The Best Cruise Breaks for Wine Buffs


Thanks to our selection of over 60 designated wine growing regions, Australia has developed a global reputation for its prestigious wines. From the Barossa Valley near Adelaide to Western Australia’s Margaret River; our wines achieve their unique taste and finish due to the sun blushed regions from which they come from.

And Australia isn’t the only country that benefits from a near-perfect climate for wine production. Just across the pond, the Kiwis have been producing and exporting wine for decades, making New Zealand an excellent place to visit for wine connoisseurs.

If you enjoy a tipple as much as we do, we’re here to guide you through the best cruise breaks for wine buffs in Australia and New Zealand.



Barossa Valley

Of all Australia’s wine-growing regions, the Barossa Valley in Southern Australia is its most fruitful and prestigious. By far the most prevalent grape variety in the region; Shiraz is grown here in abundance, and a large proportion of Barossa Shiraz grapes are used to produce Penfolds Grange. As well as Shiraz, the region is famous for its Reisling, Semillon, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties.

If you’re interested in visiting the Barossa Valley, the closest cruise port is Adelaide.

Hunter Valley  

While New South Wales is littered with vineyards, the largest cluster of independent wineries is located in the Hunter Valley — a lush, green region within easy driving distance of Sydney. It’s this proximity to Australia’s second city that has given rise to the popularity of Hunter Valley wines, of which the majority are produced using red grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

As touched on above, Sydney is the closest cruise port to the Hunter Valley, and it is possible to book specialist wine tasting excursions from Sydney to the region.

Margaret River 

The Margaret River is without question the largest wine-producing region in Western Australia, boasting a total of 215 independent vineyards, grape growers and wineries including Pierro, Cullen Wines and the Ashbrook Estate. The region is highly regarded for its red grape varieties, the foremost of which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. However, a handful of excellent whites are also produced in the area, including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay varieties.

If you’re interested in visiting one of the many vineyards in the Margaret River area, the closest ports include Fremantle and Perth.

New Zealand



The Auckland wine-growing region is one of New Zealand’s largest and diverse, home to an eclectic mix of major wineries and smaller, boutique vineyards. From Henderson, Kumeu and Waikmauku to Matakana and Clevedon, Auckland is famous for producing some of the finest wines in the country, thanks in the part to the region’s extremely varied geographical features and elements. Among the most popular wines produced in the region are Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

As you’ve probably guessed, the best port for accessing this particular wine-growing region is Auckland; indeed, you don’t have to travel far out of the city until you chance upon your first grape-strewn hillside.

Hawke’s Bay 

Wine has been produced on the sun-drenched peaks of Hawke’s Bay since 1851, making it one of New Zealand’s biggest and most celebrated wine-growing regions. Hawke’s Bay is best-known for its aromatic white wines, which are produced using Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties, however, there is also a burgeoning Bordeaux-blend scene — with prominent red grapes including Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Long established as the capital of the Hawke’s Bay wine-growing region; Napier is the best port to stop at it in order to access the region’s vineyards and wineries.

Waipara Valley & the Canterbury Plains

Lying between the Pacific Ocean and the South Island’s Southern Alps; the Waipara Valley boasts its own micro-climate that makes it an excellent place for wine production. The Canterbury Plains, which joins the Waipara Valley, was first established as a wine producing region in 1978, and the area has since cultivated a range of fragrant wines from grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re interested in touring the Waipara Valley & Canterbury Plains, perhaps the best cruise port for accessing the region is Christchurch.

Wherever you want to enjoy a wine-tasting holiday, Cruise1st Australia can help make your dream trip a reality. For help in planning the perfect wine cruise, visit the Cruise1st Australia website or call us on 1300 857 345.

Header image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Lina Hayes

Body images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: aweshwor, Jocelyn Kinghorn


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