The 2019 New Zealand Food and Wine Festivals you need to know

New Zealand isn’t only about the adventure of throwing yourself from planes and bridges. Yes, it’s phenomenal for sport and dare-devil activities, but it’s also absolute heaven for food and wine connoisseurs everywhere. The first time I went, I got so lost in the country’s wineries that I nearly forgot all about the booking I had made to go tubing through the glow worm caves – and not because I was too tipsy!

In honour of Kiwi food and wine culture, we’ve rounded up your go-to list of the festivals you need to attend in 2019. Eat and drink to your heart’s content!

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

2018 Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
Photo from Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

Who: Adventurous Eaters

Where: Hokitika, South Island

When: 9 March 2019

What: The annual festival is totally wild, just as its name suggests. From delicacies like Whitebait and Venison to things where you might second guess it’s edibleness, like lamb testicles and possum kebabs, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is one to sink your teeth into. It’s not just about the food either – there is plenty of live music, beer, buskers and a kiddie corner to keep the little ones occupied. Then there is the fancy dress contest, which is definitely not so fancy. Actually, it’s rather feral as you wear your finest in wilderness gear.

Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic

Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic
Photo from Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic Facebook

Who: Lovers of the finer things in life

Where: Hawke’s Bay, North Island

When: 7-30 June 2019

What: You won’t find odd-ball fancy dress here. Hawke’s Bay is all about fine wines and gourmet dishes for the true gastronome. The winter event hosts 60 food and wine events across four weekends! Dig into the best winter delights New Zealand has to offer, paired with warming red wines and a bit of cosying on up next to a roaring fire, and you’re in for some serious bliss.

Visa Wellington on a Plate

Visa Wellington on a Plate
Photo from Visa Wellington on a Plate Facebook

Who: Burger enthusiasts everywhere

Where: Wellington, North Island

When: All of August 2019

What: New Zealand’s capital city knows how to treat a foodie right. For the entire month of August, you get to ride around Wellington (it’s not just in one spot) and taste the best of the region. We’re most looking forward to their ‘Beervana’ craft beer weekend, pop-up restaurants and the burger takeover.

Whitianga Scallop Festival

Whitianga Scallop Festival
Photo from Whitianga Scallop Festival

Who: Scallop aficionados

Where: Whitianga, North Island

When: 21 September 2019

What: If you love scallops, this festival is a must-do. The concept is pretty simple – lots of scallops prepared in as many ways as you can dream of. Along with all the scallops you can eat, there are live bands and scallop cooking classes. And of course, there is the sea themed fancy dress contest!

Toast Martinborough

Toast Martinborough
Photo from Toast Martinborough Facebook

Who: Wine-os

Where: Martinborough, North Island

When: 17 November 2019

What: Take a tour of Martinborough’s vineyards during this one-day festival just outside of Wellington. During this classiest of pub crawls, you are shuttled by bus from one winery to the next. It’s not just about the wine either; the festival showcases stunning foods and tons of musical acts. We’ll be there with bells on.

Taste of Auckland

Taste of Auckland
Photo from Taste of Auckland

Who: Full-blown and wannabe gourmands

Where: Auckland, North Island

When: November (exact dates TBA)

What: Set against Waitemata Harbour, Taste of Auckland showcases Auckland’s best chefs, winemakers, brewers and musicians, in a 4-day event that is true foodie heaven. And for those curious, there are interactive masterclasses where you can learn the secrets of Auckland’s finest chefs.

Read also: 6 Amazing F&B Festivals in the USA

Are you hungry yet?

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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