We’re doing something different – and distinctive – for our New Zealand tour next October. Rather than a generic tour that you’ve either done before, or could do anytime on your own, it will be a ‘high end’ epicurean tour with a primary focus on dining and drinking, including a number of special experiences not normally available to travelers.
It is based around what is probably New Zealand’s best food and wine festival; a ten-day (two weekends and one week) extravaganza of more than 60 special events and workshops, spread around Napier, Hastings, and other towns in the Hawke’s Bay region.
Our tour has a main program, plus optional pre and post tour extensions. We don’t have full details and exact costing yet, so this note today is primarily to give you a quick ‘heads-up’ and to allow you to keep the dates free on your 2014 travel calendar if it sounds like something you’d like to do.
The main tour would have you flying to New Zealand on or before Saturday 25 October, spending nine nights in NZ’s North Island (including four in Hawke’s Bay and one in little known Gisborne, another key but obscured center of the NZ wine industry) and then flying home on or after Wednesday 5 November.
The main tour includes my birthday, and I’ve a special surprise celebration provided for everyone on that evening.
The pre-tour takes you down to the Queenstown region of the South Island for three nights, plus adds a night in Christchurch and Auckland. This will give you a chance to experience some of NZ’s finest sightseeing and tourist type activities, ranging from cruising on magnificent Milford Sound to jetboating the Shotover River, from visiting sheep stations to enjoying luging track and gondola rides.
You’d leave for NZ on or before Monday 20 October for the pre-tour extension.
The post-tour takes you to Marlborough – New Zealand’s largest wine growing region – in the South Island for two nights, then back up to Hawke’s Bay for three nights to experience the second weekend of the Food and Wine Festival, before flying home on or after Monday 10 November.
That way you would experience both the key parts of the festival – the opening night and first weekend, and then the final weekend too.
New Zealand has become one of the very best ‘new world’ wine producers, and this tour will include special visits to some of New Zealand’s best wineries, featuring high level discussions with senior winery staff about what makes their wines special, and a chance to sample a selection of their best private reserve wines, rather than generic tours and sampling generic wines.
For those of you who will likely decide to buy more than one or two bottles of wine to take back, we will be providing assistance for shipping larger quantities of wine back to the US.
In addition to the opportunities to enjoy award-winning world-class wines of the highest standard, participants will be offered the flexibility of choosing from a number of different dining experiences at some of New Zealand’s best restaurants, featuring the high quality fresh foods that NZ has become justifiably famous for.
Accommodation will generally be of matching high to highest quality, rounding out your NZ experience with a consistent level of excellence.
So as to ensure the best possible experience, the tour is being limited in size, but although a small-sized group, all ground travel will be by full size deluxe motor coach with restroom on board. Travel Insider David Rowell – himself a New Zealander – will personally escort the tour.
Pricing is not yet confirmed, but we have a projected price in the low three thousands per person for the main tour, not including air travel to Auckland at the start of the tour and from Wellington at the end of the tour. The pre and post tour options will each be slightly over $1000 each, with some additional air costs as well.
(Images courtesy of the New Zealand Wine website. Well worth a browse.)