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6 BEST Wine Tours in Napier +My Personal Review

6 BEST Wine Tours in Napier +My Personal Review

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The coastal city of Napier is one of the most beautiful areas of New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay region. The city overlooks the expansive bay and rolling hills, offering a stunning and unique landscape that is known for producing some of the best wines in the country.

If you’re looking for a great way to spend your day, booking a wine tour is my pick! With a reputation for some of the best-tasting wines in the region and some of the oldest vineyards in the country, Napier is one of my favorite places to enjoy a wine tour.

There are many different wine tours to choose from depending on whether wine is your sole focus, or if you’d like to enjoy beer, ciders, distilleries, and the stunning scenery in the area. You really can’t go wrong here! Napier is also a popular cruise ship port, so many of the tours on our list act as a great day trip option for your cruise.

With so many tour options available, I’ve narrowed it down to the 6 best wine tours in Napier so you can experience it for yourself!

What are the best wine tours in Napier?

Bailey out the front of Mission Estate Winery in Napier
Ready to try some wine?
Bailey drinks wine in Napier
Looks like I beat you to it!

Half-Day Small-Group Hawkes Bay Wine Tour

This afternoon tour will spend about 4-5 hours visiting the best wineries in Hawke’s Bay. Along with tasting a variety of wines (yes please!), there are plenty of opportunities to take photos. I know my camera memory card was filling up after this one! The highlight is ending the day with stunning ocean views at the beautiful Te Mata Peak … with a glass of wine in hand of course.

1970 Retro Kombi Van Wine Tour

This wine tour in a restored Kombi Van is a unique and fun way to visit the best wineries in Napier! This half-day tour takes you to 3-4 wineries cruising in style in a retro 1970s Kombi Van. It seats up to six people, so bring a few friends along like I did!

Napier Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour

I recommend this half-day tour for anyone wanting to mix in some delicious gin on a wine tour. It’s a wine and gin-tasting experience with winery tours led by experts as you wander through a couple of vineyards as well as a gin distillery!

Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting

If you’ve only got half a day to take in all the beauty of Napier and want to include a wine tasting in that, this sightseeing and wine-tasting tour is the perfect combo! It’s a private tour as well which I love so you get the best sights of Napier and a delicious wine tasting.  

Napier Gourmet Luncheon plus Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour

One of the longest tours on our list, this tasting tour spans 5.5 hours and includes a gourmet meal! It includes popping into a few different wineries and a local gin distillery in a historic building. This is one of those tours that lets you take your time touring through the vineyards, which is great because I hate being rushed through such beautiful spots. It also offers food throughout the day including a delicious chef’s platter at Mission Estate Winery. 

Napier Half-Day Wine, Beer, and Cider Tour

This 6-hour tour will have you tasting some of the best wines, beers, and ciders in the Hawke’s Bay region. The tour accommodates groups of up to 20 people, so it’s perfect for that family reunion, bachelorette party, or just a fun outing with friends! I really like that you get to see multiple vineyards and breweries, including New Zealand’s oldest winery! It’s perfect if you love beer AND wine, like me!

Related Read: Traveling to the South Island? Check out the best wine tours in Queenstown and how to choose the right one for you!

What to expect on wine tours in Napier 

Half-Day Small-Group Hawke’s Bay Wine Tour

Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at Craggy Estate Winery in Napier, NZ
Wine below Te Mata Peak!
Bailey enjoys the view at Te Mata Peak in Hastings, New Zealand
What a view!

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than on this Hawke’s Bay wine tour! I spent the morning exploring Napier before hopping on this wine tour to see some of the best wineries the Napier region has to offer.

I’m not much of a huge tour kind of person and the fact that this tour has a maximum of 11 people is a huge reason why I booked. Plus, having a designated driver and an air-conditioned van were bonuses too, so I could literally chill between stops and taste as much wine as I wanted.

The guides are super friendly and you learn about more than wine as they often have stories about the local area. Speaking of that, this almost felt like a mini-sightseeing tour with the scenery around here!

Along the way, you’ll visit some of the wineries Napier is known for including Church Road Winery, which is actually one of the oldest wineries in the entire country! Other popular wineries are also included like Shed 530, Ash Ridge, and Sileni Estates. Of course, it’s all about the incredible reds and whites at these spots, but if you get a bit hungry, a tasty cheese platter is also included. Cheese and wine – does it get better than that?!

Well actually it does … one of the highlights of the tour is at the very end with a visit to Te Mata Peak. You get to bask in the 360-degree views, with a glass of wine in hand (see me in the photos above!). This is a super relaxed tour that had me feeling like I was drinking wine with friends!

The entire 5-hour experience includes hotel pick-up and drop off, all tasting fees, snacks, and your amazing guide! If you’re looking for a tour that combines tasty wine and beautiful views, make sure to book a spot on this tour online here.

1970 Retro Kombi Van Wine Tour

Bailey sits down in a bean bag while sipping wine in Napier, NZ
If you need me, I’ll be right here!

For a wine tasting with a sweet ride, this wine tour in a Kombi Van is a blast from the past! No need to wear bell bottoms or tye dye shirts (although I won’t judge if you do!), as you get chauffeured around vineyards in this restored retro van.

I love tours like this that have unique little quirks to them. It makes for a New Zealand bucket list experience that is much more memorable! The tour guide, Craig, is so friendly and knows a ton about this region. He has the typical fun-loving laid back vibe you’d expect with this van despite being very organized!

Along the way, you’ll stop at 3-4 of the best boutique vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay region. While the wineries are certainly the highlight, there’s also a bit of a sightseeing tour of the area as you pass by some stunning sights and beautiful landscapes. The large windows all around the van mean there’s nothing blocking your view of the scenery between vineyards. You can even ask Craig to stop if you want to grab an epic selfie or two.

Because this is a small tour, there’s no need to rush from place to place. It’s just you and up to five other people, so you aren’t too cramped in the van either! It’s a nice way to escape large groups that can be on tasting tours.

This tour is scheduled to last 4 hours and includes all your tasting fees, a cheese board, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel! To travel to wineries in style, make sure to book this tour online – and book as soon as you can since smaller tours like this tend to fill up more quickly.

Related Read: New Zealand is full of amazing national parks, so visiting at least one is a no-brainer! This complete guide to New Zealand’s National Parks will give you everything you need to know so you can add it to your itinerary.

Napier Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour

Mission Estate winery outside garden
Mission Estate winery outside garden

This wine and gin tasting tour allows you to taste your way through history which is my kind of history lesson! The tour includes visits to many notable wineries and the guides were so great about explaining all about the different regions you’re visiting all while keeping an upbeat and fun atmosphere.

Without a doubt, my favorite stop had to be at Mission Estate Winery. This place is legendary and the photos I got here were amazing, not to mention the glass … ahem glasses of wine I had. This is the oldest winery in New Zealand that dates back to 1851.

Not only did I enjoy the tastings at Mission Estate, but also walking around the grounds was really nice and the underground cellar was cool to see. This is one of my favorite wineries of all time and it really paved the way for all the other wineries in the region!

While you can never have too much wine on a wine tasting tour, the next stop varies it up a bit. The National Gin Distillery is up next where samples of 4-5 different gins are up for grabs. It’s a stunning setting too as you’re in an Art Nouveau-styled building that was once the National Tobacco Company building and now is an iconic spot in Napier.

Rounding out the tour is a stop at Askerne Vineyards, a family-owned vineyard that makes 14 different varieties of wine. I especially enjoyed the cheese and biscuits paired with the wine here. There’s also an optional tour about grape growing that you can opt to go on with your guide out among the vines, which I joined. By the end of this tour, you will have tasted a wide range of wines and spirits which is sure to leave you feeling great!

This 4.5-hour tour includes transportation from your hotel, wine and gin tasting fees, snacks, and a souvenir wine glass from Mission Estate. To see the oldest winery in New Zealand and other great stops, make sure to secure your spot on this tour by booking online here!

Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting

Art Déco buildings in Napier
Napier is beautiful!
rows of vines in Napier, NZ
Rows of vines in Napier, NZ

While this private tour is more about sightseeing than winery hopping, it does include a stop at one of the best and oldest vineyards in New Zealand. Plus, if you’re not in Napier for long or stopping here briefly while on a cruise, this is one of the best New Zealand tours to see and taste the best it has to offer!

The tour lasts around 4 hours and the best part is having a private tour guide and transportation for just your group! While group tours are great, there’s something so nice about getting to enjoy an experience like this with your family or friends. There’s no need to rush and you can choose exactly what sites you visit and how long you want to spend at each location.

Along the way, the guide will teach you all about the 1931 earthquake that leveled Napier and is the reason why so many buildings were rebuilt in the famous Art Deco style. You will also visit a few scenic lookout points including Bluff Hill Lookout and Te Mata Peak. Make sure to bring a camera along for these!

Next stop – wine! There’s a wine tasting included at one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries, Church Road Winery. The wines here are delicious and there’s time to wander the grounds if you choose.

After that, it’s a stop at the Birdwoods Gallery. If you’re here in the summer, make sure you try the ice cream made with real fruit! There’s also coffee if it’s a bit chilly out, but either way, you’ll want to make time to stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden and tour the gallery housed in an old church.

Nothing quite says VIP like being chauffeured around on a private tour that you can customize to enjoy Napier your way! Because this is a private tour, days and times are limited, so check available dates and book online with Viator before you go.

Napier Gourmet Luncheon plus Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour 

Outdoor garden at Mission Estate winer in Napier
Enjoy lunch in the beautiful gardens at Mission Estate Winery!

Okay, I’ve already mentioned how worthwhile it is to visit Mission Estate Winery, but this gourmet tour takes it up a notch with a fantastic lunch platter that you can eat in the gardens! Along with that you’ll pick a wine from the estate range to pair with your meal – don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, although everything I’ve tried has been amazing!

After that yummy lunch, it’s time to head to The Urban Winery, which is a more modern winery and you have the option to try different craft beers here as well. During the winter in New Zealand, this tour also includes a stop at Church Road Winery, so you can’t go wrong in whatever season you’re visiting!

I always like learning a bit more about the wine making process on these types of tours and you can do that with the stop at Linden Estate Winery. Our guide, Ross, actually planted some of the grapes you’ll be touring through, so it was neat to hear his expertise and see his handiwork up close.

Wine isn’t all that’s on the menu though, you will also head to the National Gin Distillery where you will enjoy a gin tasting in the historical building. If you have time, there’s also a stop at Askerne Winery where you will enjoy some more snacks with your tasting to soak up all the alcohol you’ve been drinking!

This 5.5-hour tour really lets you see the best of Napier! Not only is all of your wine, gin, and food included in this tour, but you’ll also have roundtrip transportation and an awesome guide that makes the day even better. Make sure to book a spot on this tour with Viator!

Napier Half-Day Wine Beer and Cider Tour 

A glass of wine on a table in Napier, New Zealand
Bailey drinks cider on a wine, beer and cider tour in Napier, NZ
Mmm, cider!

If you are looking to have some fun spending your day drinking the best beer, wine, and cider in the Hawke’s Bay area, this half-day tour is my pick! Now don’t get me wrong, I love wine, but getting to bounce around different breweries and wineries and try some beer and cider was pretty great.

Of course, it isn’t all about the drinks, there’s also plenty of time to tour through the sites and learn about how the products are made. This is a longer tour at around 6 hours, so it allows for that extra time at each place. It really was the perfect afternoon of touring the countryside amongst beautiful orchards and vineyards.

Some of the stops include the only vegan-certified winery in New Zealand, the historic Mission Estate Winery, small cideries, and an Ale House. If you get munchy, there’s also a cheese board to refuel between stops.  

You can even squeeze in a bit of sightseeing as you drive around Napier. The guides are great at sharing information about the history along the way to ensure you’re enjoying your trip.

This tour includes all of your beer, wine, and cider-tasting fees, as well as transportation, and can be easily booked online here!

What does it cost to go on a wine tour in Napier?

Grape vines in Napier, New Zealand
Grape vines in Napier, New Zealand

Half-Day Small-Group Hawkes Bay Wine Tour 

This half-day wine tour costs $135 NZD per person. The cost includes round-trip hotel or cruise terminal transportation in a comfortable air-conditioned van. You will be able to refuel with the free snacks and water offered on this tour, including a delicious cheeseboard. All tasting fees are included in this cost as well. 

1970 Retro Kombi Van Wine Tour

All wine tasting fees are included in the $260 NZD price tag for this Kombi Van wine tour. You can be picked up in this retro van from your hotel, cruise terminal, or a central meeting point in Napier. Your tour includes a guide who will explain all the highlights of the region as well as a delicious cheese platter along your route. 

Napier Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour

This wine and gin tour costs $149 NZD per person and includes round-trip transportation. All wine and gin tastings are included as well as a souvenir wine-tasting glass from Mission Estate. You will also be served wine, cheese, and biscuits along the way. 

Private Sightseeing Tour + Wine Tasting

On this private tour, it’s a set cost of $825 NZD per group of up to 5 guests. This works out to $165 NZD per person if you have a group of 5. This cost includes private transportation from your hotel or a central meeting point near the cruise ship terminals and a guide. This private tour is the only option that can be fully customized for you and your group.

Napier Gourmet Luncheon plus Afternoon Wine and Gin Tasting Tour

With a wide variety of drinks on this wine and gin tour, it’s a good thing all the tasting fees are included in the $189 NZD price! A minimum of two people are required per booking. You will get round-trip transportation in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. You will enjoy some snacks and a gourmet chef’s platter lunch as well a souvenir wine glass. 

Napier Half-Day Wine Beer and Cider Tour

Wine, beer, and cider tasting fees are all included in the $165 NZD price per person for this half-day tour. A minimum of 2 guests are required per booking and it’s only available during November and December. You will be offered a cheeseboard along the way to help keep your energy up. Transportation from your hotel is also included in this price. 

Related Read: After you visit Napier, Wellington is another of my fav destinations and the drive from Napier to Wellington has a ton of great stops. Then once you arrive, you can easily catch a ferry to the South Island and continue exploring New Zealand!

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Which wine tour is best if you want to party?

A bottle of wine on ice in Napier, NZ
Mixing drinks!
Two ciders on a table in Napier NZ
Let’s get tipsy!

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to feel those party vibes, my pick is the Napier half-day wine beer and cider tour. The drinks are flowing the entire time with tastings at wineries, an ale house, and a cider house.

The variety on this tour was a huge plus as everyone in my group could find something they liked and enjoyed tasting drinks they might not normally have tried. The tour guides were very friendly and this tour can be booked for groups of up to 20 people which will give you a chance to make some new friends along the way!

Related Read: If you’re spending more time on the North Island and looking for some adventure, check out the best hikes on the North Island!

Which wine tour is best for couples?

Bailey enjoys a glass of wine at a winery in Napier, New Zealand
Cheers!

If you are looking for a wine tasting tour for couples, I recommend booking the 1970 Retro Kombi Van wine tour. What a great way to make memories together! Driving around in a retro van is not only fun, it’s also a unique backdrop for photos to remember your trip by.

This is a small tour with a maximum of six people, so you won’t feel lost in the crowd and you’ll have plenty of time as a couple to stroll through the vineyards and enjoy a glass (or three!) of wine. Plus, the driver, Craig, is a blast and makes you feel like you’re just hanging out with a friend!

Which wine tour is best for foodies? 

wine barrels inside Church Road Winery in Napier, NZ
The wineries are beautiful!

Foodies will love the Napier gourmet luncheon tour. Not only will you be offered snacks along your route, but you will also enjoy a custom chef’s platter lunch served at Mission Estate Winery – which if you haven’t figured out yet is a winery you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Napier!

Lunch is paired with an Estate Range Wine of your choice to add to your experience. It’s a charcuterie-style meal with cold meats, cheese, hot seafood, fruits, and biscuits. Seriously, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

But it’s not all about the food! There are visits to a few different wineries as well as a gin distillery. Plus whether you’re enjoying lunch or the snacks served in the vineyard later, it’s all about dining with a view.

Do you need to book your wine tour in advance? 

Two wine glasses sit on a table at Craggy Range Winery in Napier, New Zealand
Bailey overlooks the grape vines in Napier used for making wine on a tour
Bailey overlooks the grape vines in Napier used for making wine on a tour

Nothing is worse than getting your hopes up for your holiday only for plans to change last minute. I always highly recommend booking tours in advance, especially if you are visiting in peak season. In Napier, summers are the busiest season for winery tours, between November and March. While the tours are less likely to fill up in the off-season, between April and October, booking your tour in advance is still a great idea. 

I always suggest booking tours through Viator as they have a great cancellation policy! All of the tours on our list have a 24-hour cancellation policy to receive a full refund. This allows you flexibility for your trip while guaranteeing a spot on the wine tour of your choice.

Viator also offers a book now pay later option which allows you to book your tours in advance and not have to pay until closer to your departure date so booking ahead of time is easy. 

Related Read: While most people visit in the summer, there truly is so much to experience during the winter too! Check out my guide on the top things to do during the winter in New Zealand!

Are wine tours in Napier worth it?

Bailey at the drive way of Mission estate winery in Napier, NZ
Bailey at the driveway of Mission Estate Winery in Napier, NZ

Absolutely! I had so much fun touring the wineries in Napier and enjoyed both the delicious wines and the stunning scenery of the area. For me, wine tours are that perfect combo of getting to learn about the local area and taste the best wines, all while having transportation taken care of so there’s no need to worry about a designated driver.

Napier is a great region to book a wine tour as it’s home to some of the best wineries in New Zealand. The area is so scenic and I love that booking a tour allows you to see some of the beauty in the area and get a brief history of the region between wineries.

Where to Stay in Napier

the outside of the Crown Hotel in the evening with an old car parked in front
This is one of the best places to stay in Napier! Photo Credit: The Crown Hotel

If you’re planning on taking a wine tour in Napier, I recommend staying overnight. That way you can still take in the local sights before and after your tour. Plus, you may fall in love with Napier and want to stay a few days! It’s really the ideal base to enjoy the coast and drink plenty of wine of course.

There are several great places to stay in Napier. To narrow it down, I’ve chosen a few of my favorites with options for each price range.

The Crown Hotel – $$$

For the ultimate comfort, go for The Crown Hotel. This hotel is in the heart of Ahuriri, overlooking the ocean and walking distance to Perfume Point. Milk & Honey restaurant is on the ground floor and you also have access to a gym, free private parking, and laundry facilities. If you’re traveling with a baby, they automatically give you a complimentary baby care package.

Starting at $290 NZD, rooms are clean and classy, with underfloor heating and great bathtubs. For a luxurious stay in Ahuriri, check availability and book The Crown Hotel online here!

Art Deco Masonic Hotel – $$

To truly absorb Napier’s Art Deco vibes, stay at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel! This place is stylish from its outdoor architecture to its interior design. The rooms are moderately sized, but come with super comfy beds and most have access to a rooftop with ocean views. On-site, you’ll find two bars and restaurants and exceptionally helpful staff.

The hotel is a 2-minute walk to Marine Parade and room rates begin at $219 NZD. For a stylish stay in Napier, book the Art Deco Masonic Hotel online here!

Toad Hall Accommodation – $

Toad Hall Accommodation is my top budget choice in Napier. It’s within walking distance of sights along the Marine Parade and Napier Beach. It has excellent shared facilities including a kitchen, BBQ, rooftop terrace, social lounge, and game room. If you’re traveling solo and want to meet others, or simply save some money, this is the place to stay.

You can choose either a private room or dorms, with prices starting at $90 NZD. For the best budget accommodations in Napier, check availability and book your stay online here!

Other Activities to do While You’re in Napier

Bailey poses for a photo with views of the coast on Marine Parade in Napier
Enjoy those coastal views!
Art Déco Buildings in Napier, NZ
There’s a reason it’s the Art Deco capital of the world!

While a wine tour definitely tops the list of the best things to do in Napier, that’s not the only thing to do around here! Make sure you check out a few of my other favorite activities:

  • Marine Parade – This seafront walkway is one of Napier’s iconic spots! Marine Parade has the best coastal views of the Pacific Ocean and Mahia Peninsula. I also love popping into a couple of the boutique shops for a little retail therapy and Lick This for ice cream!
  • Go on an Art Deco Tour – Feel like you’re living in the Great Gatsby novel by touring around town! After the town was devastated by the 1931 earthquake, buildings were rebuilt with the Art Deco style that was highly popular at the time. This art, wine, and beer tour lets you hang out with a local who is an expert on Napier’s vibrant history and pair it with delicious wine and beer! 
  • Visit Te Mata Peak – This iconic mountain in the Napier area is a must-see. Depending on your adventure level, you can access Te Mata by driving, walking, or cycling! Driving to the peak is the easiest option and you get incredible views of the surrounding mountain ranges. I also like the Giant Circuit hike which is a moderate hike around the perimeter that takes about two hours.
  • Biking – One of the best ways to explore Napier is by bicycle! Rent a bike in town at Napier City Bike Hire to explore the trails. My favorite track is the Water Ride which leaves from the lighthouse at Perfume Point and has gorgeous ocean views. This Cape Coast self-guided wine and bike tour is a fun outing by bike as you pedal to wineries and then has a shuttle to bring you back, so you don’t have to ride your bike home! 
  • Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market – Every Sunday morning, rain or shine, you can catch the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market. It’s one of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in all of New Zealand! So naturally there are tons of vendors selling foods, crafts, and all sorts of goodies.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey smiles at the camera at Craggy Range Winery near Napier
Thanks for reading!

Napier has some of New Zealand’s best and oldest wineries! Not only are the wines delicious in this region, but the area is so stunning that touring through is really enjoyable. I always love taking wine tours, but the stunning vineyards in Napier really blew me away! I hope this list helps you decide on the best wine tour to take while you’re in town.

As you’re traveling through the country, check out my other blogs about New Zealand. I absolutely love New Zealand and hope everyone can get a chance to visit. Below, I’ve picked some helpful blogs so you can plan your North and South Island travels and enjoy this beautiful country!

8 BEST Stops on the Drive from Taupo to Napier

12 BEST Day Trips from Wellington, NZ

10 EPIC South Island Road Trips You’ll Love in New Zealand

35 EPIC Things To Do in Auckland, NZ