Wine and gourmet tours of New Zealand with Odyssey and the Sprinter.

Gareth Kelly whisks off his guests to a magical world of culinary delights: wine tastings, culinary highlights and tours of vineyards are on the agenda - and definitely have something for everyone.

Passion to profession.

Gareth is a genuine gourmet. After studying law, the son of Irish immigrants wanted to explore the world rather than stay in New Zealand. He became a tour guide in Europe. That is where his passion for good wine and food began. Today, Kelly runs a wine and gourmet tour operating company, Odyssey New Zealand.

Gareth Kelley at a vine plantation

Gareth Kelly is a passionate tour guide: on his tours, there is something for everyone.

Culinary highlights and excellent wines.

The company takes guests on day or half-day tours to the best vineyards and restaurants in the region of Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of North Island. They also have a branch on South Island, in Queenstown, where Odyssey tourists enjoy simply the best the region has to offer.

Hawke’s Bay is the most prestigious and oldest wine-growing region of the pacific state. Competitions held by international trade media have shown: the best wines can easily compete with the best in Europe.

The sun shines down on the grapes

Compared internationally, New Zealand wine easily contend with the best in Europe.

Odyssey New Zealand takes over planning.

When drinking a good drop of wine, the food must be good too. Guests touring here can look forward to a great choice of luxury restaurants. “Discerning tourists often don’t have the time to plan everything perfectly,” explains Gareth Kelly. “That’s why we offer a variety of tours to the best vineyards in the region.” A few clicks on Odyssey New Zealand or a call is enough to become part of the next tour.

Three women tasting wine

Wine-tasting at one of the many vineyards in the area.

A visit to a restaurant is an unforgettable experience.

In addition to wine-tasting, the big vineyards, such as “Mission Estate”, “Craggy Range” or “Elephant Hill” also serve first-class food in their own restaurants. “Here, guests have lunch or enjoy a five-course evening meal,” says Gareth Kelly, who is an excellent cook himself and holds exclusive dinners in his apartment house complex, with views of the ocean.

A group of people have a meal on a terrace

Wonderful views as you dine: the vineyards of the region offer culinary experiences in addition to wine-tastings.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as travel companion

Key contributors to the success of the Odyssey’s portfolio are the Odyssey tour guides. They take the guests from vineyard to vineyard. Their vehicle of choice: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Gareth Kelly: “Our guides are more than just drivers. They tell our guests about the country and its people and know a lot about good wine.” And a point of honor that the guides don’t drink a single drop on their tours. “My employees love the Sprinter,” says Kelly. “Because the van is simply a great, comfortable drive. They get to concentrate totally on communicating with the guests.”

A group of people driving in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter through New Zealand

Thanks to a high level of comfort and safety in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the atmosphere is always great.

Guided through paradise.

Just how important the ride in the Sprinter is to ensure a good atmosphere is something Kelly knows from personal experience. Whenever he has time, he sits at the wheel himself and is the guide. “We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. It’s just great being able to drive through the countryside with our guests and show them all this natural beauty.”

And there is a lot of it! For example, the beach at Cape Kidnappers, where James Cook once landed. Or Tamata Peak, which reminds of the evergreen flanks of Tolkien’s countryside. From the top of the mountain you have fantastic views of the entire region as far as the Pacific Ocean. Kelly takes Odyssey tourists here regularly to see the sun set. And it is then at the latest that even the last guest realizes a fact Kelly knows already: “We really do live in Paradise!”

A group of people standing together

Gourmet highlights with Odyssey New Zealand and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

A winding road leading up a mountain

New Zealand offers not only delicious food and tasty wines, but also breath-taking countryside.

Raising a toast, with two full glasses of wine

Good wine has a long-standing tradition here - and can easily compete with the top European wines.

Several people walk through a wine cellar

There is lots to see on the guided tours of the vineyards.

Photos: Matthias Sastedt

More Links to explore: Odyssey New Zealand

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