A photo of The Best Wine & Food Tasting Tours in Auckland

wine tasting tours and winery visits

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Why Visit Auckland?

Not only is Auckland the biggest city and most significant international transport hub in New Zealand (although not to be mistaken for the country’s capital city, which is in fact Wellington) it’s also a region of plenty and prosperity which ensures that incoming visitors receive the warmest kia ora as soon as they step off the plane. It’s a place where an exciting urban sprawl sits comfortably shoulder-to-shoulder with tranquil paradise islands and rugged, dramatic coastal vistas where the west coast meets the Tasman Sea. In fact, the Māori name for this region of New Zealand is Tāmaki Makaurau – it means ‘the maiden desired by a hundred lovers’ and was chosen because of the region’s bounteous natural resources.

You’ll find everything here, from some of the biggest names in winemaking to exceptional cuisine, great nights out, exhilarating experiences (more on that later) and peaceful, isolated beaches where it’s easy to just kick back and relax with a bottle of your favourite Kiwi wine. It’s no surprise that the city of Auckland regularly wins awards for the quality of life here – it’s currently rated third most liveable city in the world (joint third, actually, along with Vancouver and Munich) on the Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking, and is a place universally adored by inhabitants and guests alike.

As you might expect from such a cosmopolitan region, the food scene in Auckland is fabulous. Stylish bars and restaurants abound in all areas of the city, with harbourside spots such as Viaduct Harbour particularly popular for grabbing a bite in full view of the city’s glorious marinas. Elsewhere, organic and gourmet local produce tend to be the order of the day, and wherever you go in the region you are almost guaranteed to happen upon a farmer’s market offering an abundance of local treats. Guided food tours around the region are common and an extremely popular way of getting immersed in Auckland’s culinary delights. 

Auckland is also a fabulous place to indulge your creative side. As well as being a UNESCO City of Music thanks to its diverse, innovative music culture (you’re equally as likely to stumble upon a Metallica concert as you are traditional Māori music) there is a plethora of fascinating museums and galleries to be discovered by those interested in New Zealand’s enthralling history. Before taking in an evening concert, try the New Zealand Maritime Museum in central Auckland, which recounts the hundreds of stories that make up the nation’s rich seafaring heritage. The Auckland Museum, meanwhile, houses an unrivalled collection of historic artefacts from Māori tribes and other settlers, alongside some wonderful natural history exhibits.

Whilst central Auckland of course dominates the region, there are numerous other pretty, friendly towns within a stone’s throw of the city centre which provide a little light relief from hectic urban life. It’s all about rural bliss in these small towns – Helensville and Clevedon are both idyllic country boltholes set in beautiful surroundings. Rolling hills and serene beaches abound, and there is nowhere better to seek a calm respite. 


Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

The key white grapes of Auckland are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, some Pinot Gris and then Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the reds. Although relatively small in terms of overall production, Auckland is nevertheless one of the oldest wine regions in New Zealand and home to some serious vinous heavyweights. The name Villa Maria is instantly recognisable as possibly the most famous Kiwi winery in the world – and although they have vineyards in various locations around the country, Auckland is where Villa Maria calls home. The winery sits just ten minutes from Auckland airport and opens 7 days a week for guided tours (a bargain at $5 per person) and tastings (a similar bargain at $15 for a tasting flight of premium wine).  A visit to Waiheke Island is also a must; locals call it the ‘island of wine’, a mesmerising island paradise where around 30 wineries produce everything from Chardonnay and Pinot Gris to robust, assertive Bordeaux blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Man O’War Vineyards is a must-visit for lovers of these gorgeously intense red blends, and there’s even a cosy cottage for overnight stays if you can’t bear to tear yourself away.
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Best time to visit

Auckland is great for a visit at any time of year - the city and surrounding region basks in a temperate coastal climate which tends to be relatively consistent. Summer averages are between 23°C to 25°C, and winter is rarely colder than 10°C. Rainfall can be significant, though, so make sure you pack an umbrella!
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How long to stay

Auckland and the surrounding area is great for a long weekend - take 3 or 4 days to recover from your jet lag, enjoy the bustle of the thriving, friendly city, and enjoy the natural beauty and welcoming wineries of Waiheke Island before heading down into the North Island.
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How to get there

Auckland Airport is the biggest transport hub in New Zealand, with international flights arriving every day from all around the world. An economy round trip from London can cost as little as £650 if booked well in advance. 
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