Summer is the season to celebrate New Zealand’s best food and wine offerings. There’s no better way to do this than visiting a food festival, meeting the artisans and sampling their produce. For a full summer experience, you can make the festival part of a trip away to a beloved location or one you’re yet to visit. Here are just a few of the countless festivals occurring around NZ over the hotter months.
South Island Wine & Food Festival, Christchurch, Saturday 2 December 2017
This is a family-friendly festival taking place at Christchurch’s beautiful Hagley Park – home to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Head along to taste wines from the South Island’s world-class wineries, learn a thing in the wine seminar lounge and cooking theatre, dine on street or restaurant food and enhance your experience with a VIP ticket.
You can stay close-by at either of the two Kiwi Holiday Parks and Accommodation (KHPA) sites in Christchurch. Or make it a beach holiday by staying at Spencer Beach Holiday Park, a 25-minute drive from the South Island Wine & Food Festival.
Kapiti Food Fair, Paraparaumu, Saturday 2 December 2017
Free for those under 18 and held rain or shine, the Kapiti Food Fair promises to showcase New Zealand-made food and beverage. A celebrity chef will be in attendance and foodies will be entertained by a full programme of local performers.
Stay over the Haywards Hill at Wellington's Kiwi Holiday Park and combine the tasty food and drinks with some bush walking or mountain biking on the well-reputed Karapoti circuit. Or pop into Wellington city to visit Te Papa and everything else the lively waterfront has to offer.
Beast of a Feast, Mount Manganui, Thursday 4 January 2018
Taking place at Soper Reserve, Beast of a Feast is where New Zealand’s best craft beer brewers go to shine. The healthy abundance of hops will be complemented by a plethora of street food vendors, and don’t forget ‘The Great Pickle Eating Competition’. The festival will have a vibrant soundtrack provided by artists ranging in genre from jazz fusion to dixieland.
An easy 30-minute drive later, you can be recounting the sights and sounds at the Omokoroa Kiwi Holiday Park. Sample the hot natural mineral pools or refresh in the nearby harbour.
Bridge Pa Wine Festival, Hastings, Saturday 20 January 2018
West of Hastings lies Hawke’s Bay’s Bridge Pa Triangle wine district. The fourth annual Bridge Pa Wine Festival is run by the eight wineries in the triangle. A hop on/hop off bus allows festival-goers to visit each of the wineries, which all serve up a healthy dose of music, wine and food. A special ticket includes a two-way bus transfer from surrounding cities.
To get the most out of your Hawke’s Bay visit you could base yourself at the beachside Napier Beach Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels, and explore ‘the bay’ and its many attractions.
Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, Blenheim, Saturday 10 February 2018
An all-ages affair, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is the longest-running festival of its kind in New Zealand. Hosted at the picturesque Brancott Vineyard, the festival has it all with a Fashion in the Vines competition, all-day entertainment, scrumptious local grub, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations.
KHPA have five sites in the Nelson/Marlborough area, so take your pick. Welcoming visitors off the ferry, the Picton Campervan Park is a great option for North Islanders heading to the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.
Nelson Wine & Food Festival, Brightwater, Sunday 18 February 2018
The Nelson Wine & Food Festival (NWFF) is held at the Middle Earth Winery, adjacent to Snowden’s Bush Reserve. Entry is free for under 12s and children are well-catered for with a bouncy castle and face painting. Adults can taste what’s on offer from leading local wineries, and beer and cider breweries, and dig into kai from the gourmet food stalls.
Tahuna Beach Kiwi Holiday Park is a short drive back towards Nelson, and will serve you well as a base to attend the NWFF and check out all the sights of the sunny Nelson region.
There’s some food (and wine) for thought to help you plan your summer festival trip. Don’t forget to sort your accommodation early so you don’t miss out!