North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© WellingtonNZ
North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days

North Island Food Itinerary: 2 Weeks / 14 Days šŸ„ [2024]

© WellingtonNZ

14-Day Food Itinerary for the North Island

If your tastebuds are what have brought you to the land of New Zealand/Aotearoa, then you’re in the right place choosing the North Island. The North Island has been New Zealand’s most populated island for centuries. With that, a diverse range of cultures and flavours have arisen between Maori cuisine, fruit and dairy production, winemaking and much more. Dive into the flavoursome side of New Zealand with this North Island food itinerary for two weeks.

This North Island food itinerary for 14 days includes food-related activities, accommodation and travel tips to help you plan a tasty trip. Oh, and don’t forget to bookmark The Food Guide to New Zealand – you’re definitely going to need that.

North Island Food Itinerary for 14 Days: Overview

  • Day 1 ā€“ Auckland Airport to Auckland
  • Day 2 ā€“ Explore Auckland
  • Day 3 ā€“ Auckland to The Coromandel
  • Day 4 ā€“ The Coromandel to Tauranga
  • Day 5 ā€“ Tauranga to Rotorua
  • Day 6 ā€“ Explore Rotorua
  • Day 7 ā€“ Rotorua to Whakatane
  • Day 8 ā€“ Whakatane to Gisborne
  • Day 9 ā€“ Explore Gisborne
  • Day 10 ā€“ Gisborne to Napier
  • Day 11 ā€“ Explore Napier
  • Day 12 ā€“ Napier to Palmerston North
  • Day 13 ā€“ Palmerston North to Wellington
  • Day 14 ā€“ Wellington to Wellington Airport.

North Island Food Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days šŸ„ [2023]© THL

How to Get Around the North Island in 2 Weeks

This 14-day food itinerary for the North Island is a self-drive itinerary. Skip to the second point, however, to see an alternative way to get around if you don’t want to drive.

Rental Car or Campervan

There’s an abundance of rental cars and camping vehicles on the North Island. As we recommend hotels, motels and B&Bs in this itinerary, we recommend using a car rather than a campervan. Use a rental company that has depots in both Auckland and Wellington where this itinerary begins and ends. Get started on your research with Travel By Car in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide.

Escorted Tours

If you would rather not drive around New Zealand yourself, escorted bus tours provide an effortless alternative. The downside is that these guided tours don’t focus on foodie experiences. Check out a range of fully-guided tours on The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the North Island.

How to Get Back to Auckland from Wellington

Most travellers arrive and depart the North Island from Auckland International Airport. There are three main ways to make the journey back to Auckland from this itinerary’s endpoint, Wellington.

  1. Domestic flight – The quickest way to travel between Auckland and Wellington is via domestic flights which occur daily and take approximately 1 h 10 mins. Find out more in our guide to Domestic Flights in New Zealand.
  2. Train – Train trips between Wellington and Auckland occur three times a week taking approximately 11 hours. Find out more about the train and book tickets on Viator.
  3. Bus – Buses provide the cheapest transport for getting between Wellington and Auckland. They depart daily, as well as nightly via the Sleeper Buses. Find out more using the Bus Networks in New Zealand guide.

Check out more transport options for this North Island food itinerary for two weeks using What is the Best Way to Get Around New Zealand?

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Unsplash

Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Auckland

Travel time: 25-40 minutes (depending on traffic)

Welcome to the North Island of New Zealand! Your first stay will be in Auckland, which you can get to by picking your rental car up or by taking one of the other airport transfer options. The latter can save you on your car rental’s daily rate. Then, just pick up your vehicle on Day 3.

Because you have plenty of time to explore Auckland tomorrow, check out Auckland’s dining scene! Try the fantastic coffee scene of the CBD (we recommend The Shelf on High Street) or the fine Pacific seafood dining of Harbourside in the city centre. Check out more recommendations in The Food Guide to Auckland. We’ve also listed hotels with excellent restaurants, which are our recommended accommodations for foodies.

Accommodations in Auckland with the Best Restaurants

Find out more about each accommodation on our list of the 25 Best Hotels in Auckland.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 2 – Explore Auckland

Auckland’s foodie scene takes you in several directions. You could be hopping on a ferry to the winemaking island of Waiheke Island for a diverse wine tour with Ananda Tours (find out more about tours, read reviews and book your experience on Klook and Viator). Alternatively, stick to the city centre and do a tour specially designed for you with The Big Foody. Inspire yourself with more activities using the list below.

Food Experiences in Auckland

For more information on each activity, see our 8 Best Foodie Experiences in Auckland.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Pxhere

Day 3 – Auckland to The Coromandel

Travel time: 1 h 25 mins to 2 h 30 mins (depending on Coromandel accommodation)

If you haven’t done so already, pick up your rental vehicle in Auckland city centre so that you can hit the road and start exploring the real New Zealand. Set your sights on the glorious beaches, seafood mecca and artisans’ paradise of the Coromandel Peninsula. On your way there, stop by the Cheese Barn in Matatoki to sample a variety of locally made cheeses. As you reach Hahei, take a self-guided tour of Cathedral Cove Macadamias and get a taste of a real Kiwi boutique winery at Mercury Bay Estate or Purangi Estate.

Food Experiences in The Coromandel

  • Hit the foodie places on the Hauraki Rail Trail
  • Experience a unique hiking food tour with Nature & Nosh
  • Try wine and other locally-made beverages at a local winery
  • Pick up artisan cheese, chutneys, honey and more
  • Mingle with the locals at a farmersā€™ market.

For more information on each activity, check out the 7 Foodie Experiences in the Coromandel.

Accommodations in the Coromandel with the Best Restaurants, Meals & Breakfasts

The Coromandel’s best accommodations for breakfasts, meals and restaurants are scattered throughout the peninsula, so drive times from Auckland will vary depending on where you stay.

For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 15 Best Hotels & Resorts in the Coromandel.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Tourism Bay of Plenty

Day 4 – The Coromandel to Tauranga

Travel time: 1 h 40 mins to 2 h 40 mins (depending on Coromandel accommodation)

Today you take a stunning coastal journey down the east coast passing through quaint towns like Whangamata and Waihi. Your final destination today is Tauranga, the hub of the Bay of Plenty, so-called for its productive fruit growing. There are also plenty of wineries, cideries and breweries, which are best visited on tours so you don’t need to worry about nominating a designated driver.

We’ll go more into what you can do in Tauranga tomorrow. For now, see why Kiwis love Asian cuisine by booking a table at Rice Rice Baby in Mt Maunganui or The Rising Tide also in Mt Maunganui. Check out more recommendations in The Food Guide to Tauranga. Otherwise, the following accommodations have excellent meals involved with their hospitality.

Whether you want to learn all about fruit and beverages or get a comprehensive tour of everything the Bay of Plenty produces, Tauranga is here to serve. Taste of Plenty offers tours surrounding sourdough, cheeses, coffee, olive oils, smoked fish, green-lipped mussels, kiwifruit, avocados, manuka honey, gelato, beer, wine, ciders and/or New Zealand savoury pies! Otherwise, keep it simple with some drinks at The Cider Factorie for tasting paddles and their small-plate menu.

Food Experiences in Tauranga

  • Do tastings on a wine tour with Tauranga Tasting Tours
  • Taste award-winning ciders and more at The Cider Factorie
  • Get ā€œoff the eaten trackā€ on a food tour with Taste of Plenty
  • Mingle with the locals at a Tauranga cooking class
  • Sample local fare at the Tauranga Farmersā€™ Market.

Take a look at the 9 Foodie Experiences in Tauranga for more details on each experience.

Accommodations in Tauranga with the Best Restaurants, Meals and Breakfasts

For more information on our top recommendations, take a look at the 15 Best Hotels in Tauranga & Mt Maunganui.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Destination Rotorua

Day 5 – Tauranga to Rotorua

Travel time: 50 minutes

With just under an hour’s drive to Rotorua, you have time to do anything you might have missed in Tauranga before making your way to New Zealand’s geothermal hotspot. Rotorua also has a strong Maori presence, making a hangi buffet experience an absolute must! Hangi is a Polynesian style of cooking where food is slow-cooked in an underground oven. Both Te Pa Tu (formerly Tamaki Maori Village – more info on Viator and Klook) and Mitai Maori Village serve hangi buffets in their evening tours.

Accommodations in Rotorua with the Best Restaurants

Check out the 15 Best Hotels in Rotorua for more information on our top picks.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Destination Rotorua

Day 6 – Explore Rotorua

This morning, head to Whakawerawera Living Maori Village to see how they cook food using geothermal vents. Otherwise, you might be interested in learning about the New Zealand farming industry at Agrodome. See more experiences listed below, as well as dining recommendations in The Food Guide to Rotorua.

Food Experiences in Rotorua

  • Try a traditional Maori hangi at Te Pa Tu (more info on Viator and Klook) or Mitai Maori Village
  • Experience Kiwi farming on the Agrodome Farm Tour
  • Visit the Kuirau Park Saturday Market and Rotorua Night Market
  • Do the Mamaku Blue Orchard Tour
  • Relax with a beverage at the local winery and craft beer pub.

For elaboration on each activity, check out the 9 Foodie Experiences in Rotorua.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Tourism Bay of Plenty

Day 7 – Rotorua to Whakatane

Travel time: 1 h 15 mins

After you’re satisfied that you’ve done everything you want to do in Rotorua, it’s a reasonable drive to Whakatane. We like their pick-your-own berry farms, as well as fudge tastings at Tui Aotearoa and chocolates from Scilla Chocolates.

An almost obligatory experience, however, is sitting on Ohope Beach with some fresh Kiwi-style fish and chips. Recommendations include Ohiwa Oyster Farm, Gibbo’s on the Wharf and others listed in The Food Guide to Whakatane.

Food Experiences in Whakatane

  • Taste craft beers at the Mata Brewery & Tasting Room
  • Indulge in authentic Maori food at Mataatua or with NATIVConnectioNZ
  • Do a fudge tasting at Tui Aotearoa
  • Pick your own berries at one of the berry farms
  • Sample some Bay of Plenty chocolates at Scilla Chocolates.

For more information on each experience, take a look at the 9 Foodie Experiences in Whakatane.

Accommodations in Whakatane with the Best Restaurants

Take a look at the 10 Best Hotels & Places to Stay in Whakatane & Ohope for more information on our top picks.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 8 – Whakatane to Gisborne

Travel time: 2 h 45 mins

Take the stunning journey from Whakatane through the Waioeka Gorge to Gisborne. Follow Opotiki to Gisborne via The Waioeka Gorge: 8 Epic Stops! for things to do along the way.

Then you’ll arrive in the cool little wine region of Gisborne, where we recommend a guided wine tasting at the Gisborne Wine Centre for a comprehensive experience. Or, if beer is more your thing, the Sunshine Brewery is well worth a sit-down.

For dinner, we recommend the casual yet elegant fine dining establishment of The Works. See more suggestions in The Food Guide to Gisborne.

Accommodations in Gisborne with the Best Restaurants, Meals & Breakfasts

For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 20 Best Hotels & Places to Stay in Gisborne.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 9 – Explore Gisborne

Today could be the day that you explore the wineries around Gisborne, including Millton Vineyards & Winery, Matawhero Wines and Bushmere Estate. Otherwise, watch the cidery at work through the display windows (and have tastings, of course) at the Harvest Cidery. Yes, it’s all about the drink here!

Food Experiences in Gisborne

  • Visit the wineries around Gisborne
  • Try craft beer at the Sunshine Brewery
  • Taste cider and watch it being made at the Harvest Cidery
  • Try it all at the Gisborne Wine Centre
  • Hit one of Gisborneā€™s wine or beer festivals.

Check out the 8 Foodie Experiences in Gisborne for elaboration on each experience.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Unsplash

Day 10 – Gisborne to Napier

Travel time: 2 h 55 mins

Continue down the east coast today to New Zealand’s oldest wine region, Hawke’s Bay. It’s not just all about the wine though, as the region hosts one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country, while attractions surrounding manuka honey and chocolate are also on the menu.

Speaking of the menu, take your pick of restaurants in Napier like fresh seafood from Hunger Monger and an eclectic mix of flavours at the Indonesian-Dutch restaurant of Restaurant Indonesia. As always, more information and recommendations can be found in our Food Guide to Napier.

Accommodations in Napier with the Best Restaurants

For more information on our top picks, check out the 20 Best Hotels & Places to Stay in Napier.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 11 – Explore Napier

Letā€™s waste no time diving into the winery experiences of Hawke’s Bay. Tours like Prinsyā€™s Tours, Vines and Views Tours and others can handle the driving and the cellar door fees while you handle the tastings.

If you’re lucky enough to be around on a weekend, head to the Napier Urban Farmersā€™ Market or Hawkeā€™s Bay Farmersā€™ Market. Whatever the day, we recommend diving into the world of honey-making at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre.

Food Experiences in Napier

For more information on each experience and more, check out the 10 Foodie Experiences in Napier.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

Day 12 – Napier to Palmerston North

Travel time: 2 h 25 mins

Continue your way south today as you make your way to your next city destination. If you haven’t already, travel via Hastings to sample its charming eateries. Then it’s a journey through the rural heart of Hawke’s Bay where high tea at Oruawharo Homestead is highly recommended.

After passing through the dramatic scenery of the Manawatu Gorge and perhaps walking off your high tea on the Tawa Loop Walk you’ll have more cool cafes to experience in Ashhurst, such as The Herb Farm which uses its herb garden to create all sorts of herbal products.

Finally, you’ve reached Palmerston North which the locals fondly call “Palmy”. If you have time, jump on a coffee roastery tour to experience the passion behind the coffee bean with Arrosta Coffee.

Food Experiences in Palmerston North

  • Take a tour of a coffee roastery
  • Browse honey products and taste honey ice cream at Waireka Honey
  • Take a tour of the Tui Brewery
  • Learn about all things dairy at the Robotic Dairy Farm Tours
  • Experience the vibrant farmersā€™ markets across Palmerston North and its surrounding towns.

For information on all these experiences and their locations, take a look at the 7 Foodie Experiences in Palmerston North.

Accommodations in Palmerston North with the Best Restaurants, Meals & Breakfasts

For more information on our top recommendations, see the 20 Best Hotels & Places to Stay in Palmerston North.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© WellingtonNZ

Day 13 – Palmerston North to Wellington

Travel time: 2 hours

You’ve finally reached the capital city and your final destination on this North Island food itinerary for one week. Wellington has an eclectic mix of eateries to suit a range of tastes. If you want something classically Kiwi, pick up a New Zealand-style savoury pie from the likes of Caffe Lā€™affare and Midnight Espresso. Iconic fish & chips can be found at the Wellington Seamarket and The Chippery, while a more fancy twist of the sea fare can be found at Ortega Fish Shack and Shed 5.

We list more great eateries in the 5 Cool Cafes With the Best Coffee in Wellington, 10 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in WellingtonGuide to Wellington Nightlife and Cheap Eats in Wellington.

Accommodations in Wellington with the Best Restaurants, Meals & Breakfasts

For more information about each activity, see the 25 Best Hotels in Wellington.

North Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© WellingtonNZ

Day 14 – Wellington to Wellington Airport

Book your flight for this evening (or wait to take the night bus) because you’re going to want the time to dive deeper into the flavours of Wellington with a guided food tour. Food and Spice Odyssey will take you to experience the hidden artisanry gems of the city.

Wellington also has a thing for craft beer, so either guide yourself using the 14 Breweries & Craft Beer Bars in Wellington or jump on a brewery-hopping tour with Zozo Travel.

Food Experiences in Wellington

For more information on each activity, see our 9 Foodie Experiences in Wellington.

Alternatively, if you need to travel back to Auckland, spend the day on the Northern Explorer train for a more scenic, less polluting journey to Auckland with Kiwi cuisine served onboard. Find out more and book train tickets on Viator.

More About a North Island Food Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days

That’s it for our North Island food itinerary for two weeks (14 days). If this itinerary didn’t quite suit you, perhaps you’d be more into these alternatives:

Finally, get more advice for planning an entire trip to New Zealand surrounding culinary experiences in The Foodie Guide to New Zealand.

Author

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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