Famously fertile soil, a temperate climate and the surrounding sea make New Zealand a premier source of ingredients.
Enjoy the freshest lamb and seafood with local seasonal produce. New Zealand’s food evolution has been matched with the rise of kiwi wines. With more than 500 wineries nationwide, many with international reputations, there’s no shortage of tasting opportunities for wine enthusiasts. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is iconic and New Zealand Pinot Noir is increasingly popular.
New Zealand also offers a number of truly unforgettable dining venues in naturally stunning settings.
World-class food and wine can be found right across New Zealand. Here are a few regions to note:
A selection of fine eating establishments, from award winning bistros to ethnic fusion restaurants. The nearby wine regions of Waiheke Island, Matakana and Kumeu offer delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Auckland Seafood School is a great way to learn how to prepare innovative, mouth-watering meals with fresh New Zealand seafood.
Bay of Plenty and Rotorua
Savour the best kiwifruit and avocados in the area surrounding Tauranga, or enjoy a traditional Maori hangi (a cooking method using hot rocks and steam to cook under the ground) in Rotorua. At Te Puia you can enjoy dinner under the stars against a backdrop of geysers and steam vents. The Redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest is an open-air venue amongst towering Californian redwood trees and native bush.
Known as the ‘Fruit Bowl of New Zealand’ and renowned for its fresh local produce and artisan food producers. Home to New Zealand’s oldest farmers’ market, it’s also the country’s oldest wine-making region, known for award-winning Cabernet Merlot and Syrah wines. A meal amongst the vines is a great way to finish a guided tour of the more than 35 cellar doors along the Hawke’s Bay Wine Trail.
Experience Wellington’s chic café culture and world-class coffee. Zest Food Tours offers a relaxed walking tour of Wellington’s best food destinations, culminating in a three course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines. Wellington is close to the wine regions of Wairarapa and Marlborough and is also New Zealand’s unofficial craft beer capital.
Nelson and Marlborough
Sip some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc wine and sample delicious Greenshell Mussels in Marlborough. The region’s other specialty - seafood - has seen the settlement of Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds dubbed the ‘Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World’, while Nelson restaurants are the ideal place to try scallops and other shellfish gathered from nearby Tasman and Golden Bay.
Sample award winning Pinot Noir and Riesling in the Waipara wine-making region, 40 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. The region is also well known for its olive groves and nut farms. For passionate cooks, Akaroa Cooking School, southeast of Christchurch, was named one of the top ten places to learn to cook the local cuisine by Lonely Planet in 2011. The school offers a range of one day cooking demonstrations with a focus on fresh local produce.
Queenstown and Central Otago
New Zealand’s highest wine-making region, Central Otago, is recognised for producing some of the world’s best Pinot Noir. There are 200 vineyards within an hour and a half’s drive of Queenstown, known for its fine dining restaurants and award-winning chefs. Try the ‘Trust the Chef Menu’ at Amisfield Winery and Bistro, a selection of dishes that are designed to be shared, and chosen by the Chef with the freshest seasonal ingredients available.