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10 of New Zealand’s best food & wine regions

New Zealand is renowned for being a nature wonderland, having hospitable locals and the Maori culture. However, did you know that New Zealand has an innovative culinary culture? It is a fine food and wine destination for discerning foodies.

A world reputation for producing award-winning locally grown produce. This young country has also come of age as a producer of internationally acclaimed wines. With an ideal climate for wine growing, there are six major grape growing regions which are all surrounded by alluring landscapes.

Visit award-winning wineries, farmers markets, fine dining restaurants, cosy cafes and roadside stalls. The unique cuisine of the Maori is also sure to tantalise your tastebuds. New Zealand also has one of the world’s best oysters in the world and a bountiful supply of fresh seafood to try. A dream escape for the food and wine connoisseur.

Dine at award-winning restaurants in New Zealand

Which are New Zealand's best food & wine regions?

Central Otago & Queenstown

Are you ready for a taste sensation? Central Otago is sure to take you on a culinary journey. Featuring world-class wines including some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, this region is a wine lover’s haven. Within a 40-minute drive from Queenstown, you can find over 200 wineries.

Queenstown is a picturesque town surrounded by rugged mountains, situated next to Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is renowned for being an adventure playground with countless thrill-seeking activities to keep you busy. However, this special place also offers some of the best restaurants and bars in New Zealand.

Surrounded by an array of wineries and vineyards, predominantly featuring Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With award-winning cafes, fine dining and an iconic burger takeaway, Queenstown is sure to impress you.

Sleep between the vines in the Central Otago region

Kaikoura

Located in the Canterbury region, the small seaside town of Kaikoura is a water wonderland. Many tourists come here for the spectacular whale watching and swimming with dolphins. However, after you learn the Maori meaning of Kaikoura, you may have a different reason to visit.

In Maori ‘kai’ means food and ‘koura’ means crayfish. Yes, this town lives up to its name and has some of the best crayfish in the world. You can indulge in delicious and freshly caught crayfish from a local street van or in a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

One of the most famous street vans to savour crayfish is ‘Nin Bins’. Owned and operated by a local family since 1977. Their menu is simple and affordable, serving crayfish and mussels. And with the unbelievable views, it is a true Kiwi experience. Are you ready to savour crayfish by the sea?

Enjoy fresh and local produce in Kaikoura

Martinborough

In the heart of the New Zealand Wine Trail is Martinborough, a charming wine village. Located on the southern part of the North Island. This small town is full of character and produces some of New Zealand’s most excellent premium wines.

There are over 20 wineries and cellar doors to choose from. All within walking and cycling distance. Many are small producers and family-owned, making them even more special. Many people visit here for a day, but we recommend spending a couple of days to truly experience this place.

Wine tasting in Martinborough | New Zealand holiday
Sample local flavours in Martinborough

Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands, a water wonderland which is made up of 144 untouched islands. Located three and a half hours from Auckland, it is a favourite place for locals in the summertime. As well as natural beauty, this region is also exploding with a sensational culinary scene.

From eating fish and chips by the beach and watching the sunset to fine dining restaurants, local pubs and cafes. There is something for all tastes. The Bay of Islands boasts a Mediterranean climate, which means wineries are abundant too. Growing an array of white varieties which are full-bodied and have rich flavours. Here, you can try Chardonnays, Pinot Gris and vibrant Viogniers.

Culinary experiences with a view

Waipara Valley

Waipara Valley is food and wine lovers paradise. Featuring an array of vineyards, award-winning winery restaurants and a variety of unique local food producers, including olive and truffle growers. Meet locals at the pub and enjoy a classic pub meal or try local coffee at one of the cosy cafes.

Visit a tearoom for some home baking or embrace the New Zealand takeaway culture and eat a burger. Indulge in some wine tasting and admire the endless views. Truly, a remarkable place for food and wine.

Fish and chips | New Zealand holiday
Kiwi's love to eat fish and chips with a side of tomato sauce

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Blenheim & Marlborough

Welcome to New Zealand’s largest wine region, Marlborough. Home to the world-famous Sauvignon blanc, an exquisite wine that boasts a pungent, crisp and zesty flavour. The area is also well known for producing Pinot Noir. During your stay, dine at a winery restaurant and indulge in a leisurely lunch, pairing the wine with local produce.

A real culinary experience in Marlborough. Go on a salmon or mussel cruise over the Marlborough Sounds or visit an organic, biodynamic or sustainable winery. The charming town, Blenheim can be found in the heart of Marlborough. It is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand and is surrounded by over 100 wineries and 30 cellar doors.

Wander or cycle through the vines
Learn about the process of wine making

Wellington

After the 92-kilometre ferry crossing from Picton, you will reach the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. Known as the culinary capital of New Zealand, this gem is sure to delight. A colourful city bursting with a vibrant creative culture, fabulous food, quality wine, great coffee and an array of local events.

Wellington has over 20 craft beer bars and breweries, food markets, coffee roasteries and cafes, modern vegan and vegetarian restaurants and an abundance of fine dining. Take a stroll down Hannah’s Laneway, located in the heart of the CBD to sample some local flavours.

Dining in Wellington | New Zealand holiday
Go on a culinary journey in New Zealand's capital city
Go on a 'foodie' tour with a local guide

“I spent 5 years living in Wellington and it is my favourite city in New Zealand. There is art, culture, coffee and a fantastic food scene."

Brooke, Product manager

Hawke’s Bay & Napier

A region renowned for sunshine, wine and local food producers, Hawke’s Bay is wine country. New Zealand’s second-largest wine region and the country’s oldest winemaking region. It is also one of the best places to discover traditional Maori food.

Regional chefs are constantly inspired with a range of sensational ingredients to choose from, supplied by the local growers and artisan food producers. In Napier, a city renowned for its Art Deco buildings, you will find a weekly traditional farmer’s market. This area is a foodie’s dream, you can find local cheese, honey, olives, wine and much more.

Stay at small-scale accommodations, surrounded by vines in Hawke's Bay
Wake up to home-made breakfasts, prepared by local hosts

Rotorua

Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with natural hot springs, bubbling mud pools and sulphur-rich air. This part of New Zealand is also renowned for showcasing the Maori culture. Watch a traditional Maori cultural performance, complete with singing, dancing and the haka, a war dance.

Have an authentic experience tasting local food cooked in a traditional Maori way in an earth oven - called a Hangi. A way for the community to come together, this method of cooking involves wrapping baskets of food in a damp cloth and burying them with fire-heated rocks in a pit. The earth traps the heat and steam, slow-cooking the food to perfection. Real food made love.

Traditional Hangi | New Zealand holiday
Experience a traditional 'hangi' in Rotorua

Matakana

Matakana is an extraordinary destination for foodies, wine lovers and beachgoers. A place that is renowned for its food and wine scene. Featuring artisanal food, award-winning wine, over 30 boutique vineyards and olive groves.

Many of the local restaurants primarily use fresh local produce. You can purchase this at the famous farmer’s market. Matakana Village Farmers Market is held every Saturday in the fresh country air with a focus on fresh, sustainable and local artisan goods. Prepare your palette for Matakana.

Join the locals and visit the Matakana Village Farmers Market
Sample locally grown produce at the Matakana farmers market

Auckland

Aucklanders love their food and wine. The city has a booming culinary scene, offering a diverse range of delicious food and wine to suit all appetites. During your visit, you can discover the city’s coffee culture, watch as local baristas show off their coffee art.

Embrace the local brunch culture, with endless options to choose from, it is a fabulous way to start your day. Visit the Auckland Seafood Market and be tempted by the fresh catch of the day. No matter what you choose, you are sure to leave Auckland satisfied.

Taste the coffee culture in Auckland

Would you like to hear more about the food scene in New Zealand? We would love to tell you more about this enticing mix of food and wine.

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