Most people who dream of visiting New Zealand are aware of its awe-inspiring topography, with vast lakes and towering mountain ranges it’s not hard to see why this is what is most commonly discussed when thinking of your holiday there.
New Zealand is not only famous for its landscapes but also boasts some of the best produce in the world and we feel it’s a must-see country for any food and wine enthusiasts. With so many amazing food options on offer, it’s a challenge for any traveller to fit it all in. From food festivals to local farmers’ markets, walking tours to fine dining restaurants, we reveal New Zealand’s top culinary experiences. So, get your itineraries at the ready…
Wellington food tour
Let’s start your gastronomical journey in the capital. Wellington has some of the best restaurants the country has to offer alongside lovely local cafes for a quick bite and beautiful bakeries for a naughty morning treat! We recommend joining a walking food tour to see what the locals recommend all whilst exploring the city. Your knowledgeable guide will lead you to decadent chocolatiers, boutique food stores and hidden cafes only the locals know about.
If this sounds like your kind of tour, you may also like to consider joining another in the Wairarapa region just an hour and a half drive from Wellington. If you time it right, you could enjoy the Toast Martinborough wine, food and music festival which is sure the get your toes tapping and your taste buds tingling!
Board your boat at Picton Wharf and enjoy an amazing cruise through the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Along the route, you will visit a mussel farm, followed by a salmon farm, where you will learn from your very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides and skipper all about the aquaculture of Marlborough Sounds. Dive into a bowl of freshly steamed green lipped mussels, or savour the taste of local smoked salmon, complemented by a cold, crisp glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
If you are a honey lover, then you must try some of the local Manuka honey known to be one of the best in the world. The Honey Centre, located in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is home to the largest display of live bees in New Zealand and not only boasts an impressive shop and cafe but also provides educational tours and many honey tastings. It makes a lovely stop on the way south from the Bay of Islands or a day trip from Auckland.
New Zealand classics
If you’re looking for something a bit different, we would highly recommend tasting some classic New Zealand produce such as the famous Fergburger in Queenstown, renowned for its size and quality you certainly won’t be left hungry after this beast of a burger! Another must-try is one of the nation’s famous afternoon snacks, the pie! All washed down with a can of L&P, a local drink of Lemon & Paeroa which can be found throughout New Zealand.
For anyone with an interest in wine, New Zealand is your playground. From their famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to the delicate tones of their Pinot Noir, New Zealand really does offer everything you would want from a grape. So, allow us to introduce our four favourite wine regions we recommend you explore.
A short ferry ride from Auckland lives the beautiful island of Waiheke. Waiheke is well known for both its olive oil and vineyards. Take a ferry from Auckland and be met at Waiheke Ferry Port for your guided wine tour. You will be taken to multiple vineyards throughout the day for tastings and small food pairings and, if time allows, a trip to an olive grove too.
Want something more adventurous? You could opt for a ‘Zip, Wine, & Dine’ tour, where you can take wine tasting to new heights! Zipline over spectacular vines, coves, and bays – you could even share the experience with a friend with dual cables, soaring side-by-side!
Just outside the art deco capital, Napier, lies the impressive wine region of Hawkes Bay. Renowned for its Pinot Noir grape, the Hawkes Bay region gives you a more varied selection of wines to taste. We highly recommend taking a progressive wine tour where you are collected from your accommodation and taken to three different vineyards, one for each course of your meal! All vineyards tempt you with various tastings per course and it is sure to be a highlight of your time in New Zealand.
By far the most famous of New Zealand’s wine regions, Marlborough boasts the longest standing food and wine festival in the country and as such it is very popular. Held in February, it is in high season and so pre-booking is essential. You can team lots of wonderful wines with local produce stalls and live entertainment throughout the festival.
If you prefer a more low-key experience, you can self-guide your own bike tour. Hire a bike and take your time exploring a few of the Marlborough wine trail cellar doors. Take your time cycling through beautiful vineyard landscapes and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the fabulous vineyard restaurants.
Central Otago wine region
Last but certainly not least, the Central Otago wine region not only provides excellent wines but also boasts an awe-inspiring backdrop. Take a tour from either Wanaka or Queenstown and enjoy surrounding yourself among the boutique vineyards and magnificent mountain alpine scenery of Central Otago. Some of the country’s premium wines are found in this area and, due to the differing climate, their predominant wine is Pinot Noir, shortly followed by Chardonnay. On the edge of Queenstown, the Central Otago wine region is easily accessed from this hub and allows you to enjoy both the wine and the hustle and bustle of lively Queenstown.
Ready to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip? Wherever your adventure takes you, our expert team are on-hand to share local knowledge and point you in the direction of secret sights and hidden gems you might not otherwise have discovered. Contact Holly today to get a personalised quote and to start planning your tailor-made New Zealand adventure.