Australia, New Zealand
Napier, Bay of Many Coves, Sydney, Hunter Valley, Perth, Margaret River
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perth – A Tasting Menu on the West Coast
After New Zealand's two island, you're now discovering Australia's two coastlines. A 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.
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.
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.
Perth – Departure
Depart the South Pacific this morning, traveling to Perth for your international departure.
- Explore four distinctive wine regions and spend days on leisurely tasting sessions at both boutique cellars and internationally-recognized wineries
- Discover the ancient culinary history of the region with a Maori hangi dinner and an Aboriginal bush tucker experience
- Learn local cuisine with some of the countries' most experienced chefs, taking cooking classes in the Bay of Many Coves and Margaret River
- Take a gourmet street food safari through Sydney and enjoy a range of fine dining restaurants
- Savor tasting menus that celebrate the best of the land and the ocean, from the West Coast of Australia to the fertile lands of New Zealand's North Island
- Tailor the wine tasting to your interests as you explore Napier, Marlborough, Hunter Valley, and Margaret River
- Immerse yourself in the nature of these expressive countries, epitomized by a sunset kangaroo safari and a boat trip through dolphin-filled bays
Think Italy, and you think pizza and pasta. For Spain, it's tapas. For Australia and New Zealand? There's no defining dish. When you're with the Maori, the meats are slowly roasted on underground thermally-heated rocks. In Margaret River, the scent of seafood dominates the menu. Aboriginal bush tucker couldn't be more different from Sydney street food, but both are inspiring. Then there's the fresh lamb on a farm in New Zealand, the Michelin-starred treats of the city, and organic cooking classes amidst Australia's desert. This is a region of culinary diversity and surprise, yet one that is always organic at its core.
Your meals are always accompanied by exceptional wines, and this itinerary takes you to four internationally-acclaimed wine regions. Start in Hawkes Bay and the art deco town of Napier. With a Bordeaux-style climate, it's a destination of full-bodied reds and complex Chardonnays. Move on to New Zealand's South Island and the Marlborough wine region, the ultimate world purveyor of Sauvignon Blanc. Australia's Hunter Valley provides an eclectic introduction to the country's wine and food, impressing with a rich variety of smells and flavors. Spend days here after first enjoying nights in Sydney. Complete the itinerary on the West Coast of Australia and Margaret River, home to the country's most premium wine.
At each of the five destinations, be treated to exclusive culinary experiences. You are invited into a Maori village for a hangi dinner; you will meet the owners of boutique cellars, enjoy unique tasting menus, and explore everything from olive oil to chocolate. Private cooking classes continue the journey through organic produce while rows of wines provide the view from luxury lodge accommodation. Throughout the four weeks, explore the very diverse landscapes of both countries. Stay on both the volcanic North Island and the mountainous South Island of New Zealand. Wind through the Blue Mountains onto the fertile plains of southeastern Australia. Admire the redolent wilderness of Western Australia and the bounty brought by its life-giving river. Along the way there's kangaroos, indigenous cultures, and a myriad of experiences the continent is famous for.
$9,795 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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