Taste of the North Island

8 Day Inspiring Journey | Wellington to Auckland

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Taste of the North Island

8 Day Inspiring Journey | Wellington to Auckland

Taste of the North

8 Day Inspiring Journey | Wellington to Auckland | Travel Period: 1 Oct 2020 – 31 Mar 2021

Taste of the North

8 Day Inspiring Journey

Wellington to Auckland

Embark on an unforgettable culinary discovery through the North Island’s gourmet hotspots, connecting with passionate makers and producers and uncovering awe-inspiring natural wonders along the way. Enjoy private tastings and exclusive dining experiences at the renowned wine regions of Martinborough and Hawkes Bay, and discover for yourself the vibrant cities of Wellington and Napier. Cruise the tranquil waters of Lake Rotomanahana and hear the astonishing stories of the Mt Tarawera volcanic eruption.

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Taste the delectable cheeses of C’est Cheese Artisan Cheese and Deli in a private tasting. Soak up the stunning scenery as you enjoy wine tasting and dinner at Craggy Range.


Discover the geothermal activity, hot springs and volcanic craters of Rotorua. Cruise around the tranquil waters of Lake Rotomahana and discover Mt Tarawera. Become immersed in nature on the breathtaking Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua.


Meet the growers on an olive oil tasting and olive grove tour with an expert. Experience a cooking school style lunch like a local at the award-winning Union Square.


Unwind in the quaint Martinborough Hotel, a historic building dating back to 1882. Relax in luxurious comfort at Porters Boutique Hotel in Havelock.

Begin your epic journey through the North in the vibrant capital city of Wellington. While rich in natural beauty, Wellingtonians are fuelled by creative energy and the city is renowned for its world-leading café culture, great multicultural restaurants, contemporary art and live music. Allow your local destination expert to show you around on a guided walking tour as you discover the stunning waterfront of Wellington and hidden laneways in the bohemian area of the heritage Cuba St precinct. Once dimly lit back alleys, these newly rejuvenated laneways are now home to some of the country’s funkiest bars, boutiques and breweries. Experience a premium batch peanut butter tasting from an artisan supplier, taste the Capital’s very own chocolate and discover for yourself why Wellington is named the coffee and craft beer capital of New Zealand. This evening, join your Journey Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Dinner.

Hotel: Sofitel Wellington

Included Meals: Welcome Dinner

Today, continue tasting your way through the North Island. You will journey over the Remutaka Hill to Featherston where an incredible cheese tasting awaits at C’est Cheese Artisan Cheese and Deli, housed in the historic Anderson Building. Have your camera at the ready as our next stop is New Zealand’s most beautiful small town, Greytown, known for its great food, cute colonial cottages, historic trees and sophisticated shopping. Delight your senses with an afternoon at the picturesque Palliser Estate in Martinborough, where you will be treated to a private winery tour and tasting. Come together with your fellow travellers in the evening to enjoy a delicious dinner at the Union Square Bistro and Bar at the Martinborough Hotel, a modern New Zealand bistro with a tantalising French influence.

Hotel: The Martinborough Hotel, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, enjoy an exclusive tree to table experience with Olivo, a boutique, artisan olive oil producer, whose intent is to create innovative and top-quality oils that pair with excellent food and the good wines that Martinborough produces. Soak up your picturesque surrounds as you wander amongst the oldest olive trees in Martinborough, learning about the different olive varieties and what happens throughout the olive year. Finish up your private tour with up a tutored olive oil tasting with a local expert. Next we head to Union Square, one of Cuisine Magazine’s Top 100 NZ Restaurants in both 2018 and 2019, for an immersive cooking school style lunch with founders Adam and Nicola Newell. This afternoon is yours to relax or explore Martinborough. Perhaps choose to head across the town square to the Wine Bank, housing Martinborough’s most comprehensive range of local wine available to taste by the glass.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Continue your journey north today, travelling through the picturesque dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier in Hawkes Bay. This evening, feast at Craggy Range, one of the region’s most famous wineries. Enjoy an unforgettable dinner paired with wine, as you look out onto the magnificent backdrop of the area’s majestic countryside.

Hotel: Porters Boutique Hotel, Havelock North, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Hawkes Bay is renowned for its award-winning food and wine, outstanding architecture and magnificent landscapes waiting to be explored.  Today, enjoy your choice of two incredible sightseeing options. Starting in Napier, your self-guided cycle on the Ahuriri Estuary Trail to the Taradale Wineries takes you past fishing boats and old port warehouses as the trail meanders through this low-lying wetland area towards Taradale and onto the acclaimed Church Road Winery. For a more relaxed option, relive the glamour and style of the jazz era with a luxurious Vintage Car tour. Your driver will provide a fascinating commentary as you are driven in style through Art Deco Napier and surrounding areas.  You’ll learn about the earthquake that destroyed the city, hear stories of the people that led the rebuild, and discover the charm of Art Deco style. Meet your fellow travellers for a wine tasting and lunch at one of Hawkes Bay’s award-winning wineries, Church Road.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day before continuing the journey to Rotorua. This afternoon visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley where you will connect with the beating heart of the world’s youngest geothermal valley and hear stories of its unique history and legacy. Along the guided walk, have your camera ready as you get up close to fascinating geothermal activity, hot springs, volcanic craters, nature and wildlife. Next, enjoy a relaxing 45-minute cruise around the tranquil waters of Lake Rotomahana where you will see stunning geothermal activity only accessible by boat as well as rare native birdlife. Hear the astonishing stories of the Mt Tarawera volcanic eruption and the resulting dramatic landscape changes that created this amazing part of the world.

Hotel: Pullman Rotorua

Included Meals: Breakfast

Become immersed in nature this morning as you discover the 118-year-old giant redwood trees sitting in Whakarewarewa Forest, one of the oldest exotic forests in New Zealand.  Ascending to the breathtaking Redwoods Treewalk, enjoy a unique birds’ eye perspective of the forest below and treetops above.  This afternoon we travel through to Auckland.  Tonight, savour the tantalising flavours of the eight international, interactive kitchens with a Celebration Dinner at Eight Restaurant.

Hotel: The Cordis, Auckland

Included Meals: Breakfast, Celebration Dinner

Say farewell to your fellow travellers as your Journey through the North comes to an end and we transfer you to Auckland Airport for your onward flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Ideally positioned in the Central Business District and government hub, Sofitel Wellington is within walking distance from the major tourist attractions, with many restaurants and cafes nearby. The hotel provides great views of lush hillsides and the Botanical Gardens.


  • Wi-Fi
  • Air-conditioning
  • Gym facilities
  • Dry cleaning service
  • TV
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hair Dryer
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)

A beautiful old girl full of charm and quirks, The Martinborough Hotel offers boutique accommodation located on the doorstep to everything Martinborough and the South Wairarapa has to offer. Come and wander around our wine village, go tasting at award winning vineyards dine at commended local eateries, or discover the natural environment of the South Wairarapa. Whatever your desires, The Martinborough Hotel is the perfect location.

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Step into a world of luxury, comfort, and relaxation. Nestled in the heart of the charming Havelock North village and surrounded by the majestic hills of Hawke’s Bay, Porters Boutique Hotel offers unique luxury accommodation. Relax in elegantly appointed guest rooms, complete with plush, classic furnishings and adorned with original local artwork. Enjoy attentive luxury service and full amenities within a stylish, intimate space that reflects the beauty and grandeur of the breathtaking Hawke’s Bay region.


  • Wi-Fi
  • Air-conditioning
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • TV
  • Desk & chair
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Pullman Rotorua is expected to be popular with international and domestic business and leisure travellers, due to its exclusive 5-star offering and prime central CBD location and within 500metres from the Rotorua lakefront.

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The Cordis Auckland exudes a timeless elegance that celebrates the past, yet embraces the future. As a luxury Auckland hotel, we will enchant you with our tradition of graceful living.



  • LCD TV
  • Work Desk
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Shower Over Bath
  • Deluxe Marble Bathroom
  • In-room Movies (fee applies)
  • Manual temperature control
  • Blackout drapes/curtains
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • In-room safe
  • Room service
  • Business Facilities
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Satellite TV
  • Broadband Internet access
  • Phone
Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Find out more

  • Hand-picked accommodation, selected to immerse you in your destination
  • Most meals, including Local Dining Experiences. See Dining tab below
  • Complimentary refreshments throughout the journey
  • Travel by bespoke vehicle with reclining seats, WiFi and air-conditioning
  • A maximum of 22 guests to share your journey
  • Expert Driver Guide escort
  • All entrance and National Park fees
  • Sustainable Travel Kit, including refillable water bottle and backpack
  • Exclusive immersive activities and interaction with local communities
  • Built-in leisure time, to explore destinations as you wish
  • Airport transfers (see Flight Information below)

What to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • Warm layers in cooler months
  • Camera
  • A sense of adventure

Fitness Requirements

  • Low level of fitness required


  • 7 full buffet breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches
  • 1 Dinners with wine
  • 2 Local Dining Experiences
  • 1 Celebration Dinner

Flight Information

  • Day 1: Flights to arrive prior to 9am into Wellington Airport (Pre-night accommodation available at Sofitel Wellington)
  • Day 7: Flights to depart anytime from Auckland Airport