Food Tours in Napier
Napier might be known as the “Art Deco Capital of New Zealand”, but the surrounding Hawke’s Bay region has long been nicknamed the “Fruit Bowl” and happens to be the oldest wine region in the country. Needless to say, it’s a foodie’s paradise, awash in premium wineries, home to one of the most renowned farmers’ markets in the country, and also holds a few other sweet foodie surprises. It’s a place to learn about the Maori cuisine, as well as see how European fare has developed since colonisation. Dive deeper into Napier’s food tours and experiences with this list of the best things to do in Napier for foodies!
And for more things to do in Napier for foodies, as well as help planning your trip, check out The Foodie Guide to Napier.
1. Do a Tour of the Hawke’s Bay Wineries
Let’s waste no time in diving into the winery experiences of Napier! Tours like Prinsy’s Tours, Vines and Views Tours, Hawkes Bay Scenic Tour and Bay Tours and Charters will handle the driving and the cellar door tasting fees, while you just sit back, relax and enjoy a gastronomical journey. Travel past Hawke’s Bays vineyards to various cellar doors to learn about and taste wines from New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Hell, you can even tour the wineries in a vintage car with Napier Classic Cars and Hooters Vintage & Classic Vehicle Hire or in a classic black London taxi with Deco City Discoverer. Or how about a taster tour on a V8 trike with Supertrike Tours?
Location: Most tours offer accommodation pick-ups from the Napier area.
2. Do a Self-guided Cycling Wine Tour
Another way to experience the various wineries of Napier is on a cycling tour. Ride from cellar door to cellar door trying an array of varietals and taking in the ocean and countryside views of Hawke’s Bay. Napier City Bike Hire & Tours provides a map and route instructions with their cycle hire so you can enjoy a scenic ride with wineries to visit toward the end of the trail. You’ll then be picked up to return back to Napier. Alternatively, Tākaro Trails Cycle Tours provides a route map and instructions for visiting your choice in wineries, as well as a wine pick-up service should you make any purchases that you don’t want to ride with.
Location: Napier City Bike Hire & Tours – 117 Marine Parade. Tākaro Trails Cycle Tours – 9 Nelson Quay, pick-ups are available.
3. Try Local Beer and Cider on a Beer and Wine-tasting Tour
If you have beer-drinkers in your group, keep them happy with a wine and beer-tasting tour. As well as hitting some of the top wineries in the region, tours like Hawkes Bay Scenic Tours, Vines and Views Tours and Supertrike Tours, also pay a visit to the Speight’s Ale House – a venue of one of New Zealand’s most popular beer and cider brands. Enjoy a paddle tasting of various local beers!
Location: Most tours offer accommodation pick-ups from the Napier area.
4. Check Out the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market
Moving on from Hawke’s Bay’s renowned beverages, try some of the artisanry delights at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market. One of the longest-running farmers’ markets in the country, the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market is a must-do for foodies. Stalls sell and offer tastings of all sorts of goodies, including fresh produce, freshly-roasted coffee, honey, chocolate, fresh pasta, sauces, cider, gourmet meats, artisan bread, wine, feijoa products and oh-so-much-more. The event also has live music and street food-style stalls too. It takes place every Sunday from 8.30am to 12.30pm. Alternatively, head to the Napier Urban Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning between 9am and 1pm for a similar but slightly more reserved set-up.
Location: Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market – Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds, Kenilworth Road, Hastings, approximately 18km (11 miles) from Napier city centre. Napier Urban Farmers’ Market – Clive Square, Napier city centre.
5. Take a Tour of One of New Zealand’s Oldest Wineries
Yes, just like when visiting Napier, you can’t go two minutes without hearing someone mention wine, so let’s get to yet another wine-o’s dream in Hawke’s Bay! The Church Road Winery is one of Napier’s oldest wineries, allowing visitors to enjoy the splendour of its history and tastes on a winery tour. The Legacy and Winery Tour is the most affordable option with tastings of pre-release wines, a tour of the unique “wine cave” museum and more sumptuous tastings. The Versatility of the Grape tour is a more comprehensive tour where you’ll visit the working winery with a glass in hand to get an in-depth look into the winemaking process, visit the museum and enjoy a guided tasting experience.
Location: 150 Church Road, Taradale, approximately 9km (6 miles) from Napier city centre.
6. Visit the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre
Home to one of New Zealand’s most-loved supermarket honey brands, Arataki Honey as its own visitor centre just outside of Napier. The Arataki Honey Visitor Centre is an experience for all the senses with sweet aromas of honey, seeing the honeybees at work in the display cases, feeling the heat generated from the bees, and, of course, taste a variety of nine native and pastoral honey. We also list this attraction in the 10 Things to Do in Napier with Kids.
Location: 66 Arataki Road, Havelock North, approximately 22km (14 miles) from Napier city centre.
7. Do a Chocolate Tour at Silky Oaks Chocolates
A hidden gem in Napier, Silky Oaks Chocolates offers one of the most comprehensive chocolate factory tours in the country. Join them for 3,000 years of chocolate history at their on-site museum and take a tour of their factory, viewing the chocolate-making process through the viewing windows. All tours include chocolate tastings, while their cafe is where you can indulge in more chocolatey treats.
Location: 1131 Links Road, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Napier city centre.
8. Treat Yourself to a High Tea Experience
Complementing the historic ambience of Napier’s art deco decor and countryside surrounds, there are a few sumptuous high tea experiences to be treated to. Dine in the historic homestead of Mangapapa with finger sandwiches, dainty cups of tea and an array of sweet treats. The venue offers high tea seven days a week in Havelock North. Alternatively, when you’re travelling in or out of Napier, stop by Oruawharo Homestead & Gardens in central Hawke’s Bay for their delicious and well-presented sandwiches, scones, hot savouries, sweets and even wine or bubbles.
Location: Mangapapa – 466 Napier Road, Havelock North, approximately 17km (11 miles) from Napier city centre. Oruawharo Homestead & Gardens – Takapau, approximately 88km (55 miles) from Napier city centre.
9. Share Traditional Maori Food on a Maori Tour
Connect with the Maori culture through its cuisine on a tour with Napier Maori Tours. They offer two tours incorporating Maori food, including The Ancient Village Traverse Tour where you’ll indulge in fresh Maori seafood and other traditional fare at a historical Maori pa site (fortified settlement). The Wildlife Estuary Tour is a more hands-on foodie experience where you’ll learn and participate in traditional food gathering practices and feast on your catch prepared for you.
Location: Pick-ups available from local accommodations.
10. Indulge in Napier’s Restaurants
In such a foodie hub as Hawke’s Bay, it’s no wonder that Napier has such a dizzying array of fabulous eateries. While we list some of the best fine dining restaurants in The Luxury Guide to Napier and even some romantic restaurants in The Honeymoon Guide to Napier, be sure to check out the best of the rest, like Hunger Monger specialising in seafood exclusively from the North Island’s east coast. For a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe that reflects the timeless charm of Napier, head to the Emporium Eatery & Bar with its art deco-style decor and contemporary seasonal menu. For naughty treats, head to Mister D open for breakfast, brunch and dinner. And for something a little different but extremely popular with the locals, Restaurant Indonesia offers an intriguing mix of Indonesian cuisine with Dutch influences.
Location: Hunger Monger – 129 Marine Parade. Emporium Eatery & Bar – Corner of Tennyson Street and Marine Parade. Mister D – 47 Tennyson Street. Restaurant Indonesia – 409 Marine Parade.