The Top Food Tours and Experiences in Tauranga
When visiting the hub of a region called the “Bay of Plenty” it is almost a crime to not experience its cuisine. Luckily, there are many ways to do just that! Jump on an artisan food tour, a wine tour or a brewery tour to suit your tastes. Get a hands-on cooking experience with one of the local cooking classes. Or how about just soaking in the harbour views while dining on some fresh fish and chips or fine dining at one of the bistros? We go through it all in this list of things to do in Tauranga for foodies!
For more trip-planning advice, check out The Foodie Guide to Tauranga.
1. Mingle with the Locals at the Tauranga Farmers’ Market
A fantastic free community event surrounding food, the Tauranga Farmers’ Market is a must for foodies. Browse stalls with fare from the kitchen, the paddock, the dairy, the sea and more with artisan foods and fresh local produce from all around the Bay of Plenty. Pick up a coffee and the beans to match, try artisan cheese and manuka honey, try macadamia liquor and even purchase natural care products. It’s all available at Tauranga Primary School on Saturday mornings.
Location: Tauranga Primary School, 31 Fifth Avenue.
2. Taste Award-winning Ciders and More at The Cider Factorie
Crafting award-winning ciders in their cidery in Te Puna, The Cider Factorie is well worth a visit. Create your own tasting paddle to try a wide variety of ciders on tap or stay a while and complement your tasting with cuisine from their small plate menu. There are also local wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks for sale.
Location: 50 Oikimoke Road, Te Puna, approximately 15km (9 miles) from Tauranga city centre.
3. Visit Tauranga’s Surrounding Boutique Wineries on a Wine Tour
If you’re visiting Tauranga on one of the cruise ships, Tauranga Tasting Tours offers shore excursions of Tauranga’s nearby boutique wineries. Visit the off-the-beaten-track vineyards of Karangahake on this half-day tour, before ending your journey at one of the top fine dining bistros in Tauranga. The tour is packed with tastings, as well as giving you the opportunity to see Tauranga’s city and countryside. Find out more about Tauranga Tastings Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Pick-ups are available from port or Tauranga accommodations.
4. Take a Wine, Beer and Artisan Food Tour with Wildside Tours
Another on the foodie tour menu is the Wine, Cider and Artisan Food Tour with Wildside Tours. After you are picked up from your Tauranga accommodation, the team will take you on a culinary journey throughout Tauranga. The trip includes a coffee at a boutique coffee roastery, tastings at a Dutch cheese shop, a cider tasting, Italian cheese tasting, salami tasting, wine and craft beer tasting.
Location: Pick-ups available from accommodations in Tauranga.
5. Visit the Craft Breweries on the Brewbus
For beer-lovers, don’t miss the Brewbus taking you to their favourite breweries and brew bars around Tauranga. Meet the people behind the beer, learn their stories and taste their fine craft beverages. Brewbus can either curate a bespoke tour to the breweries on your wishlist or take you to the places on their regular schedule.
Location: Pick-ups available from accommodations in Tauranga.
6. Do a Cooking Class
Get more of a hands-on experience with one of the local cooking classes in Tauranga. Cuisine Concepts offers a regular schedule of classes on seafood, tapas, summer salads, seasonal fare, relish and chutneys and more. Alternatively, Somerset Cottages in Bethlehem is not only a popular restaurant, but they also offer cooking classes in their restaurant kitchen. And finally, Carolie’s Culinaire in Omokoroa also has regular classes of Mediterranean food, sourdough and yeast baking, filo pastry, healthy foods, wheat and gluten and much more.
Location: Somerset Cottages – 30 Bethlehem Road, Bethlehem. Carolie’s Culinaire – 252 Hamurana Road, Omokoroa.
7. Get “Off the Eaten Track” on a Food Tour with Taste of Plenty
Yes, more culinary journeys can be taken in Tauranga, this time with Taste of Plenty. The tour company offers a variety of food tours to suit various foodie interests, from half-day scenic and food tasting tours to full-day ventures across the Bay of Plenty. On their tours, you often get to taste sourdough, local cheeses, coffee, olive oils, smoked fish, green-lipped mussels, kiwifruit, avocados, manuka honey, gelato, local beers, wine or ciders and the famous New Zealand savoury pies!
Location: Meeting points are arranged from Mt Maunganui and Tauranga.
8. Learn About the Kiwifruit Industry with Kiwifruit Country Tours
Exclusively available to cruise ship passengers, Kiwifruit Country Tours is your opportunity to learn more about the famous kiwifruit industry of New Zealand, and then some. Visit a fruit orchard and learn about production techniques while sampling fresh fruit, wines, liqueurs, juices, jams and more. Some of their tours also include meeting a local Maori family and learning about their culture, while other tours take you to city highlights like the Elms historic homestead.
Location: Pick-ups available from the port.
9. Dine at Tauranga’s Delectable Restaurants
Tauranga presents an irresistible array of restaurants that we mention extensively in The Luxury Guide to Tauranga and The Honeymoon Guide to Tauranga. However, the best of the rest include the Mills Reef Winery near Katikati, which serves antipodean-Pacific Rim cuisine along with this wine using grapes from the nearby Hawke’s Bay. A little more central, Rice Rice Baby is a top choice for Vietnamese cuisine serving traditional recipes upon its bubble-pink tablecloths. Also in Mt Maunganui, The Rising Tide pours in-house beers from their brewery, as well as serves dumplings and some crowd-pleasers. Finally, pick up some classic Kiwi fish and chips from Bobby’s Fresh Fish Market. See more recommendations in The Foodie Guide to Tauranga.
Location: Mills Reef Winery – 2389 State Highway 2, RD4, Katikati. Rice Rice Baby – 136 Maunganui Road. The Rising Tide – 107 Newton Street. Bobby’s Fresh Fish Market – 1 Dive Crescent.