’re more culturally inclined, there’s plenty of art, history, theatre and heritage along the Wine Trail. Why not wash all that good wine down with some of the below cultural highlights.

Hawke’s Bay

Day 1

HB Waimarama Maori Tours
  • Enjoy an unforgettable Māori experience on a 15th century ancestral site. Share the culture, get to know the people and feel the power of the sacred native landscape.
  • Learn about the 1931 Napier earthquake which resulted in the outstanding Art Deco architecture in Napier by joining a walking, vintage car or bus tour.
  • Visit New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate Winery, established by the Marist Brothers in 1851.
  • Take a guided tour through the working winery and New Zealand's first wine museum at Church Road winery, before enjoying a wine tasting or sumptuous platter.
  • Take a tour through New Zealand's oldest prison and hear stories of the prison antics and ghosts.
  • Pick up a Hawke’s Bay Art Guide from the local i-SITE Visitor Centre and spend a morning, afternoon or full day visiting galleries, workshops and home studios.

Drive south through the Tararua district to the Wairarapa, an easy circuit through pastoral landscapes to outlying vineyard clusters and charming small villages.

Take a short detour to stop at the longest place name in the world and get your photo taken beside the sign - Te mata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunhahoro nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu.


Day 2

  • Explore Greytown with the most complete main street of original Victorian wooden architecture in the country. It is renowned as a boutique destination with stylish specialty shops and great cafes and restaurants.
  • The Māori legend of Maui tells of the South Island being Maui’s waka (canoe) from which he hooked ‘Te Ika a Maui’, the North Island. Drive to scenic Cape Palliser, the mouth of ‘Maui’s fish’ with a picnic. Walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles, discover the historic Palliser Lighthouse and call in at Lake Ferry.
  • Stonehenge Aotearoa, near Carterton, is an adaptation of the mysterious 4,000 year-old monument on England’s Salisbury Plains which has been especially designed for the Southern Hemisphere. Learn how people of all ancient cultures used the sun, moon and stars to devise calendars, work out the seasons for planting, hunting and navigate across oceans.

Allow ninety minutes for the drive to Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world. New Zealand’s compact capital city known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene and rich heritage. The seat of New Zealand’s national identity, it’s also home to parliament known as The Beehive.


Day 3

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RNZB WellingtonNZ lightened2
  • Catch the historic Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay to the Wellington Botanic Garden for great views and photos over the city. While you’re up there check out the Cable Car Museum and Space Place.
  • The Dowse in Lower Hutt showcases contemporary arts and design. Continue on and walk the Gallery Mile along Jackson Street in Petone, site of the first organised settlement in New Zealand.
  • PATAKA in Porirua is a museum and art gallery dedicated to contemporary Māori and Pacific Island art.
  • Wellington is also home of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, so dress up for a big night out.
  • A alternative option is to spend a half-day with Flat Earth New Zealand Experiences with local a Wellington artist on a Capital Arts Tour.

Take a 35 minute flight across or a three-hour scenic cruise through the Cook Strait to Marlborough.


Day 4

Marl 4
  • Cruise the Marlborough Sounds and visit Ship Cove (Captain Cook’s favourite New Zealand anchorage) and Motuara Island, where he claimed British Sovereignty for New Zealand.
  • Visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, which brings to life the heroes of World War One aviation with an unparalleled collection and dramatic lifelike scenes. The sets were created by world renowned Weta Workshop and Wingnut Films.
  • Spend a half day browsing the many art and craft galleries or visit artist’s studios. Collect a copy of the Art & Craft Trail map from the local i-SITE Visitor Centre for a self-guided experience.
  • Stop at Karaka Point, 10 minutes past Waikawa Bay, to learn about this historic Maori site.