Earlier this year we enjoyed taking Will Ferguson, travel writer for the Calgary Herald, out for a spot of wine touring - the Prinsy's way.
We were delighted with his write-up and his amusing way of taking his wine tasting skills less than seriously.
Part of a bigger road trip tour of New Zealand, Will's article has some great insights into what it's like as a traveller through Martinborough, Hawke's Bay to Gisborne.
"Our tour ended atop Te Mata Peak with a 360 panorama of the bay and the mountains beyond. How exactly we ended up there is not clear. I suspect wine was involved." - Will Ferguson, Calgary Herald
Hamish & Di
Photo Credit: Lee Warren
What a week it has been. The region's been flooding, the Napier/Taupo road has been forcing visitors to take the long way round, Hamish went in for knee surgery but not before we had an amazing night at the Hawke's Bay Tourism awards at The Old Church.
This year - for the second year in a row - we were delighted to take out the Visitor Experience Award (Small Business).
But that's not all we were recognised for this year...!
Here's one of the judges explaining why we won...
We are absolutely chuffed to know that our efforts to improve the experience for our guests have been noticed. We wholeheartedly believe in Hawke's Bay as a region and love being part of a tourism industry that is focused on our visitors, our people and the sustainability of this beautiful place.
It was great to be selected amongst a really strong line-up of local tourism businesses, and we are proud to work alongside all of the nominees, and the region as a whole.
We'd really like to thank our guests, our team, our families, and the Hawke's Bay Tourism industry for helping us all grow, improve, and ultimately enjoy everything the region has to offer.
Hamish & Di
It’s the time of year where we get a few minutes to focus on developing our tour business, when the number of visitors to Hawkes Bay has cooled down a bit and we can take a long deep breath. One of the things we are often asking ourselves is “what more can we be doing for the sustainability of our industry and its impact on the environment”?
Each year we tend to make gradual improvements as we learn and grow. This year, through the Tourism Industry Aotearoa we have become aware of their initiative to drive every tourism business in New Zealand to be sustainable by 2025. Quite a big hairy audacious goal, which we think is exactly what is needed to drive the industry forward. So, “where do we sign?” we thought!
The Tourism Sustainability Commitment aims to see that economic, environmental and social sustainability becomes a genuine ethical practice that is embedded in our industry for good. As part of this there are 14 Commitments that Prinsy’s Tours has agreed to live by as we move forward.
We have a genuine belief that our industry can help to shape a sustainable future for New Zealand, allowing our industry, people and environment to thrive. Naturally this will pay off because it means we can continue to do what we love – showing our beautiful country off to the rest of the world!
We invite you to join us on a wine tour, rural tour or something more exclusive and hear our first-hand stories about the environment and vibrant region we enjoy every day. Our groups are kept small to enhance your experience and we pride ourselves not only on exceeding guests’ expectations, but also leaving only footprints.
Hamish & Diane
It’s an exciting time of year to be cruising wine country right now, with some of Hawke’s Bay’s best wineries rubbing their hands together for this year’s harvest.
And what a hot January it’s been! New Zealand just had one of the hottest Januaries in 150 years, and coupled with an ever-present summer breeze, the grapes are ripening faster than you can say ‘merlot cabernet blend’.
Hopping around the wineries this week our wine tour guests have enjoyed seeing first-hand the grapes ripening in the vineyard, and talking to winery folk about the delicious things to come.
Apparently it’s a year for Chardonnay & Syrah so we’ll be watching those ones particularly closely. Di has a soft spot for Viognier too so we’ll be sure to give that a fair tasting when the 2018 goes to bottle.
In the meantime of course there are loads of stunning wines from 2016, 2017 and earlier that are already available for a sneaky vineyard wine tasting.
We hope you get to enjoy some of Hawke’s Bay’s best wineries this season, and if you need a ride for your perfect wine tour be sure to let us know.
Hamish & Di
Photo credit: Moana Park Winery
This month Prinsy’s are excited to launch our new Guided Transfer service that is now available to spirit you from lodge to lodge with an educational and interactive transfer tour. Your travel time is golden so we’ll help ensure you don’t miss a moment and get to explore more of the real New Zealand as you travel.
Prinsy's Guided Transfer service is completely customizable to you, and would/could include:
• Pick up and drop off from lodge to lodge
• Wellington airport pickups (via Martinborough)
• Transfers to/from Hawkes Bay, Taupo or beyond
• Receiving the star treatment with a flexible itinerary, quality refreshments, local produce, and warm personal service
Here’s an example of a Taupo-Napier transfer:
• Pick up from your lodge in Taupo in Prinsy’s luxury vehicle (including luggage trailer for the larger suitcases or golf clubs)
• Travel the scenic Napier-Taupo road with a knowledgeable guide at the wheel
• Learn about the lay of the land as we travel – the history, the economy, the rural insights, the landscape
• Arrive in Hawke’s Bay and enjoy an abbreviated winery experience, guided Art Deco drive, and a trip up the gorgeous Te Mata Peak for a 360° view of the region
• Arrive at your destination Lodge ready to relax.
Sound like you? We welcome your enquiry.
Prinsy’s Tours is Qualmark rated and recently won the Visitor Experience award for small business at the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Awards. We pride ourselves on exceeding our visitor’s expectations every time and look forward to doing so for you.
Do get in touch and we’ll put together an itinerary that makes the most of your New Zealand escape.
Just a quick note to thank our many guests for helping us to achieve a couple of recent accolades.
Each year we manage to receive a multitude of 5-star Trip Advisor reviews, which has provided us with a 5-star Trip Advisor rating for the 5th year in a row. We are absolutely chuffed.
Prinsy’s Tours has also recently completed our first Qualmark assessment, so we are now bench-marking our little tour business against the tourism industry heavyweights. Big and scary but we thought why not! Qualmark have since endorsed us with a Bronze certification, so we're in, hip hip hurray!
One thing we do want to say is that we couldn’t do any of this without our amazing guests. We love to host you all (gee what a hard job we have!) and we really appreciate you taking the time to rate us on Trip Advisor or give us a Google Review. It really does keep us going and it means a whole lot to us and our team.
Cheers, and keep on smiling!
Hamish & Diane
Owners & Operators
You’ve heard of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the Central Otago Pinot, but if you’re new to Hawke’s Bay wines, let’s just say there’s a reason we call it “wine country”.
If you’re planning to book a wine tour at some stage, here’s a taster of what Hawke’s Bay wines are all about:
Keen to see for yourself?
We’ll help you learn lots and have fun along the way. Book now and see for yourself why our guests say Prinsy’s Tours exceeded their expectations. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Owner & Tour Guide
What a big year it's been at Prinsy's Tours. We've launched this new website, enjoyed hosting hundreds of Lions fans, and been spreading our wings doing some recon in Martinborough and round the country at tourism events. But the icing has seriously been put on the cake this week, after we were floored to receive the Visitor Experience Award for Small Business at the Hawke's Bay Tourism Awards.
Wow. Quite simply, we were jolly enough just to have put our best foot forward in entering the awards. Then being finalists, and ultimately winning the highly competitive 'Visitor Experience' category, well, let's just say the eyes got a bit steamy!
Going through the awards process really makes you put yourself out there, and look at your business through a new lens. It's a great initiative put on by Hawke's Bay Tourism, who back our industry tirelessly and are a big part of the reason this region's tourism economy is growing year on year, and why the standards for guest experiences here just keep soaring.
Prinsy's was also a finalist in the People's Choice award - so thank you immensely to all who voted for us, your voices were definitely heard!
We'd also really like to thank our amazing team, our wonderful guests whom it's a pleasure to host, the support from Jodi at InHouse Marketing, the judges for a fair and rigorous process, Hawke's Bay Tourism again and also Sally Jackson from the Napier City Council (previous winner when she was with the Art Deco Trust) for her helpful advice and mentoring on the awards process.
Hats off to all the other entrants, finalists and winners; we know what a challenge it is and we're proud to be a part of this fantastic industry with you.
Now, time for a glass (or two) of yummy Hawke's Bay wine to celebrate!
Recently the Prinsy's Wine Tour crew were lucky enough to head down to Martinborough for an overnighter, under the guise of "research & development". Why? We wanted to explore the area and find the very best spots to take our guests, as part of our new Guided Transfer service (which can include a trip from Wellington to Hawke's Bay via some nice wee hotspots). What a hard life!
On this trip our team checked out the local winery & tourism scene, and felt we needed to share a couple of our favourites, if you're ever heading that way.
If you don't know much about it, Martinborough is a small historical township in the Southern Wairarapa - a little over an hour from Wellington. It's got 20-something wineries and a boutique, laid back feel. Plus, the town and surrounding wineries are nice and condensed so it's easy to explore and make the most of your time.
Highlights of our own wine tour definitely included:
Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Sanctuary
Heading back to Hawkes Bay from Martinborough, a great way to break up the trip is a stop at the wildlife centre at Mount Bruce, where they do lots of great work with conservation and education. The walk through native bush even has wheelchair access and it's a great chance to see rare and endangered birds of New Zealand, including the only white kiwi in captivity, as well as other native wildlife.
Planning your own trip?
For more information on a Guided Transfer of your own (to make the most of travel time between Wellington, Hawkes Bay and/or Auckland and anywhere in between), talk to us today - we'd love to help plan the perfect trip for you and show you the sights through local eyes.
In Hawke's Bay we are lucky enough to have some pretty nice autumn and winter days, which means you can make the most of many attractions year-round. On the days when the weather isn't playing ball there are always loads of options to stay entertained too.
We think these 5 things are great to do in Hawke's Bay during winter:
Owner & Tour Guide
Thanks to Hawkes Bay Tourism for some of these photos.
Hamish & Diane Prins
In this blog, the owners of Prinsys - and your future tour guides - keep you up to date with everything Hawkes Bay.
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