The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is a deliciously indulgent New Zealand road trip! New Zealand is world-famous for its award-winning wine and wineries. And there’s no better way to explore the trail than to rent a travel van and plan a New Zealand campervan holiday. Take your time, stop whenever you like and enjoy all the great things to do in New Zealand along the way. With all your home comforts on board, you don’t have to worry about finding accommodation or stressing about checking in and out. And there are plenty of fantastic campgrounds to stay at along the way.
On this trail, you’ll travel through three of the country’s major wine-growing regions: Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, and Marlborough. You’ll also be stopping in Wellington where you can indulge yourself in the food and wine scene with some of the best drops from around the country.
The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail starts in Hawke’s Bay in the North Island and finishes in Marlborough, in the South Island. However, we recommend extending the trip to explore the Otago region in the South Island – home to the best pinot noir around.
We’ve planned out the trail over a fantastic seven-day road trip that includes some of the best things to do in New Zealand along the way. Let’s dive in!
Best Time of the Year
October - March
- Hawkes Bay
- That Wanaka Tree
- Gibbston Valley
Auckland to Hawkes Bay
Distance 441km - Driving Time 5 hours 51 minutes
Kick off your unforgettable winery tour by picking up your motorhome at maui’s Auckland branch in Manu Tapu Drive at Auckland Airport. The friendly team at maui will show you through your campervan and make sure you’re ready for the road!
Next, it’s on to New Zealand’s oldest wine region, Hawke’s Bay. Sunny Hawke’s Bay enjoys a Mediterranean climate and is well known for its stunning reds and chardonnay. While you’re there, be sure to check out some of the Art Deco architecture in Napier. And if you’re keen on a hike, head to Te Mata Peak where you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of Hawke’s Bay.
Recommended Hawke’s Bay wineries to visit include:
Park up your campervan for the night at Hawke’s Bay Holiday Park.
Hawkes Bay to Martinborough
Distance 272km - Driving Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Next up is the Wairarapa wine region, where charming historic towns offer a tempting mix of shopping and dining experiences. Stroll around the wineries in Martinborough and throughout the region to discover artisan chocolate, gourmet mushrooms, olives, cider, French pastries, and other goodies. Explore the boutique shops of beautifully presented Victorian Greytown. This characterful town is home to some fantastic boutique shopping. While you’re there check out the Urban Winery.
Pro tip 1: For the best experience of the region’s great wine and food, plan your visit to be at the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival. The event is motorhome friendly too – but remember to register early.
Pro tip 2: Hire bikes to get around the wineries. This is one of the best ways to experience the wineries in Martinborough.
Recommended Martinborough wineries to visit include:
Plan a relaxing stay at Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park.
Martinborough to Wellington
Distance 82km - Driving Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Before you leave the North Island, reserve some time to explore New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. This gorgeous harbour city is brimming with history, creative energy, and culture.
Enjoy a visit to The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, catch a live theatre performance, and discover tasty restaurant precincts. Iconic expeditions include a ride on the cable car, strolling around Oriental Bay and walking up Mount Victoria Lookout.
Wellington has some fantastic wine experiences too. Here are a few worth adding to your road trip itinerary planner:
- Enjoy a food and wine dining experience at Logan Brown.
- Try one of Garage Project’s ‘wild wines’.
- Check out the impressive wine list at Noble Rot.
- Visit Puffin Wine Bar for a glass of organic wine
Park up your campervan for the night at Wellington TOP 10 Holiday Park.
Wellington to Marlborough
Distance 126km - Driving Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Today, you’ll travel from the North Island to the South! Drive your campervan aboard the Interislander Ferry and head across the Cook Strait to the picturesque Marlborough Sounds.
There are more than 50 wineries to visit around Marlborough; many offer the additional pleasure of a vineyard restaurant. Other attractions include a ground-breaking aircraft museum, riverboat cruising, fishing trips and all kinds of artisan food producers.
One of the best things to do while you’re in Marlborough is a walk along the scenic Queen Charlotte Track. The 72 km track can be tackled in its entirety as a multi-day hike, or you can walk a smaller section. Whichever option you choose, you’re guaranteed to enjoy incredible views along the way.
If possible, plan your road trip to be in the region for the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival. The festival is world-famous for its fabulous selection of Marlborough wines, delicious cuisine, and relaxed atmosphere.
Recommended Marlborough wineries to visit include:
Enjoy an overnight stay a: Spring Creek Holiday Park.
Marlborough to North Canterbury
Distance 260km - Driving Time 3 hours 20 minutes
North Canterbury is another New Zealand region brimming with award-winning wineries. Base yourself centrally in Hurunui then sample the excellent offerings across the North Canterbury region.
There’s plenty to see and do while you’re in the area too.
- Head to Kaikoura and take a whale-watching tour.
- Soak away your aches and pains at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.
- Spend a day exploring Christchurch.
- Discover a little bit of France in Akaroa.
- Plan your trip to see some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery as you travel from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass on the TranzAlpine Train. This awe-inspiring journey is rated as one of the best things to do in New Zealand!
Recommended wineries to visit in North Canterbury include:
Enjoy a stay at Leithfield Beach Holiday Park.
North Canterbury to Wānaka
Distance 478km - Driving Time 5 hours 55 minutes
Located in Central Otago, Wānaka is home to some of the best wineries in New Zealand. We recommend you try the famous Central Otago pinot noir.
Wānaka is also a great spot to explore on a New Zealand campervan holiday! The township sits at the southern end of its namesake lake and is surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most incredible scenery. Make the most of your stay here by exploring some of the nearby walks and trails, enjoying the great eateries, and head out on the lake on a cruise or jet boat ride. Don’t forget to snap a picture of That Wanaka Tree for your Instagram feed!
Recommended wineries to visit include:
Enjoy the excellent campground facilities at Wanaka TOP 10 Holiday Park.
Wānaka to Queenstown
Distance 113km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 minutes
The last up on your winery tour is Queenstown. Also located in Central Otago, you can continue your hunt for the best glass of pinot noir. Sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of fine wine, set against some of the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand.
Queenstown enjoys a well-earned reputation as the adventure capital of the world! So if you’re in the mood for jet boating, Bungy jumping, winter skiing or mountain biking, Queenstown is the ultimate place to do it!
Recommended wineries to visit in Queenstown include:
Now that your incredible seven-day New Zealand road trip of classic wineries is done, head to maui’s Queenstown branch to drop off your campervan.
Ready to explore New Zealand’s world-famous wine regions?
What an incredible seven days! From the chardonnays of Hawke’s Bay to the pinots of Queenstown, the Classic Wine Trail is all about fantastic wine, great food, and fun activities.
With your maui campervan hire, you can enjoy it all at your own pace. And if you like a particular region and want to explore it more, then you’ve got the freedom and flexibility to adjust your road trip itinerary planner to suit.
To help make your trip the best it can be, we suggest downloading the thl Roadtrip app. This handy app is loaded with useful tips for preparing for your campervan trip, as well as handy how-to video guides, navigation tools, and 24/7 phone support.
Take the next step toward your ultimate seven-day winery tour and book your maui campervan online now.
With branches in Auckland, Queenstown, and Christchurch you can pick up your campervan at one branch and drop it off at another. So easy!
For extra ideas to help plan a New Zealand road trip by campervan, check out more of our helpful blogs: