Let’s be honest, any getaway must (must!) involve delicious food and drink. But there’s no need to jet off to the other side of the globe to get amongst mouth-watering fare. New Zealand is a total foodie paradise with no shortage of fresh, local cuisine—not to mention our world-renown wines!
And no one knows this better than Air New Zealand. Our national carrier flies to 21 ports across the country. From Wellington and Gisborne to Hokitika and Invercargill, there’s no shortage of foodie getaways to have this year. Here are eight New Zealand gems to put on your 2018 bucket list.
From caffeine loading and vineyard hopping to rooftop drinking and market feasting, Wellington is a total foodie hub. Slurp on Snickers milkshakes from Fidel’s, mince and cheese dumplings (!) from Mr Go’s and salted caramel rum from C.G.R. Merchant and Co. Pro tip: visit in August to time your visit with the annual Visa Wellington On a Plate. The region-wide culinary takeover is all about burgers, cocktails, pop-ups and other mouth-watering events.
The sunshine capital of New Zealand is brimming with wineries and craft breweries. Hire a bike to cycle the breath-taking rural landscape among the vineyards, apple orchards and farms—total bliss. Dine overlooking the water at Jellyfish Restaurant & Bar and get amongst innovative cocktails at Cod & Lobster. No visit to Nelson is complete without checking out The Nelson Market held every Saturday morning. You’ll find everything from local honey, Dutch oilebol doughnuts and Nelson’s world-famous Pic’s Peanut Butter.
Hokitika isn’t usually top of mind when it comes to foodie getaways—but it should be! Visit during whitebait season to feast on fritters and a whitebait-laden pizza from Fat Pipi Pizzas. Those with a daring palate can tantalise their taste buds at the famous Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March. You’ll find a smorgasbord of obscure delights including huhu grubs, deep-fried pig’s ears and fish eyes… shudder! Check out Porky’s Takeaways for unmissable fish’n’chips and grab a classic steak and mushroom pie from Clocktower Cafe.
If you’re equal parts foodie and surfer, put Gisborne on your 2018 hit-list. Head down to the surf in the morning and grab brunch from Peppers Beachfront Bar & Cafe (FYI the venison burger is insane) before embarking on a wine tour in the arvo. As the unofficial chardonnay capital of New Zealand, Gisborne is jam-packed with stunning vineyards and wineries. Finish the day with French fare from Marina Restaurant or pick up finger-licking fish’n’chips from Captain Morgans before heading to the beach for sunset.
Get your Instagram at the ready—Napier is a total Art Deco gem. Gorgeous buildings aside, you’ll also find oodles of artisans and a city-wide focus on local, seasonal produce. Devour fresh seafood at Pacifica restaurant, wander the weekly Urban Farmers’ Market and satisfy your sweet tooth with an injectable doughnut from Mister D. Wash it down with a wine (or two)—the Hawke’s Bay region is known for its syrah, merlot and chardonnay. You’ll find all your faves including Sacred Hill, Craggy Range and Church Road.
You can’t call yourself a wine enthusiast until you’ve sipped your way around Blenheim. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region with more than 140 wineries. Let that sink in for a moment—more than 140 wineries! Take in sweeping views of the region (sauv in hand, of course) at Brancott Estate or Dog Point Vineyard. If visiting the latter, be sure to stay at the on-site bed and breakfast, The Bell Tower—the boutique luxury accommodation is nothing short of stunning. Head to Gramado’s for flavoursome Brazilian dishes, Watery Mouth Café for creamy milkshakes and visit Arbour for fine dining at its, err, finest. You’ll also find an abundance of seafood with local restaurants serving up fresh fish and local shellfish.
Kicking it at the bottom of New Zealand, Invercargill is all about good, honest Kiwi fare. Here you’ll find the Southland port of Bluff—known and loved for arguably the world’s finest oysters. Book tickets in May to time your foodie getaway with the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival. The day-long event showcases wild foods, music and oyster-eating competitions. Oysters aside, be sure to devour one (or several) of Invercargill’s famous cheese rolls. The airport cafe sells some of the city’s finest so you can nab one on touchdown! Invercargill also has an impressive cafe scene with Zookeepers Cafe, The Batch Cafe and The Grille (a quirky spot within the Bill Richardson Transport Museum with the BEST hot chocolate) all deserving spots on your to-visit list.
Last and in no ways least, no list of foodie hotspots would be complete without a mention of Auckland. This vibrant, multi-cultural city has every cuisine on offer. From mouth-watering burgers and moreish dumplings to handcrafted pasta and lick-your-plate-clean curry, every craving is catered for. Wine and dine overlooking the water at Viaduct Harbour or Wynyard Quarter. In the heart of the city, Britomart and Federal Street are bustling with modern, world-class restaurants. Must-try goodies include pork belly bao from The Blue Breeze Inn, turbot sliders from Depot and Giapo’s epic (and oh-so Instagrammable) gelato.
Is that your tummy we hear rumbling? Ours too! Book your next foodie getaway with Air New Zealand—there are 21 destinations to eat and drink your way around.
Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Air New Zealand and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Natasha van der Laan, Camilla Rutherford, Jaiden Bhaga, Ariana Gillrieand supplied.