A Diverse Culinary Tour of Australia and New Zealand

A 14 day trip to Australia & New Zealand 
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Expressive and evocative, the cuisine of the South Pacific wraps international influence around unique soils and climate. On this handcrafted culinary itinerary explore four distinctive culinary regions of the South Pacific, traversing the two major islands of New Zealand and both sides of Australia. Wine is the discerning complement, and every destination immerses you in the boutique brilliance of the countries' viticulture. Running at a relaxed pace, connect all the gastronomic angles.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Napier, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough, Sydney, Parramatta River, Hunter Valley, Perth, Margaret River

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Napier – Introductions to New Zealand Taste

New Zealand’s menu reflects the bounty of its landscape. This archipelago stands remotely in the South Pacific, surrounded by waters of rare oceanic fish. The North Island is a farming paradise, fertile soils and rolling hills crafting a revered environment for organic cultivation. After connecting in Auckland, land in Napier and be picked up at the airport. Napier is the culinary heart, a chic oceanfront with the atmosphere of a serene coastal village. Your lodge accommodation offers ocean views and the welcoming hospitality New Zealand is famed for. Introducing you to the country's cuisine is a five-course degustation menu ; choose either a seafood menu or one that mixes seafood with game meat, both complemented by an outstanding wine collection. Ingredients are fresh and the dishes creative, blending flavors that celebrate the bounty of the landscape.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, five-course meal

Day 2: Napier – Exploring the Vineyards of Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay is bold on flavor, the maritime climate similar to Bordeaux and the vineyards specializing in full-bodied reds. 80% of New Zealand's Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah originate on these rolling slopes, the vines roaming across a landscape of volcanic slopes and hills. A full-day wine tasting tour connects the finest of its wineries, including a lunch with the winemaker of game meat at a small boutique winery. The pace is relaxed, with each stop tailored to your tastes and the guide able to pick from 72 different vineyards. Chardonnays are also popular here, and a couple of the wineries have garnered worldwide acclaim for the complexities of their vintage. The evening is at your leisure and your wine guide will be happy to make dinner suggestions and reservations.

What's Included: accommodation, full-day Hawkes Bay wine tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: Napier – Traditional Maori Dinner and Customs

Napier encourages you to travel slowly. Every angle delivers a soft charm and a sense of space, an open invitation to meander along country trails or coastal pathways. The morning and afternoon are free, and you may wish to explore at leisure, roaming through the art deco-town or enjoying the rolling nature. It's also possible to continue the Hawkes Bay wine exploration with tasting and lunch at some of the wineries. Creative gastronomy has been pioneered here, long before the Europeans arrived. As afternoon spills into the evening, you're invited into a Maori village, the chief coming out to a fanfare of shouts and horns. Dinner has been steaming all day, a hangi (feast) of meats and roasted vegetables prepared with a dedication to slow cooking. Maori meals are huge, four or five different roasted meats served with a range of trimmings. But before you eat, there are stories to be told, narratives revealed through song and dance. Tonight is not just about the incredible food; it's a full cultural immersion, an invitation to share in some of the customs of the indigenous Maori.

What's Included: accommodation, Maori Hangi and village experience, breakfast

Day 4: Bay of Many Coves – Organic Farmyard Produce on Two Islands

Fertile soils are an invitation to experiment. Olive oils, chocolates, honey, blueberries, pumpkins, and a dozen other creations crafted over the centuries. Explore the boutique best of both islands, starting with a morning tour of the organic farms around Hawkes Bay. Then, fly from Napier to Nelson, the landscape suddenly changing as you land on the South Island. Whitened mountain peaks stand above fjords and rugged cliff lines, indicating the drama of a lost island in the South Pacific. You'll be transferred to the Bay of Many Coves, stopping off at three organic farms that have enjoyed national fame for their particular specialism. Compare the tastes with the North Island and revel in the diversity of the gourmet treasure map, before being transferred to a five-star lodge with stunning views over Marlborough Sounds.

What's Included: accommodation, Hawkes Bay, organic farm tour, organic farm tour, domestic flight, transfers, breakfast

Day 5: Bay of Many Coves – Exploring the Capital of New Zealand Wine

Whenever you've tried New Zealand wine, it's likely to have come from the Marlborough region. This is the world's flagship destination for Sauvignon Blanc, a region of vineyards shimmering beneath primitive mountain peaks. Subtle and complex, the region's wines blend the fragrances of summer with the warming tones of spring. Spend the day on an expertly-guided private wine tour, exploring some of New Zealand's oldest wineries and meeting the cellar owners. There's an emphasis on charting the evolution of the grape in the region, enabling you to taste the centuries over four different wineries. Lunch is included, and it's a find from the oceans, rare game fish complementing the Sauvignon Blanc. As it's a private tour, there's rich opportunity for customization and your guide knows a variety of vineyards that can be opened for private tasting.

What's Included: accommodation, full-day wine tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 6: Bay of Many Coves – Boutique Vineyards and a Kiwi Cooking Class

Marlborough's vineyards are too good to explore only once. Spend a leisurely morning amongst the vines, taking in a couple of the city's most famous names. You'll enjoy a light lunch at one of the vineyards before an afternoon cooking class. A Maori hangi takes at least three hours to prepare, the meats simmering in wild herbs like horopito and kawakawa, so it makes for a relaxed lesson in the kitchen. An award-winning chef is your tutor, taking you on a culinary cooking journey through wild game meats and fish. Many of the ingredients are indigenous, but the chef will teach you how to substitute and improvise with what you'll find at home. New Zealand has a languid welcoming atmosphere, always encouraging you to slow the pace and share stories over a glass of wine. So while the hangi is cooking away, you do what all good New Zealand chefs like to do: sit on the terrace with a glass of wine.

What's Included: accommodation, half-day vineyard tour, cooking class, all meals

Day 7: Sydney – Fine Dining Along the Parramatta River

Fly into Sydney and the plane seems to hover above the Parramatta, revealing the twin wonders of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Touch down, and these icons come closer and larger, your hotel is situated in The Rocks, the oldest suburb of the city. After landing in Australia, you will have time to explore the walkway around the riverfront. Tonight's fine dining restaurant provides an elegant introduction to modern Australian cuisine offering a complexity that ties so many indigenous flavors together. A nine-course tasting menu is the restaurant's flagship and also an indication of how international influences have subtly enhanced local flavors.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfers, tasting menu experience

Day 8: Sydney – Gourmet Street Food Safari

Sydney is a cosmopolitan city, continually shaped by new migrants and styles. Nothing is static, and the neighborhoods take you on a journey across the globe. Today's tailored food safari takes you through the suburbs, connecting the best of Lebanon with the flair of Korean and Vietnamese cuisine, then the fragrance of the Mediterranean with the sweets of Turkey. As you travel through the hidden gourmet haunts, take an intimate journey through the delights of the city, connecting inspiring side streets as fresh scents waft across the urban landscape. While the Parramatta River is the famous heart of the city, these suburbs are its vibrant soul, one that's celebrated well by exploring its food. You'll enjoy multiple dishes and there's usually too much food to eat, but then you turn a corner and another boutique cafe beckons you to try. The evening is at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, full-day gourmet food safari, breakfast

Day 9: Hunter Valley – Exploring Australia's Oldest Wine Growing Region

From Sydney, the roads wind into the mountains, curling alongside the peaks of the Blue Mountains. They're not blue, but rather an aching sandstone red, crumbling slowly as they hang above a valley of eucalyptus. It's the haze that is blue, a mystical layer than hangs above the forest and engulfs the valley. Stop at this World Heritage Site and enjoy multiple lookout points, before continuing into the Hunter Valley. Small boutique wineries start to dominate the landscape, from whitewashed farmhouses to tiny cellars hidden far from the road. The Hunter Valley is Australia's exclusive wine destination, a place low on production but high on quality. You'll spend the afternoon exploring the flavors, with a particular focus on their rich Semillon and warm Shiraz. Accommodation is at a winery, in a lodge that looks out onto a horizon of vines.

What's Included: accommodation, full-day Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley tour

Day 10: Hunter Valley – A Journey Into Aboriginal Bush Tucker

Wake to the fresh smells of Australia before breakfast is even served outside, the vineyards cascading away into the distance. After a leisurely morning, explore two more local wineries, including an intimate look at the Hunter Valley Verdelho. This afternoon has a very different focus; food is bountiful in these parts, indigenous produce clinging to forest branches and strange green bugs cleansing the mouth with antiseptic. Aboriginal food remains mostly raw and unchanged, a stark contrast to the fine dining of the Hunter Valley vineyards. An integral piece of the country's culinary heritage,  a thirst to eat organically is revealed.   A local Aboriginal guide takes you on walkabout, pointing out which plants are for eating and which are for making soap or shelter. You'll forage for insects to be roasted and discover the surprising tastes of unusual flora.

What's Included: accommodation, half-day wine tasting tour, half-day Aboriginal bush tucker tour, breakfast

Day 11: Perth – A Tasting Menu on the West Coast

After New Zealand's two island, you're now discovering Australia's two coastlines. A short  flight takes you across the country's red center, endless miles of wilderness glimmering beneath the wingtips. Land in Perth, and you can sense the change in climate, everywhere seeming scorched and defined by desert tones. This western coastline isn't as bountiful, so the chefs have to be more creative.  A degustation menu sweeps you across the region's flavors, blending a strong oceanic influence with a serious degree of flair. Like always, all transfers are included, with the journey from Hunter Valley to Sydney a particularly scenic treat. Spending the night in Perth gives you a chance to explore the city before you move on to the wineries of Margaret River tomorrow.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfers, degustation menu, breakfast

Day 12: Margaret River – Organic Cooking and Sunset Kangaroo Safari

Journey south, and the landscape appears scorched and challenging. Western Australia has always struggled for water, so when liquid bounty is found, there's a hotbed of cultivation. Margaret River is that precious resource and its banks are liberally sprinkled with vineyards and boutique farms. Spend the day at one of these farms, taking a leisurely organic cooking class, focused on unusual flavors and rich meats. Complete the day by roving out into the desert at sunset, admiring the mobs of kangaroos that hop across the horizon. Walk slowly, and you can get very close to the iconic marsupials, their antics continuing until they become silhouettes in the distance.

What's Included: accommodation, organic cooking class, sunset kangaroo safari, breakfast, lunch

Day 13: Margaret River – Behind the Scenes Wine Tour

Margaret River's wineries spread over a large area, each corner of the road bringing another elegant country estate that offers tastings and glorious views down to the ocean. Despite only starting cultivation in the 60s, this region has grown to world acclaim for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine tasting is light hearted here; take your time, indulge in the green views, and explore the tastes that are synonymous with Western Australia. Like each of the wine tours on this itinerary, your guide offers a flexible program and tailors the stops dependent on your interests. Your accommodation is on the edge of the town, close enough to wander onto white sand and dip your toes in the Indian Ocean.

What's Included: accommodation, full-day wine tasting tour, breakfast, lunch

(Day 14): Margaret River to Perth – Departure

Depart the South Pacific this morning, traveling to Perth for your international departure.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,495
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.