Top 10 Food & Wine Experiences

You are here

New Zealand is a paradise for food and wine lovers. Make sure you include some of these Top 10 experiences in your New Zealand holiday.

Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

Experience three of our best wine regions on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Cycle the vines or be chauffeur driven; you’ll find cellar doors open for tasting and lovely vineyard restaurants in abundance. The Hawke's Bay is well-known for Bordeaux Blends, Syrah and Chardonnay, Martinborough boasts wonderful Pinot Noir, and Marlborough has world-class Sauvignon Blanc.

Marlborough
Wine tasting, Marlborough

By Kieran Scott

Experience the world-famous Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough

Seafood

More than 15,000 kilometres of coastline provides a wealth of seafood throughout New Zealand. Local specialties include crayfish in Kaikoura, Bluff oysters in Southland, greenshell mussels in Marlborough, and whitebait patties on the West Coast. The uninitiated might like to start with the soft texture and mild taste of scallops from The Coromandel.

Marlborough
Greenshell mussels, Marlborough

By Kier

Pulling up Greenshell mussels in Kenepuru Sound

Māori hāngī or 'roast dinner'

Taste the smoky flavours and enjoy the communal experience of the hāngī. This indigenous Māori 'roast dinner' is cooked in the earth using hot rocks. Hāngī experiences usually include a traditional welcome ceremony and cultural performance, and can be found in Rotorua, Northland and Christchurch.

New Zealand
Hangi, New Zealand

By Sarah M Stewart

Try hangi - delicious meat and veggies cooked in an earth oven

Coffee

Coffee is an obsession in New Zealand, especially in the cities. We drink it strong and fresh – the Kiwi flat white has become world-famous. Simply ask the locals where to find a good brew.

Auckland
Coffee, Auckland

By Flickr

Coffee in New Zealand

Farmers markets

Get up early on a weekend and mingle with the locals at a farmers' market. Enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables, and take home treats like jam, pickles and handmade bread. Look out for quintessentially kiwi flavours like kiwifruit and feijoa.

Auckland
Matakana Farmers' Market, Auckland

By Ben Crawford

Held every Saturday morning in Matakana (Auckland), this is the place to try delights such as organic spiced hot chocolate and Puhoi cheese.

Craft beer

Craft beers are a growing phenomenon in New Zealand, and microbreweries can be found all over the place, especially Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Auckland. You’ll even find specially brewed ale at Hobbiton Movie Set’s Green Dragon Inn, in Matamata.

New Zealand
Southfarthing Ale, New Zealand

By Hobbiton Movie Set

Drink Southfarthing Ale at Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata

Mānuka honey

This world-famous honey has natural antibacterial properties. It’s used in a wide range of foods, drinks, health products and skin care, and is a favourite take-home souvenir. To experience a full range of honey-sweetened delights, head to a honey specialist – like the Bay of Islands Honey ShopHuka Honey Hive, and the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre. Comvita, near Tauranga, offers guided tours which teach you all about honeybees.

Nelson
Locally made honey, Nelson

By Kieran Scott

Visit a honey centre to taste delicious treats and buy special gifts to take home

Cheese

New Zealand’s strong dairy industry has allowed the rise of some highly skilled cheese makers. Taste handmade blue, vintage and soft cheeses; favourite local brands include Puhoi, Kapiti, Kahurangi and Whitestone. If you don't have time to seek out an artisan cheese store, pick up a wedge from the supermarket, or better yet, order a cheese platter when you go wine tasting.

New Zealand produces delicious artisanal cheeses

Excellent local cheeses include Gibbston Valley Vintage Cheddar, Gruff Junction Gouda, Kawarau Blue and Whitestone Lindis Pass.

Margaret Swaine Culinary travel writer @globaltaster
www.margaretswaine.com

Pick your own fruit

If you’re visiting any time between December and June, you may like to head out and pick your own fruit. New Zealand has all sorts of berries and stone fruit in summer, while pears, apples and citrus come on in autumn. At Berrylands in Nelson, you can pick your own strawberries and then blend them into ice cream at the orchard café.

Nelson
Pick your own, Nelson

By Kieran Scott

Picking your own is a fun way to experience the countryside and taste fruit fresh from the source

Auckland and Central Otago wineries

If you can’t do the Classic Wine Trail, or you'd like to add to it, you’ll find important wine regions within easy reach of Auckland and Queenstown. Waiheke Island, ‘the island of wine’, is just a 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, while beautiful Matakana and historic Kumeu are within an hour’s drive of the city.

From Queenstown, take a day trip to explore the numerous wineries of Central Otago. This region is famous for stunning Pinot Noir, which is well-matched with another New Zealand specialty – succulent lamb.

Auckland
Waiheke Island, Auckland

By Tourism New Zealand

Enjoy over 20 unique wineries on a paradise island just 35mins by ferry from Auckland's CBD.

Find & book flights

Next on your journey

Food & Wine →

Favourite New Zealand foods →

New Zealand's must-eat seafood →