Surrounding the sun soaked, laid back metropolis that is Auckland, are four of the world's most famous wine producing regions. Matakana, Kumeu, Celvedon Hills and Waiheke Island are the source of much of the world's most celebrated wine. For lovers of the grape, or for those with a curious spirit, a trip to these regions is a must. Here's a few tips on the best tours around the vineyards of Auckland.
Waiheke Island Wine Tours
This tour company operates 365 days a year, transferring its guests by ferry from Auckland to three of the sparkling vineyards of Waiheke Island. As well as finding out about the wine making process and, of course, sampling a few vintages, it is also a great way to learn about the local history, with tales of both the Maori and European cultural past on the island.
The Matakana Coastal Getaway Tour
North of Auckland is the gorgeous Matakana wine region, one of the most scenic of all New Zealand's wine producing areas. This tour offers you a trip that takes you through the resort towns of Orewa and Waiwere Mineral Springs before stopping off at Puhoi to taste some of its famous blue cheese. Then, it's on to Ransom Wines for a few samples, before launching at the lovely Plume Vineyard Restaurant. Next, it's Warkworth town for some of the locally made ice cream and chocolate, before heading off for another tasting session in either Omaha Bay wines or Mahurangi River Wines. What a day out for the wine connoisseur!
This tour takes you by minibus to at least three of the most famous vineyards on Waiheke Island. Like all the best wine tours, it is about much more than just wine, with a guide filling you in on everything you need to know about the rolling scenery as you drive through. On the way, you will visit olive oil producers, some of New Zealand's most famous art galleries and the extraordinary, unspoilt beaches. Of course, there's plenty of wine and food too!
Great Taste Tours
Great Taste Tours are one of the best options for seeing the vineyards of Kumeu. On this tour, you will take in the Soljans vineyard, the Matua Valley vineyard and the West Brook Winery, all of which are famous across New Zealand. Along the way, you will also see gannet nesting sites and the view from the cliff above the Tasman sea, plus enjoy a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch in an award winning restaurant.