9 Best Foodie Experiences in Whangarei© David Kirkland - Northland Inc
9 Best Foodie Experiences in Whangarei

8 Best Foodie Experiences in Whangarei

© David Kirkland – Northland Inc

The Best Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies

New Zealand‘s northern city is a real hidden gem for foodies. From artisan cheese to raw manuka honey, food tours to Maori cooking classes, not to mention the restaurants, Whangarei has a ton of gastronomical delights. Discover some of our top food-related recommendations in this list of foodie experiences in Whangarei!

For more help planning the ultimate foodie trip, take a look at The Food Guide to Whangarei: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

1. Learn to Make a Maori Hangi

For a real cultural foodie experience, check out the Maori tour with Tu Tika Tours. Your full-day experience includes morning tea with homemade Maori bread and locally-made condiments, but that’s only the beginning… After learning how to weave, experiencing a traditional welcoming ceremony and much more, you’ll spend the rest of the afternoon preparing and indulging in your own hangi lunch cooked on hot rocks! Find out more about Tu Tika Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, see more private experiences like this in the 8 Luxury Activities in Whangarei.

Location: Pick-up from the local area.

Foodie Experiences Whangarei© Tu Tika Tours

2. Try and/or Buy Some Local Food at the Whangarei Growers Market

An affordable activity for foodies, the Whangarei Growers Market is a hearty community event taking place on Saturday mornings. Chat with the locals, pick up some fruit and vegetables, try preserves, honey and olive oil, and enjoy the music from the buskers. For more cheap activities, check out the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Whangarei.

Location: Water Street, Whangarei city centre.

Foodie Experiences Whangarei© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Do a Wine Tasting at Te Whai Bay Wines

Well worth experiencing on your way in or out of Whangarei is wine tasting at Te Whai Bay Wines. The vineyard and winery in Mangawhai offers local wine and beer tastings along with local produce platters. Enjoy the tasting with views of mountain ranges beyond the vines. Note that they are only open on “fine afternoons” in summer.

Location: 367 King Road, Mangawhai, approximately 63km (39 miles) from Whangarei city centre.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© NZPocketGuide.com

4. See Tropical Fruit Plants and Have a Coffee at the Quarry Gardens

This disused quarry just off State Highway 1 begs to be explored, now transformed into subtropical gardens. Walk among the banana trees, see pineapple plants thriving and enjoy the short walks around the stunning Whangarei Quarry Gardens. Once your walk is complete, relax at the onsite cafe and have a browse in the art gallery. See more recommendations for budget activities in The Guide to Whangarei on a Budget.

Location: Russell Road, just off State Highway One, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Whangarei city centre.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Taste Raw Manuka Honey

Pop into the small family-owned honey packing house, Helmsdale Honey, to taste different varieties of Whangarei honey. From MG and UMF-certified manuka to raw bush honey, there’s plenty to taste and purchase. The Helmsdale Honey itself is 100% raw with no added sugars, chemicals, preservatives, pasteurization or processed blending.

Location: 223 Port Road, Port Whangarei, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Whangarei city centre.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Fish for Your Dinner

Fishing is a favourite pastime for New Zealanders and you can join in too on a local fishing charter. For instance, a-Oakura Bay Fish, Dive & Cruise offers a wide range of charters to suit all abilities, timeframes and interests. Target the likes of granddaddy hapuku, pink maomao, red pigfish, crayfish and more, and your skipper will prepare some for you to take away according to the local fishing regulations.

Location: 207 Oakura Beach Road, RD4 Hikurangi, approximately 48km (30 miles) from Whangarei city centre.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Dine at Whangarei’s Delectable Restaurants

Foodies will find enough variety of restaurants in Whangarei to suit their tastes, whether it’s a creative bagel from Biggie Bagels or a fine dining affair at TopSail. For quality New Zealand cuisine, set your sights on Tonic Restaurant or Split Bar & Restaurant. Otherwise, Suk Jai Thai Restaurant and Indian Aroma Restaurant do excellent Asian food! Check out The Food Guide to Whangarei for more recommendations.

Location: Biggie Bagels – 7 Bank Street, TopSail – 206 Beach Road, Tonic Restaurant – 239 Kamo Road, Split Bar & Restaurant – 15 Rathbone Street, Suk Jai Thai Restaurant – 93 Kamo Road and Indian Aroma Restaurant – 23-25 Vine Street.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

8. Taste Artisan Cheese

Finally, more artisan foods can be sampled in Whangarei, especially at the Grinning Gecko Cheese Co! The factory is open for viewings and tastings Monday to Saturday, so you can go and experience handmade award-winning cheese ranging from the classic brie to the Northland Blue.

Location: 81 Port Road, approximately 1.7km (1 mile) from Whangarei city centre. They have a “cheese cave” past the counter inside the Baker’s Crust Bakery.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© NZPocketGuide.com

[CLOSED] Do a Whangarei Food Tour

Discover the flavours of Whangarei on the action-packed Delicious Whangarei Tour with Piwakawaka Tours. The tour includes a morning boost at a local espresso bar, visiting a honey manufacturer and cheese factory and fuelling up with some local snacks at Langs Beach before heading to an olive grove and a boutique chocolatier. The experience concludes with a winemaker’s lunch at a local vineyard. How can you say no?!

Location: Pick-ups are from The Hub, Town Basin, 91 Dent St, Whangarei or the Tarewa i-SITE, 92 Otaika Road, Raumanga, Whangarei city.

9 Things to Do in Whangarei for Foodies© Piwakawaka Tours

More Foodie Experiences in Whangarei

That’s it for our guide to the best foodie experiences in Whangarei. For more about food and Whangarei fun, check out the following:

Finally, plan more of your North Island road trip with North Island Food Itinerary: 7 Days and North Island Food Itinerary: 14 Days.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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