Beautiful landscapes produce beautiful flavours. In these parts you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s finest wineries, eateries and producers.
Start your journey in Christchurch, sampling artisan treats and fresh produce at the South Island’s favourite farmers’ market, or in the vibrant inner-city café scene. Take in lunch in the picturesque Waipara Valley, with its stunning wineries and restaurants.
On ocean’s edge, fresh seafood is Kaikōura’s star delicacy. You’ll never forget that first taste of freshly-caught ocean bounty straight from the wharf—nor the view that accompanies it. Then top off your holiday with a swim and a soak in Hanmer Springs—and maybe a slice of gas-fired pizza or two.
It’s only a leisurely two-and-a-half hour drive north to Kaikōura, but why rush? Take some time to explore Christchurch’s exciting food scene and relax in the sunshine of the stunning Waipara Valley wine region.
Christchurch Farmers Market
Start your Saturday the way the locals do, strolling the beautiful and historic grounds of Riccarton House, a fresh coffee or juice in hand. It’s the perfect introduction to the region’s flavours, in the company of the local growers and artisan producers that congregate here every week.
“A beautiful setting and stalls that look and smell wonderful with gourmet creations not available elsewhere. What's not to love?"
"Great market for foodies with a wide variety to choose from – no matter what your taste.”Read more
Christchurch Central City Food Scene
Hungry for more? A 12-minute cycle or drive east will take you to Christchurch’s vibrant inner-city community of new and trendy cafes and restaurants, which explore fresh concepts with even fresher local ingredients.Read More
North Canterbury Wine Region (Waipara)
A short drive north and you’re in a relaxing oasis of world-renowned vineyards and wineries. Sit back and soak in the sunshine and scenery, taste a variety of rich and textural wines, lunch at critically-acclaimed restaurants, and pick up a bottle or two of the region’s finest to enjoy later.
Best known for exquisitely spicy Pinot Noirs and rich Rieslings, the region has a great reputation for other aromatic varieties such as Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer as well as its own distinctive take on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
“Chill out amongst the vines and soak in the incredible views.”
The Pier Hotel (Kaikōura)
Where better to try fresh seafood than right on the ocean’s edge? This circa-1885 bar and restaurant was built for the area’s fishermen and whalers, and they used their local knowledge to good effect: its sweeping views of the bay and the Kaikōura Ranges must be the best in town.
Its cosy open fire and yesteryear charm pairs beautifully with a delicious seasonal menu. And while there are a lot of great menu options, you can’t go pass what the town is renowned for: crayfish (lobster). Baked with garlic butter, you’ll be telling people about that meal long after you’re back home.
“You expect great seafood in Kaikōura and this is it! Unconditionally recommend this place”Read more
As the sun rises on day 2, you’re waking in one of the world’s great culinary meccas. This is your opportunity to sample a unique menu of seafood delicacies—so make the most of it! Grouper, cod, mussels, paua (abalone) are all exceptional here. You’re going to be spoiled for choice.
From Kaikōura, indulge your other senses on the scenic inland route to charming alpine village Hanmer Springs. Nestled amongst mountains and forests, with crisp alpine air and award-winning natural thermal pools, it’s a magical place straight out of a fairytale.
Take to the Water
You’ve enjoyed the food, now see where it came from. The waters off the Kaikōura coast exist above a unique near-shore canyon, which has created a marine ecosystem you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Meet it up close! Skilled, friendly and knowledgeable locals provide tours introducing visitors to the local whale, dolphin, seal and bird populations. Simply delightful!Read More
Hop on Over to a Craft Brewery
Day 1 was all about the wine. Today, make it beer. Kaikōura’s Emporium Brewing is a great place to enjoy some local brews.
The folks there won three medals at the 2018 Annual Brewer’s Guild Awards, so rest assured, Emporium has something for the casual beer drinker and the connoisseur alike. Buy a bottle or two, or fill up a flagon or rigger for the road.
“Pure hoppiness!”Read more
MK Restaurant (Hanmer Springs)
You’ve taken a one-of-a-kind drive. End it with a one-of-a-kind experience. There’s not many places you could expect to dine on exquisite dumplings from around the world in an alpine village high in the mountains.
MK Restaurants aims to give their guests "the most delicious dumplings known throughout the world by using a modern way of cooking, including molecular and traditional technques". Pierogies, gyoza, pasties, pelmeni, calzone, empanadas--it's a trip around the world in one of its most beautiful spots.
Customers rave about the exquisite service and attention to detail. This is one place that will take pride of place in your conversations, and your Instagram feed.
No.31 (Hanmer Springs)
You’ll love Hanmer’s cosy and welcoming vibe. And one of the best places to enjoy that is No.31 Restaurant Bar, housed in a quaint character cottage with open fire, wooden floors, candle-lit tables and French doors opening on to a private courtyard.
No.31 is an award-winning à la carte restaurant specialising in modern European/New Zealand cuisine. Its carefully-crafted menu is the perfect way to cap off your day—particularly if you try the venison. Everyone raves about it!
"High class in Hanmer Springs"Read more
Your journey is drawing to an end, but there’s still plenty to savour and enjoy. Whether you're after a quick bite to eat or five-course fine dining, Hanmer’s friendly locals have you covered. The village has a variety of cafes, takeaway shops and casual dining options, as well as high-end restaurants which pair tremendous use of local produce with tremendous world-class service.
Hot Pizza and Hot Pools
When people visit Hanmer, a visit to the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is always top of the must-visit list. Its mineral-filled water, indulgent experiences and tranquil surroundings make for a rare kind of joy. Once you’re there, you’ll want to stay as long as possible.
But you don’t need to choose between relaxation and lunch. The Tea Kiosk and Café, overlooking the pools, is famous for its outstanding handmade pizzas, cooked to order in a gas-fired pizza oven. Enjoy one with a glass of local wine or beer while watching the waters, the redwoods or the mountains, before spending a blissful afternoon soaking in the pools.
“Handmade with heart.”Read more
Waiau River Estate
You’re on the way home with a new batch of life-long memories, but there’s one more to add. Stop in at the Waiau River Estate, a small, family-owned boutique vineyard and cellar door. The stunning views from the banks of the Waiau River will end your weekend on the perfect note.
There’s no set menu here. Instead, you’ll find platters of locally-sourced ingredients selected for the season and the day, ready to be matched with a glass of their delicious wine.
Sit down, relax, take in the stunning scenery, and bask in the pleasure of a weekend well-spent.
“The wine is top notch, the platter we were recommended with the homemade bread and dips was one of the tastiest on our journey, and the views were spectacular”
Set under the oaks in Glenmark Domain is the coolest little wine festival in the country.
Enjoy an eclectic range of food stalls, a diverse selection of North Canterbury wine, quality live music and family friendly entertainment.
Whether you're 5 or 85, whether you fancy a drop of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, whether you're in it for the dancing or the picnicking… you’ll love this day out.
Bond with the locals and celebrate the bounty of this year's harvest.Read more
The iconic Nin's Bin caravan has been a favourite stop for Kiwis heading up the coast from Christchurch to Kaikōura for many generations.
The ultimate seafood treat, this gem is sure to exceed your expectations.
Enjoy crayfish freshly caught that morning right on the beach and watch the fur seals play in the ocean.
“Sweet, juicy and full of flavour - every bit as good as the crays that my Dad used to catch.”Read more
It wouldn't be a real Kiwi summer without great gelato, especially on those scorching hot days. Luckily in Christchurch, it's pretty easy to get your cravings sorted as there’s no shortage of talented traders serving up the perfect treat.
Rollickin' Gelato is a local favourite, serving up house made organic gelato & sorbet creations. For all of those who like it a bit more classy, the dark chocolate gelato is irresistible. And when you're there, don't forget to check out their Chocolate Tap!
"Heaven in a cone"Read more
The Bone Line Walkway is a pleasant stroll for all walking levels.
The 2.1 kilometres walk takes you through the Bone Line vineyard with beautiful views of Waipara valley.
Allow 50 mins to complete the walk. Then book for a wine tasting to finish.
Your tour begins with an expedition into Greystone vineyard
Your personal tour guide will show you the different varieties that grow on unique soils and get the chance to taste wines right by the source.
You will then head to the winery to see how we make wine. No much will be given away, but you will taste and experience wine straight from the barrel.
Finish your adventure at the private wine tasting den with a look at the current releases and a platter to match.
Book now or find out more:
Set under the oaks in Glenmark Domain, the Waipara Valley Wine & Food Festival is an independent, fete-like event that celebrates North Canterbury's wineries alongside local food producers and restaurants of the region.
The Hanmer Half Marathon takes competitors on a unique journey through Hanmer Forest amongst amazing mountain scenery. This is a great pre race for the Christchurch Marathon.
The Bivouac Outdoor Mt Isobel Challenge is a mountain duathlon which takes place in the picturesque village of Hanmer Springs.