Food & wine

Top 10 Food & Wine Experiences

Fresh, innovative and delicious, New Zealand's flavoursome food and world-class wine are not to be missed.

Food and wine is an essential ingredient in a New Zealand experience – whether that’s fine dining or casual outdoor meals, tasting at the cellar door, mingling with local producers at farmers markets, or an authentic Maori hangi experience.

Innovative New Zealand chefs combine ingredients freshly harvested from garden, land and sea while Pacific influences, organics and indigenous foods make it unique. And, taste is paramount.

Wherever you plan to holiday in New Zealand, there’ll be a local delicacy or tipple to tempt your taste buds, so make sure you include some of these Top 10 experiences in your itinerary.

  1. For the quintessential wine experience, hire a car and follow the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail through three wine regions, and leave plenty of time to stop, savour and appreciate.
     
  2. No New Zealand fine dining experience would be truly complete without a glass or two of award-winning pinot noir – take your pick from Central Otago, in the south, or Martinborough, in the north – and the perfect match for succulent New Zealand lamb.
     
  3. If you want an authentic New Zealand wine experience, the vineyards of Gisborne on the North Island’s sun-drenched east coast produce an especially fine chardonnay to toast your holiday dreams.
     
  4. At the top of the South Island, Marlborough is not only New Zealand’s biggest wine growing region it’s also the ‘green-lipped mussel capital of the world’ – for a match made in heaven try mussels and Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
     
  5. Get up early one weekend morning and mingle with the locals at a farmers market where you can buy fresh local fruit and veg, and take home treats like jam, honey, pickles and handmade bread.
     
  6. You won’t have to go to the bottom of New Zealand to sample a true blue Bluff oyster but if you want the freshest and juiciest just landed from the southern ocean, Southland is the place to be. 
     
  7. Work your way up to a thirst as you cycle your way through the vineyards in Hawke’s Bay or tackle a beer cycling tour around Nelson where you’ll have plenty of chances to sample the local vintage or brew.
     
  8. The South Island’s West Coast cooks up one of New Zealand’s most celebrated culinary delicacies the whitebait pattie - fished up from the river, tossed in egg and served with a local Monteith’s beer.
     
  9. Treat yourself to sensual taste sensations sampling fine chocolates with weird but wonderful fillings, or a super decadent hot chocolate, at a boutique chocolaterie in Greytown or Wellington.
     
  10. Join a cooking class and learn to cook like a master chef in one of the many cooking schools around the country. You’ll also get to meet some of New Zealand’s top foodies. 

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