Our Story

The story so far

Juliearna Kavanagh imagined the idea back in 2010 when she wanted to have a wine tour where people made their own choices. Being a wine connoisseur and Executive Chef she has extensive knowledge of the food and wine industry in New Zealand. The initial design was written down on a piece of paper and the idea was born. There was a delayed start, due to earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 & 2011.  Instead her efforts were put into her hotel, the award winning Escape to Picton.

Then in 2013, Juliearna’s automated map of Marlborough cellar doors was created. This was a very different, up-market tour in Marlborough where clients could pick their own cellar door by making a wish list. The original www.escapetomarlborough.com is still running today. Customers travel in luxury Mercedes with the knowledge they had planned their own day with assistance along the way.

In March 2014, Hop on Hop off Wine Tours was launched. The Queenstown, Bannockburn, Marlborough and Nelson tours are constantly evolving with new operators, specials and improved scheduling.

We look forward to welcoming you on board.


Sustainable Travel and Carbon Footprint

We are proud to run our buses, facilitating eco friendly travel that reduces carbon emissions. We deeply appreciate you, our customers as you enable us to implement our environmental initiatives and contribute to sustainable practices.  

Here are some of our sustainable practices we follow :

  • Significant Reduction in Carbon Emissions and Promotion of Sustainable Travel – We efficiently move a large number of people daily in Marlborough, Nelson, Queenstown, and Bannockburn as opposed to individual clients using their own transport or hiring cars. 50% of our market are tourists, 20% are travelling New Zealanders and 30% local New Zealand clients who live in each region. This collective approach significantly reduces the overall carbon footprint associated with transportation in these 4 regions. We promote sustainable travel practices by letting travelers enjoy the scenic beauty and visit different places in each region without adding to environmental degradation.  

  • Through our collective transport approach, we help conserve natural resources by minimizing the need for additional vehicles on the road. This not only reduces fuel consumption but helps reduce traffic congestion as well as the wear and tears on the roads.

  • Water Conservation Measures – To minimize water usage we have adopted a conscious measure of the wipe down technique at the end of the day for all our vehicles which significantly reduces water consumption while still ensuring cleanliness and sanitation standards. Buses are washed weekly instead of daily.

  • Remote Work Practices – We have one head office for all 4 regions, all the rest of the staff work remotely. This approach not only enhances flexibility, efficiency, and work-life balance,  for our employees but also contributes to our sustainability approaches. We have long term employees who have worked for the company for over 7 years. We have frequent staff get together for dinner and drinks and during holidays to ensure staff engagement.

  • Use of Recycled Materials – In our commitment to reducing waste, we utilise recycled paper for printing our HOHO maps for our customers. By opting for recycled materials, we contribute to the conservation of natural resources.

  • Digital Booking Systems (Paperless Operation) – We have implemented digital booking systems in our office which reduces the need for paper- based documentation and administration processes which helps to minimise our environmental footprint.  We send electronic tickets for all our customers, so we do not print any tickets.

  • Personal Mechanical Repairs – All repairs and maintenance of our buses are down in our garage areas in each region. With this measure we avoid the need to transport buses to different workshops hereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Preventive Maintenance of the Vehicles – We prioritise preventive measures of all our vehicles, this ensures reliability and efficiency which allows us to minimise emissions and reduce our overall emissions. DPF’s are done every 3 months for maximum efficiency. Filters are changed at the same time.
  • Community Engagement – We recognize the importance of preserving our natural ecosystems and working together with the community. We have sponsored different events throughout the year in all the 4 regions.   By providing financial support to community-based projects, we invest in sustainable development of the regions we operate in. We sponsored a fundraiser for a young director struggling to finish his movie which helped him secure $10,000 additional funds.
  • If you have any charity events or fundraisers, we are more than happy to support or help in any way we can. 

We aim to inspire individuals and other businesses to adopt eco friendly initiatives, reduce their carbon footprint and prioritise environment conservation. Join us in encouraging others to opt for a group travel and lets journey towards a greener fun future together with a wine or two! 😜