10 Day Wine Sun & Sand Irresistible Escape

Experience the best of the sunniest parts of New Zealand with this focused itinerary that can be customized to your time frame, interests, travel style and budget. We've curated a selection of our favorite destinations across both islands, showcasing enjoyable and memorable experiences with a focus on having fun with wine tasting, basking in the sun and relaxing at the beach!

 

 
DAY 1: GISBORNE

Accommmodation and destination: Matawhero Winery holds a special place in New Zealand's wine history. Founded in the 1960s it quickly gained recognition for producing exceptional wines that captured the unique character of Gisborne's terroir. Today, Matawhero continues this legacy, crafting award-winning wines that showcase the region's distinct flavors and aromas. Their commitment to quality and innovation has solidified their reputation as one of New Zealand's most respected wineries. Guests are invited to participate in a guided tour of the state-of-the-art winery, including the underground cellar, where traditional and modern winemaking practices converge. 

Conveniently located near Gisborne, Matawhero's cabins, nestled amongst the vineyards, are ideal for exploring the region's natural beauty and cultural attractions.  Each cabin features contemporary design and a private deck overlooking the vines, ensuring a tranquil stay.  Matawhero's unique blend of luxury and wine country ambiance promises a great experience.

Reef Ecology Tour: Dive into an extraordinary underwater adventure where you wade through shallow waters and interact with friendly stingrays in their natural habitat. The knowledgeable guides will share fascinating insights about these graceful creatures and the vibrant marine ecosystem they call home. Get ready for an unforgettable encounter with some of New Zealand's most captivating sea life!

 

 
DAY 2: GISBORNE

A surf lesson and a day at Wainui Beach: Begin your day with an exhilarating surf lesson led by friendly instructors who will guide you through paddling, popping up, and riding your first wave. As you gain confidence, transition to a guided surf session to practice your skills and catch the perfect wave. Of course if you already have the skills, Wainui is one of New Zealand’s best surf beaches and you’ll have a board and wetsuit to use for the entire day.  Afterwards, head to the sands of idyllic Wainui Beach, where you'll be treated to a gourmet picnic lunch.  Relax on the soft sand, soak in the sun, and admire the panoramic views of the sparkling Pacific ocean. 

Wine and beer tasting tour: Gisborne boasts a unique climate producing world-class wines, craft brews, ciders and ginger beer. Our curated tour will take you through two picturesque vineyards and two innovative breweries, where you'll taste award-winning Chardonnays, aromatic Gewürztraminers, and handcrafted ciders and ales. You'll meet passionate winemakers and brewers, learn about Gisborne's rich history and culture, and enjoy delectable local cuisine nicely paired with your tastings. 

 

 

 
DAY 3: BAY OF MANY COVES, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Accommodation and destination: From Picton, on a private boat shuttle, journey to the secluded paradise of Bay of Many Coves, a luxury resort nestled amidst the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Our scenic boat ride will wind through tranquil waterways, revealing outstanding views of lush native forests and the glistening waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound. As you arrive at the resort you'll be greeted at the dock by one of their very attentive staff, and in addition to the great service, you’ll notice its elegant charm and serene atmosphere. On offer are world-class amenities, including private suites with expansive bay views, exquisite dining, a rejuvenating spa, and a refreshing pool.  Each day will provide opportunities for exciting adventures, whether it's kayaking through the coves, boating to witness the wildlife in the area, hiking through the surrounding nature trails, or simply unwinding on the private beach. Your stay at Bay of Many Coves will be a wonderful escape from the ordinary, where relaxation and natural beauty blend seamlessly.

Cuisine: At the Bay of Many Coves you’ll experience a culinary journey showcasing the freshest seasonal ingredients from the Marlborough area. The talented chefs create exquisite dishes inspired by New Zealand's rich flavors, emphasizing locally sourced and sustainable produce. For an unforgettable fine dining experience, the Foredeck Restaurant offers a five-course degustation menu that changes daily, ensuring each visit is a unique adventure. The Kumatage Restaurant provides a more casual setting for breakfast, lunch or brunch, still highlighting the exquisite flavors of the region. The Quarterdeck, just off the water, is where guests can enjoy the best of the Marlborough Sounds in a relaxed setting, including capturing the last of the afternoon sun, while enjoying a beautiful glass of crisp Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  Whether you crave a delectable seafood feast or an exquisitely prepared brunch, or a casual happy hour glass of wine, the dining options offer a very memorable cuisine experience.

 

 
DAY 4: BAY OF MANY COVES, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Half Day Hike On the Queen Charlotte Track: This guided trek along the esteemed Queen Charlotte Track will show you the natural grandeur of the Marlborough Sounds. You can determine how far and long you’d like to hike based on where your boat shuttle drops you off.  On the hike you’ll traverse through verdant native forests and be captivated by panoramic vistas of the glistening turquoise waters, dotted with islands and hidden coves. Your expert guide will share insights into the region's rich Maori history and the fascinating stories of early European explorers.  The guide will also help you understand the diverse flora and fauna that flourish in this coastal region.  At the culmination of your rewarding journey, arrive at the renowned Furneaux Lodge. Here, on the lodge's inviting terrace, you can unwind and indulge in a well-deserved beverage, reflect on the beauty of the track, and raise a glass to toast the day's adventures.  The boat taxi will take you back directly to the dock at the Bay of Many Coves resort.

SUP, kayaking or swimming at the resort: After your hike, get refreshed by using a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or simply take a refreshing swim right in front of the resort. The calm waters of the bay provide the perfect setting to explore at your own pace. As you glide through the crystal-clear water, you'll be surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds. Keep an eye out for playful dolphins and seals, or simply relax and soak up the sun. It's an unforgettable way to connect with nature and create lasting memories of your time in Marlborough Sounds.

 

 

DAY 5: BAY OF MANY COVES, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

Eco-Tour Swim With the Dolphins and Visit Motuara Island: Embark on an extraordinary journey with E-Ko Tours as we set sail for the amazing Marlborough Sounds. Get ready for an unforgettable encounter as we cruise alongside playful dolphins in their natural habitat – with a bit of luck, you might even get the chance to swim with these majestic creatures. But the adventure doesn't stop there! We'll also dock at the picturesque Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary, a haven for rare native birds like the saddleback and kiwi. Explore the island's scenic trails, where each step reveals stunning views and opportunities to spot unique wildlife. This carefully curated ecotourism experience provides a truly immersive and intimate connection with New Zealand's natural environment, led by knowledgeable guides who will share their expertise and love for this extraordinary region.

Bay of Many Coves' Miritu Day Spa experience: The skilled therapists offer a range of treatments inspired by both indigenous Maori traditions and European techniques. Using locally-sourced botanicals and natural ingredients, you'll experience rejuvenation and tranquility amidst the stunning scenery of the Marlborough Sounds. Choose from soothing massages, revitalizing facials, or pampering body wraps – all designed to enhance your well-being and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

 

 
DAY 6: BLENHIEM

Accommodation and destination: Your hotel is a haven of refined luxury nestled in the heart of Marlborough's world-renowned wine country. Once a historic convent, this beautifully restored estate seamlessly blends old-world charm with contemporary elegance. Each of the ten unique rooms offers a sanctuary of style and comfort, featuring private ensuites, plush linens, and views of the surrounding vineyards or meticulously manicured gardens.  You’ll quickly learn to love the farm-to-table cuisine at this award-winning establishment, along with sampling the local wines in the cozy tasting room, and exploring the estate's many enchanting nooks and crannies. Take a refreshing dip in the heated outdoor pool, challenge your companions to a friendly game of tennis on the private court, or simply lose yourself in a captivating novel while relaxing in the tranquil gardens.  The service is exceptional and your every need is anticipated, ensuring a very memorable stay.   

Guided garden and vineyard tour: Led by the knowledgeable estate manager, you'll explore 16 acres of sprawling beauty, from vibrant gardens growing over 400 varieties of trees and shrubs to flourishing vineyards creating the award-winning wines. Wander along the spring-fed creek, a haven for local birdlife, before learning about the world of viticulture and about the grapes that make the region’s Merlot, Malbec, Riesling, and of course, the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc (which you can taste in the Harvest restaurant). It's a great tour to understand the incredible productivity of this sunny and rich growing environment. 

 

 
DAY 7: BLENHEIM

Scenic airplane flight over the Marlborough Sounds: This is a wonderful way to see the region from above and capture an aerial view of this exquisite natural landscape. You'll witness the dramatic contrast between lush native forests and tranquil bays, the intricate network of waterways meandering through hidden coves, and the stunning interplay of vibrant blues and greens that define this region. From the comfort of the aircraft, you'll gain a unique perspective of the Sounds' secluded islands, picturesque beaches, and the harmonious blend of land and sea. 

Half-day wine tour: in this private tour you’ll have the opportunity to visit four or five handpicked wineries and taste a variety of exquisite wines.  Blenheim is known for its world-class vineyards and is considered one of the top wine regions in the country.  You’ll have the chance to explore some of the best wineries in the area, each offering a unique selection of wines to sample. From the crisp Sauvignon Blancs to the elegant Pinot Noirs, you’ll be able to taste the diverse flavors and learn about the history and terroir of this exceptional grape growing region.  With round-trip transport from your hotel and a small-group setting, this tour provides a personalized and immersive experience of Marlborough’s wine culture.

 

 
DAY 8: KAITERITERI

Accommodation and destination: Your lodge is an exquisite sanctuary a stone's throw away from the Abel Tasman National Park. It's really an architectural marvel, seamlessly blending modern design with the surrounding landscape. Each room is a private oasis, featuring elegant furnishings and ocean views. But this location is more than just a place to stay – it's a transformative experience. It offers a unique blend of opulence and well-being where you'll be surrounded by stunning natural beauty.  You'll enjoy gourmet meals crafted from locally sourced ingredients, rejuvenating spa treatments, and a range of activities designed to nurture both body and mind. It's a place where you can truly unwind and reconnect with nature.

Swimming and sunning on a secluded Tasman Bay beach: Take a leisurely walk along a private path through lush greenery and you’ll end up on the pristine shores of Tasman Bay. The golden sands and gentle waves offer a serene setting for swimming, sunbathing, or simply unwinding amidst the natural beauty.  Make sure you discover the Split Apple Rock just off the coast, which the retreat was named after. 

An outdoor massage: Relax on a comfortable massage table with the warmth of the New Zealand sun enveloping you as a gentle breeze carries the delicate scent of native flora.  The therapists’ skilled hands expertly knead away tension as the sounds of nature create a soothing soundtrack for your experience. This massage is a holistic journey, designed to foster relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the tranquil beauty of Tasman Bay.  

 

 
DAY 9: KAITERITERI

Half Day Abel Tasman National Park hike: Your expert guide, an experienced naturalist, will lead you on a captivating journey through this coastal sanctuary, sharing their wealth of knowledge on the region's unique natural history. The leisurely hike along well-maintained paths first meanders through verdant forests, where you'll encounter endemic flora such as the dense Kānuka and the elegant nikau palm. Learn about their crucial role in maintaining the delicate ecosystem and the traditional uses of these botanical treasures by Māori. As the trail unfolds, pristine golden beaches and shimmering turquoise waters emerge, creating an idyllic setting for relaxation and contemplation. The air is alive with native birdsong – the melodious calls of the tūi, the bellbird's chime, and perhaps even the haunting cry of the kākā. Your guide will also reveal the geological history behind the intriguing formations, such as the layered cliffs and volcanic rock, showcasing how they've sculpted this breathtaking landscape over millennia.

An afternoon at the luxury Split Apple Spa: Elevate your well-being at this tranquil haven overlooking Abel Tasman National Park and Tasman Bay. The spa offers an array of restorative amenities designed to nurture holistic wellness. Rejuvenate in the serene Japanese spa, find solace in the saltwater infinity pool, or unwind in the warmth of the FAR-infrared sauna and purifying steam room. Discover inner balance in the yoga pavilion or engage in quiet reflection in the meditation theater. Each meticulously designed space invites you to disconnect from the demands of daily life, reconnect with your inner self, and foster a deep sense of peace and renewal.

DAY 10: KAITERITERI

Private sailing adventure along the Tasman Bay coastline: As you set sail on the spacious catamaran, the sun-kissed scenery will unfold before your eyes, revealing golden beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush green forests. The tour will anchor in a secluded cove where you can take a refreshing dip or simply relax on deck with a cold beverage.  Lunch will be a gourmet picnic meal prepared by the hotel, made to order, with a selection of local wine and beers to choose from. Throughout the day, your knowledgeable crew will share interesting insights about the area's culture, wildlife, and natural history. This will be a very memorable day to cap off your amazing ‘10-day escape.’

Final special chef prepared dinner and wine tasting to end your trip: For the last dinner of the trip you’ll gather to celebrate the culmination of your shared adventure. Split Apple Retreat has prepared a special farewell feast designed to showcase the very best of New Zealand's culinary landscape. Each dish is a testament to the chefs' passion for fresh, local ingredients and their commitment to culinary innovation. As you dine on this amazing meal, you'll be treated to a curated wine pairing, highlighting some of the region's most celebrated vintages, each chosen to elevate the flavors of your meal. The evening will culminate in a shared toast with fine champagne, a sparkling send-off to commemorate the camaraderie and memories you've created on this extraordinary journey.

You will be refreshed and thoroughly excited about this trip…let's make it uniquely yours