Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

You’ve been bungee jumping, glacier hiking, and jet boating during your Kiwi adventure, and now you’re ready to let your muscles relax for a few days. With a glass of wine. Marlborough, New Zealand’s most popular wine region, has incredible Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs. But perhaps a quieter area and a heavier red is what’s in mind. Time to head to Hawke’s Bay in the northeastern part of the North Island.

Photo: N Preseault
Photo: N Preseault

Due to its remote location, Hawke’s Bay is off the regular tourist path. It’s also one of the driest and warmest parts of the country, creating the perfect climate for Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes. The vineyards are located on the outskirts of the small, friendly city of Napier, whose Art Deco architecture lures visitors to the waterfront area after a day of tastings.

Photo: Esk Valley Lodge
Photo: Esk Valley Lodge

To really embrace the goal of relaxing, stay at one of the area’s vineyards. The Esk Valley Lodge is a restored farmhouse surrounded by vineyards and orchards. With only three rooms–all named after a type of grape–peace and quiet is guaranteed. The helpful owners serve a full breakfast that features local ingredients and homemade jam. Wine and nibbles appear at dusk in the common area, along with help suggestions of activities and great restaurants.

Lots of sunshine, great wine, and a low-key, waterfront city sounds like the perfect place for some down time before your next adventure. Zorbing, maybe?

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