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
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
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
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
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!
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
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