A Taste of New Zealand
Food that is individually prepared, personal, local, the best of our game meats, our lamb, beef and superb fresh and salt water fish and shell fish, stone fruit, honeys, olive oils, artisan cheeses (cow, sheep and goat), herbs from the garden and eggs from your hosts or a local free-range producer. Try some of the great local beers as well as the world class wines (not just sauvignon, but also pinot, riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris and syrah). Not to mention the small ice-cream companies churning out beautiful flavours such as salted caramel, green tea, mascarpone, orange and date, fig and honey, kaffir lime and ginger or dairy free coconut and lime.
Seasonal Produce Guide
- December & January
- cherries and apricots, berries
- good availability of sheep cheeses
- new season lamb
- nelson scallops
- February & March
- plums, peaches, nectarines
- April & May
- apples, pears, tamarillos, feijoas, kiwi fruit
- Bluff oysters
- grape harvest time for many of our vineyards
- July & August, October & November
- citrus fruit
A gourmet itinerary might take in Waiheke Island (small artisan vineyards and some of the country's best olive oils), fly across to the Hawkes Bay (superb wine and orchards), travel south to enjoy the restaurants and food scene in Wellington, take the ferry to Picton and base your self in Blenheim to sample New Zealand's best sauvignon blanc wines and green lipped mussels. Drive down the sea-food rich east coast to Oamaru and Dunedin (both small historic towns that have become foodie and seafood hubs) and thence through the Southern Alps to Central Otago Pinot Noir, the Gibbston Valley and Queenstown (venison, wine, stone fruit).
New Zealand History & Culture
New Zealand has two very distinct though interwoven histories; the history of settlement mainly from 1840 onwards by Europeans who discovered it in 1642 and the history of Maori settlement from the 13th Century on (though precise dating on this is uncertain and oral history indicates earlier settlement). Both are fascinating stories of adapting to and exploring a very rugged and wild landscape, but a land of opportunity for fishing, sealing and whaling, food production, gold or pounamu (greenstone) mining, settlement and development. New Zealand was one of the last countries in the world to experience human settlement. Maori culture is most obvious in the North Island, especially in areas like Rotorua and there are several opportunities in the Green Collection to visit and learn about Maori culture. A visit to Te Papa in Wellington is an absolute must with interesting and well curated exhibitions of New Zealand culture, art and history.
Te Puia is a Maori cultural centre 5 minutes from Rotorua where you can watch master carvers at work in the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute as well as visiting a thermal valley with geysers and hot springs. There is also a kiwi conservation centre there.
Waimarama Maori Tours offer an absolutely unique window into current as well as centuries old Maori history and a very personal tour of Hawkes Bay.
Further south the iconic high country stations of New Zealand's Southern Alps are fascinating to explore, for their early settler history, amazing scenery, farming ingenuity and spectacular 4WD and off-road adventures. Molesworth and Ridgeline Tours and Nomad Safaris offer genuine high country farm experiences. Towns such as Oamaru, Dunedin, Arrowtown and Queenstown were centres for gold trading in the midst of the New Zealand gold rush decade of the 1860s. In the North Island Waihi on the Coromandel joined in on the rush for the "colour". Tours of the many secret cave art sites in the Oamaru district are fascinating with the Ngai Tahu tribe's Te Ana Maori Rock Art.
Yes New Zealand is an adventurer's paradise, but it also offers life at an unhurried pace, small characterful towns, beautiful empty beaches, gloriously pristine lakes and quiet river valleys to enjoy at your own pace. If you really want to feel "away-from-it-all" and take time out for slow travel many of our accommodations are in beautiful settings close by but away from the hustle and bustle of major destinations. Barbary Sailing on Lake Taupo is a special experience that allows you to enjoy this vast, magnificent lake at a slow pace for an evening sail or an early morning cruise. Sailing is a birthright for many New Zealanders, from the arrival of the great Maori canoes to the America's Cup yacht race and Auckland, our City of Sails. Another very relaxing and very "kiwi" thing to do is to experience one of our thermal hot pools. One of the benefits of the thermal activity in areas such as the Central Plateau region is the gorgeous natural thermal spas, mud pools and treatments. Perfect after a day fishing or hiking over a Volcano. Rotorua and Taupo specialise in spa treatments but there are also hot pool areas on the South Island's West Coast at Franz Josef Glacier. Many lodges have gorgeous outdoor baths or hot-tubs under the stars.
Gourmet & Culture
- Winery Tour Central Otago Queenstown, Southern Lakes
- Wine & Gourmet Tours Waiheke Island, Auckland
- Auckland Bay of Islands Private Tour Auckland
- Auckland & Maori Culture Day Tours Auckland
- Private Tours - Art, Maori & Gourmet Hawkes Bay
- Scenic Train Ride, Pottery & Sanctuary Coromandel, Coromandel Peninsula
- Dart River Funyak & Wilderness Jet Glenorchy & Queenstown
- Birding & Photography Tours Blenheim, Marlborough
- Marlborough Wine & Gourmet Tours Blenheim, Picton & Havelock
- Tarquin Luxury Boat Charter Blenheim, Picton & Havelock
- Marlborough Sounds Cruise Blenheim, Picton & Havelock
- Molesworth 4WD Farm Tour Express Blenheim, Marlborough
- Bike, Wine & Dine Private Tours Blenheim, Marlborough
- Wine & Gourmet Tours Hawkes Bay
- Aviation Museum & Biplane Joyrides Blenheim, Marlborough
- Geothermal Park Tour between Rotorua and Taupo
- Fly, Gather, Dine Nelson Region
- High Country 4WD Farm Safari Wanaka, Southern Lakes
- National Museum & Cultural Tours Wellington
- Personal Maori Experience Havelock North, Hawkes Bay
- Art, Wilderness & Wine Private Tours Nelson Region
- Taieri Gorge & Seasider Trains Dunedin, Otago
- Wellington Art, Wine & City Tours Wellington
- Maori Rock Art Tours Timaru, Canterbury
- Maori Arts & Thermal Valley Rotorua, Central Plateau