New Zealand is a top destination for food and wine lovers. Throughout New Zealand, there is a strong emphasis on local, fresh produce and sustainable sourcing of food which we love here at Fleewinter. We’ve put together some of our favourite foodie experiences to give you some inspiration for your trip.
New Zealand is lucky enough to a have a number of great wine regions; Marlborough, Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay are the most well known but there are also the smaller wine-producing areas of Auckland, Martinborough, Nelson and Waipara which offer great opportunities for wine touring.
Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough and Nelson are fantastic areas to explore by bicycle, with off-road cycle trails and quiet lanes linking vineyards together. In all of the regions it is possible to join a small group or private tour for a day or half day that will take you to visit a number of different vineyards and usually will have a lunch stop as well.
If you want to travel independently to vineyards, most will be happy for you to drop in at the cellar door for a tasting (although it is best to check opening hours in advance) and, in many cases, tastings are free of charge. At the smaller, family run vineyards, it is highly likely that the winemaker will be the person running the tasting and will be happy to answer any questions.
New Zealand’s waters produce some of the best seafood delicacies in the world. Whether you are happy eating freshly caught snapper and chips out of newspaper on the beach, or fine-dining on plump, juicy Bluff oysters at a fancy restaurant on Wellington’s waterfront, there is something for everyone here. Some other quintessential Kiwi seafood experiences that are not to be missed include succulent green-lipped mussels from Marlborough, whitebait fritters from the West Coast and barbecued crayfish in Kaikoura.
3. Craft beer
There is a craft beer revolution happening around the world and New Zealand has more than its fair share of innovative, independent brewers giving it a go and producing some really tasty tipples. It certainly helps that it is a great country for growing hops; most of which are exported and used to produce craft beer all over the world.
Wellington and Nelson have a good selection of breweries that you can visit. Some of our favourites include Garage Project and ParrotDog in Wellington. For pure enjoyment, you can’t beat trying a drop or two at Golden Bear Brewing on the wharf in Mapua on a sunny Sunday afternoon listening to live music.
4. Farmers’ markets
Local farmers’ markets are to be found in little towns as well as the cities all over New Zealand. Usually held early on a weekend morning they are bustling places with plenty of fresh, locally grown produce and homemade delicacies – ideal for picnic lunches. Some of our favourites include the Hawke’s Bay market held in Hastings every Sunday, where you can enjoy live music in a rural setting, and the Saturday morning market in Nelson which combines produce and local arts and crafts, where you can wander happily for hours.
Kiwis love a good coffee and nowhere more so than in Wellington; where you will find the highest concentration of cafes anywhere in the country. Wellingtonians are experienced connoisseurs of the black stuff so if you are looking for a great cup just ask any local or look for the biggest queue.
A Hāngī is a traditional cooking method used by Māori where food is wrapped up and placed on hot stones in a pit, covered over with earth to trap in the heat and left to slow cook for 3 or 4 hours. Food usually consists of meat or fish and root vegetables. The cooking process leaves the food deliciously tender and smoky. Take part in this unique cultural experience in the Bay of Islands or in Rotorua, where the cooking process is helped along by the geothermal steam that seeps from the ground here.
Please do enquire for any further information on trips with an emphasis on food and wine and we will have more exciting sample itineraries available to you in the near future!