Tailor-Made Holiday

New Zealand Winter Touring - with Gastronomy

Winter Foodie Festivals of New Zealand

19 days

from £2,295pp (excluding flights)

Winter in New Zealand is crisp as a Braeburn apple and hits the spot like a Sauvignon Blanc. If you love food and wine then there is no better time to visit than when the vineyards are picking late harvest grapes, the highways are void of traffic, the world class food and wine festival season is in full swing and the lodges offer Steppes clients exclusive special rates.

  • Visit the renowned wine regions of Martinborough and Hawkes Bay
  • Hawke's Bay is also known for its artisan gourmet foods and glorious beaches
  • Abel Tasman can be easily explored by sea Kayak, on foot or by boat.
  • Incorporate the world class food and wine festivals which are in full swing

This is a self-drive holiday in essence. On arrival in Auckland you will be driven to your accommodation located on the Harbour. Once rested from the international flight, time to hit the road. Collect your car and travel to the North Island highlights of the Maori stronghold of Rotorua and World Class wine regions of Hawkes Bay and Martinborough. A Gourmet Wine Tour to the boutique vineyards in this region is a must.

The inter-island ferry connect the North to the South. Nelson, on the northern tip, is a creative sunny city with local art and emerging culinary talent. If your visit does not coincide with the Nelson Festival, July, do not miss the Nelson Market on Saturdays in Montgomery Square is an iconic experience.

The magical west coastal Punakaiki with pancake rocks and blowholes has dramatic scenery. The awe inspiring glacier scenery found at Franz Josef on this coastline is a spectacular World Heritage Area. If time allows we recommend a Glacier Heli Hike - a scenic flight high up on the glacier and then a two hour hike through brilliantly blue ice.

If Queenstown can possibly be any more electric, the buzz of the Winter Festival in June arrives with blue skies white slopes and spectacular views.

To experience at least one winter festival, ensure you travel to New Zealand between June and September. The events calendar is in full swing. Incorporate Hawkes Bay Food and Wine Classic (June), Nelson Winter Festival(July), Wellington on a Plate (August), and the Queenstown Festival (June) during your visit.

Handpicked accommodation ranging from urban contemporary bolt holes in Auckland, unearthed gems of luxury boutique bed and breakfasts with personalised touches, original country house retreats and luxury lodges.


For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2295 £ 1100
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Singapore overnight

Day 2

Fly Singapore to Auckland overnight

Day 3

Transfer by private vehicle from Auckland Airport to hotel

You will be staying at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Car Hire

Rotorua sits right in the centre of the world's most volcanically active region and this is highly evident through the smell of sulphur. No visit to Rotorua would be complete without visiting one of the many geothermal parks. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is around 30 minutes from Rotorua and here a network of paths will take you past bubbling pools, sulphur ponds, geysers and waterfalls. For a more relaxing thermal experience, you can't go past the Polynesian Spa, either soak in their mineral pools or experience a unique 'mud massage'. White Island sits around 40 kilometres off the Bay of Plenty coast and is still one the most active volcanoes in the world. Volcanic Air Safaris offer scenic flights to the island and the opportunity to land and explore the original sulphur mines. They also offer scenic flights over Mt. Tarawera and float plane flights to Orakei Korako Hidden Valley. Rotorua is also the heartland of Maori culture in New Zealand and Mitai Maori Village lets you experience the stories, singing and traditional Maori kai (food) cooked in a hangi. For a deeper understanding of Maori arts and crafts, visit Te Puia the premier Maori Arts and Cultural centre. As well as the lake which is teeming with trout for the anglers amongst you, there are opportunities to get up close to our national animal the sheep at Agrodome and the kiwi at Rainbow Springs. For those looking to enjoy some of the adrenalin packed adventures New Zealand is renowned for you'll be pleased to know Rotorua rivals Queenstown for adventure, so whether you are zorbing, rafting or flying through the forest canopy you'll have a blast.

Pick up the hire car for 16 day hire from downtown Auckland

Choice of activities and excursions
Time to yourself to explore:
- Visit Te Whakarewarewa, Rotorua’s best known and largest thermal reserve.
- Experience a Maori cultural show or enjoy a hangi (traditional Maori meal cooked under ground).
- Indulge in the warm thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa. A bathhouse opened here in 1886, the waters are said to have health-giving properties.
- For something more active, try Zorbing, another Kiwi innovation which involves rolling down a hill strapped inside an inflatable sphere.
- Enjoy some trout fishing in one of the nearby lakes.

You will be staying at Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Drive from Rotorua to Napier (Road Journey)

With is mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. A trip to Mission Estate, touted as the the birthplace of NZ wine, can't be missed. For the truly enthused, head out on a tour of the vines. We recommend the Grape Escape to make the most of what's on offer. Those into Gatsby will enjoy the chance to view prominent Art Deco landmarks on a 1930s Vintage Car Tour. Passengers will spend just over an hour learning about the history of the city's architecture - including the Napier Municipal Theatre, one of the top ten Art Deco Buildings in the world. If you're after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to one of the many beaches that ring the area. Ocean or Waimarama beach are good choices, and both are patrolled by surf lifeguards during the summer. Indulge in some local produce and head out on a cheese, chocolate, honey or orchard tour. Climb on the apple wagon at Pernell Orchard for a hour long ride through its 33 hectares of fruit or Tempt your taste buds with a trip to the Silky Oak Chocolate Company. End on a high with another ride, this time in comfortable trailer pulled by a tractor en-route to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony - the largest of its kind in the world.

Today drive between Rotorua and Napier stopping enroute for sightseeing

Whilst at McHardy Lodge pre dinner canapes and a glass of wine or beer will be served nightly

You will be staying at McHardy Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Choice of activities and excursions
With is mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. For the truly enthused, ride along on a Grape Escape winery tour to make the most of the local yield. Those into architecture can hop aboard a 1930’s car and take in the city’s prominent Art Deco landmarks. Hire a bike and cycle the trails or grab your sunscreen and head down to one of the golden sandy beaches that form the larger Hawke's Bay. Try a diverse range of produce and take an orchard, cheese, honey, or chocolate tour. End on a high with a tractor ride to view the largest mainland gannet colony in the world, located at Cape Kidnappers.
Time to yourself to explore:
- Take a walk through the streets admiring the original beautiful art deco buildings built after the earthquake in 1931 (a guide can be arranged if need)
- Stroll down the elegant tree-lined Marine Parade next to the Pacific Ocean. Along its length are parks, gardens, outdoor swimming pool and aquarium.
- From November to March you can travel to Cape Kidnappers to see the gannet colonies that come here to nest.

Hawkes Bay Food and Wine Classic
F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic is a series of one off, out of the box food and wine events set in stunning locations throughout Hawke’s Bay each year. F.A.W.C! is for folk who seriously love to eat, can often be seen with mucky chins, stained napkins and licking fingers after a meal.

There is a winter series, hosted in June, offering a chance to get up close and personal with chefs, food producers, winemakers and all the other clever people that make up New Zealand’s food and wine scene, celebrating the seasonal goodness winter brings.

Hunker down in cosy locations with roaring fires, musical notes and endless lashings of local lamb, venison and sumptuous earthy produce prepared in a multitude of warming ways. Glasses of rich, full bodied Hawke's Bay Reds will be flowing as the region's food and wine heroes strut their stuff at 45 delicious events.

You will be staying at McHardy Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Full Day Winery Tour by Bicycle
Have the opportunity to spend a day tasting some of Hawkes Bay's finest wines and food, whilst also admiring the picturesque scenery of this wine-growing region. The area's flat terrain makes for easy cycling, passing through vineyards, olive groves, farmland and orchards.

Cycle all day or pause to relax after only a few hours; various routes are possible, with the longest around 20 kilometres in length. A map is provided and up to nine wineries can be visited during the day.

You will be staying at McHardy Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Drive from Napier to Martinborough (Road Journey)

Today drive between Napier and Martinborough

You will be staying at Aylestone Boutique Resort, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

This luxury Martinborough food and wine tour is exclusively run for two or four guests only. Explore the historic township of Greytown and the celebrated Martinborough wine region, particularly revered for its award winning pinot noir production. Hosted by an expert, this is a highly personalised experience. Meet people behind the scenes of premium wine brands and artisan food producers, tasting your way through the region. Savour a delicious light three course lunch with dishes paired with the finest Martinborough wines.

You will be staying at Aylestone Boutique Resort, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Time at leisure

Wellington on a Plate
Visit Wellington on a Plate, an annual festival held in the city every August. There are over 100 events, celebrating all things food and beverage. From future chefs to historical eats, pop- ups to wine bars and foraging to feasting, the festival has something to whet all appetites. Join the Wellington region's eateries who are each offering special set menus showcasing local ingredients and beverages.

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

You will be staying at Aylestone Boutique Resort, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Drive from Martinborough to Wellington (Road Journey)

Today drive between Martinborough and Wellington. Drop the hire vehicle at the Wellington depot

Interislander Ferry
A foot passenger ferry, the Interislander take you on a beautiful three hour journey to Picton through the Marlborough Sounds. The Interislander links North and South Islands. The 92 kilometre journey between Picton and Wellinton has been described as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world.

The Premium Plus service provides access to a premium passenger lounge onboard the Kaitaki and Aratere ferries - adult only and complimentary refreshments are available.

Travel from Wellington to Picton (Boat Journey)

Car Hire

You will be staying at Warwick House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Explore Nelson or venture to Abel Tasman National Park
You’ll have the option to journey to the top of the South Island and enjoy a relaxing cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park or perhaps take a short bush walk, relax in sunny Nelson or explore the many arts and craft shops. Take an open day pass that allows flexible walking time between Kaiteriteri and the Abel Tasman coastline.

Swim at Bark Bay, hike on to Medlands Beach and visit the Tonga Seal Sanctuary

You will be staying at Warwick House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Time at leisure

Nelson Winter Music Festival
The Nelson Winter Music Festival, held every year in July. Nelson's known for its creativity, and this is not just confined to the arts.

You will be staying at Warwick House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 14

Drive from Nelson to (Road Journey)

Drive from Nelson to Punakaiki (Road Journey)

Explore Punakaiki Rocks
Punakaiki is most famous for the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Visitors are often less aware of the great many other experiences available. Located in the heart of the Paparoa National Park, the area offers guided beach, forest and mountain walks, canoeing, wildlife, horse trekking, surfing, caving and climbing, heritage sites. There are taverns, cafés and restaurants, and a great range of accommodation. The area also boasts a vibrant arts and crafts community and a cooperative gallery.

Exploring the famous pancake rocks is best at high tide with the incoming ocean waves sending sea water up the blow holes to create spectacular plumes.

You will be staying at Punakaiki Resort, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Drive from Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier (Road Journey)

Today drive bewteen Punakaiki and Franz Josef

Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier.Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.

You will be staying at Westwood Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 16

A journey time of approximately four hours

Today drive between Franz Josef and Queenstown

You will be staying at Queenstown House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 17

Choice of activities and excursions
Time to yourself to soak up the scenery and explore:
- Take a trip up the Skyline Gondola to enjoy the views over the lake or ride the luge at the top.
- Enjoy a jet boat trip, this can be a scenic trip through the Mount Aspiring National park or adrenaline packed one up and down the Shotover River.
- White water rafting or river surfing down the Kawarau or shotover rivers.
- Enjoy some fantastic trekking in the surrounding mountains and National Parks.
- For a more leisurely adventure, enjoy a trip on the vintage steamship the TSS Earnslaw.
- During winter months (July-October) enjoy some fantastic skiing or snowboarding.

Queenstown Winter Festival
Queenstown Winterfestival is an annual celebration in June, heralding the beginning of winter. Way back in 1975 a bunch of locals decided that the start of winter was a great excuse to have a party. They organised races on the mountain and in town, lollies for the kids, beers for the grown-ups, a concert or two and a town-wide ball, all of which made the Festival a great success. News spread quickly and the next year people came from further afield to join the festivities. Since then the Festival has evolved into New Zealand's - and perhaps the southern Hemisphere's - biggest celebration of winter. It's a ten day extravanganza of Queenstown's unique culture and community with street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, comedy, family fun, and plenty of Mountain Mayhem. The town will be a-buzz with around 45,000 people celebrating the arrival of winter in true Queenstown style.

You will be staying at Queenstown House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 18

Afternoon Boutique Wine Tour
Departing at midday, the Boutique Wine Tour ventures through the rugged Kawarau gorge to visit four of the region's finest boutique vineyards in the Bannockburn and the Gibstone Valley sub regions. Lunch is provided at the Carrick winery overlooking Lake Dunstan.

You will be staying at Queenstown House, Bed & Breakfast

Day 19

Fly Queenstown to Christchurch

Fly Christchurch to Singapore

Fly Singapore to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Queenstown House

Queenstown House

The Queenstown House is an established boutique hotel walking distance to downtown and the waters edge of Lake Wakatipu....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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Amy Waters, Travel Expert

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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