14-Day Foodie Itinerary for the South Island
If it’s the aromatic wines that have brought you to the South Island or perhaps the fresh South Pacific seafood, cheese from a renowned dairy industry, or something else tasty, then this itinerary is for you. This South Island foodie itinerary for two weeks takes you on a gastronomical journey of New Zealand’s South Island incorporating an array of foodie experiences and accommodations.
Plan your food-orientated road trip with this South Island foodie itinerary for 14 days.
How to Get Around the South Island in Two Weeks
This 14-day foodie itinerary for the South Island is a self-drive itinerary. However, there are transport alternatives should you not want to drive for the entire two weeks (or at all, for that matter). The ways to get around the South Island include:
- Rental car or campervan – There are many vehicle rental companies that have depots in Christchurch, where this itinerary begins, and Queenstown where it ends. Get started on your research with The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- Train – Part of this itinerary is a return journey between Christchurch and Greymouth which can be travelled via the TranzAlpine train. Find out more in the Train Network in New Zealand.
- Akaroa shuttle – Although you can drive to Akaroa from Christchurch, you can also take the daily shuttle. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
- Escorted tours – If you would rather not drive around the South Island yourself, escorted bus tours provide an effortless alternative. However, guided tours won’t concentrate as much on foodie experiences as this itinerary does. Check out a range of fully-guided tours in The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the South Island
- Domestic flights – As this itinerary begins in Christchurch and ends in Queenstown, you may need to take a domestic flight to make your connecting flight out of New Zealand. Learn more about domestic flights and local airports in the guide to Domestic Flights in New Zealand and The Travellers’ Guide to New Zealand Airports.
Day 1 – Christchurch Airport to Christchurch
Travel time: 15 minutes
Welcome to Christchurch and the South Island! Either pick up your rental vehicle at the airport if you want to have a vehicle for the whole itinerary. Alternatively, take a taxi, shuttle or bus into Christchurch city centre.
Celebrate your first evening in New Zealand by picking up a menu at one of Christchurch’s finest eateries. Choose Gatherings for sustainably sourced Kiwi cuisine or take a trip around the world at Zen Sushi and Dumplings, Bacon Bros Burgers or Thai Orchard. Find out more about these restaurants and more in The Foodie Guide to Christchurch. You’ll have more time to experience the city’s foodie activities tomorrow.
The Best Accommodation in Christchurch with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
- Pavilions Hotel
- ibis Christchurch
- Rendezvous Hotel
- Sudima Christchurch City
- Eliza’s Manor Boutique Hotel
Find out more about our top picks in the 10 Best Accommodation in Christchurch for Foodies.
Day 2 – Explore Christchurch
Make your first full day on the South Island the day that you start discovering New Zealand’s wineries – of which, there are many! Nearby to Christchurch is the Waipara Valley wine region. Either tour the wineries yourself following the 10 Wonderful Wineries in the Waipara Valley or join a wine tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Alternatively, try a Maori hangi at Ko Tane Maori Experience (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or treat yourself to a four-course dinner while sightseeing on the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Food Experiences in Christchurch
- Take a tour of the Waipara wine region (more info Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Experience Christchurch’s iconic farmers’ markets
- Try a Maori hangi with Ko Tane Maori Experience (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Enjoy four-course dining while touring in the Christchurch tram (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Taste and tour The Spirits Workshop Distillery
See the 9 Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies, for more details on each experience.
Day 3 – Christchurch to Greymouth
Travel time: 3h15mins
You have two options for making the magnificent journey from Christchurch to Greymouth: the TranzAlpine train or driving yourself. Either way, your eyes will feast on mountain and river valley scenery as you travel through Arthur’s Pass. The advantages of the TranzAlpine is that you don’t have to worry about driving. Plus, they specialise in Kiwi cuisine, craft beers and wine onboard. Find out more about the train and book tickets on Viator or Tripadvisor. The advantage of driving yourself, however, is that you’ll be able to walk off last night’s meal by tackling some of the Arthur’s Pass short walks.
As you emerge on the other side of the Southern Alps, your final destination is Greymouth. Start sampling the West Coast cuisine, like whitebait (immature fish which is a local delicacy) or the more sustainable blue cod and venison. Great places to try include the Recreation Hotel, Buccleugh’s on High and Sevenpenny. Check out more recommendations in The Foodie Guide to Greymouth.
The Best Accommodation in Greymouth with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
- Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth
- The Ashley Hotel Greymouth
- Golden Coast B&B
- Railway Hotel Greymouth
- Rimu Lodge
Check out the 10 Best Accommodation in Greymouth for Foodies for more details on our top picks.
Day 4 – Explore Greymouth
Today is your day to make the most of the distinctive West Coast flavours that typically revolve around whitebaiting, hunting, fishing and beer brewing. Greymouth also offers one of the most regarded brewery tours in the country at Monteith’s Brewery (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
If you’ve brought your rental vehicle to Greymouth (or just hire one for the day in the town), take a quick trip to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. No, they are not real pancakes, but foodie or not, who can help but appreciate food-shaped rocks? Alternatively, the neighbouring Barrytown provides the opportunity to make your own knife – a special foodie souvenir if ever there was one!
Food Experiences in Greymouth
- Tour the Monteith’s Brewery (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Get raw fresh New Zealand milk from CJ’s Milk
- Pick up some gourmet New Zealand meat products from Blackball Salami
- Make your own kitchen utensils with Barrytown Knifemaking
- Try West Coast delicacies like whitebait, blue cod and venison
See the 7 Things to Do in Greymouth for Foodies for more details and locations of each experience.
Day 5 – Greymouth to Akaroa
Travel time: 4h10mins
Return to Christchurch today the same way you came, either by train or by car. The train doesn’t depart until the afternoon so you have time to catch up on a few foodie experiences you might have missed yesterday.
If you took the train to Greymouth and back, it’s a good time to pick up a rental vehicle once you arrive back in Christchurch. From there, you can head to your next destination, Akaroa!
On your way into Akaroa, stop by Barrys Bay Cheese to sample handcrafted award-winning New Zealand cheeses and watch the cheesemakers in action through the viewing window of their factory shop. Note that the latter is only available on weekdays.
The Best Accommodation in Akaroa with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
- The Wharf Akaroa
- Annandale Coastal Farm Escape & Luxury Villa Collection
- French Bay House
- Beaufort House
See the 10 Best Accommodation in Akaroa for Foodies for more information on our top picks.
Day 6 – Explore Akaroa
As Akaroa has a history of French settlement, the passion for fine food has stuck around with cheeseries, wineries, French-style bakeries and more. Jump on The Bonjour Wine Tour to visit some of the boutique wineries in the area. If you’re lucky enough to be in Akaroa on a Saturday between October and April, then don’t miss the artisanal delights of the Akaroa Farmers’ Market.
Food Experiences in Akaroa
- Experience the Akaroa Farmers’ Market
- Tour the boutique wineries with The Bonjour Wine Tour
- Do a private wine tour of the Akaroa Winery
- Try award-winning cheeses at Barrys Bay Cheese
- Visit the Hikuika Permaculture Hazelnut Farm
For more details on each experience, see the 6 Things to Do in Akaroa for Foodies.
Day 7 – Akaroa to Oamaru
Travel time: 4 hours
Once you reach Oamaru, you have the choice between a cheese factory tour (see on Viator and Tripadvisor), artisan goods in the Victorian Precinct, a confectionary factory and, yes, another wine region!
We’ll go over the food tours and experiences tomorrow. Until then, dining recommendations include Cucina for their artful plates of Italian and South American cuisine and the Riverstone Kitchen where their own produce is grown on-site. See The Foodie Guide to Oamaru for more recommendations.
The Beach Accommodation in Oamaru with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
- Brydone Hotel Oamaru
- Pen-y-bryn Lodge
- Oasis on Orwell Bed and Breakfast
- Northstar Motel
- Heritage Court Motor Lodge
See the 10 Best Accommodation in Oamaru for Foodies for more information on our top picks.
Day 8 – Explore Oamaru
You can always travel part-way up the Waitaki Valley to pop into its boutique wineries like River-T Estate and Ostler Wines. Or stay in town and browse the Victorian Precinct with its hidden brewbars, scout out homemade artisan products at the Riverstone Larder, and indulge at the European-style Harbour Street Bakery. The white limestone architecture of the Victoria Precinct is pretty impressive too.
Food Experiences in Oamaru
- Tour a cheese factory complete with tastings (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try some craft beer in the Victorian Precinct…
- … Then pick up a pie, ice cream and artisan goods in the Victorian Precinct
- Venture to the Waitaki Valley wine region
- Get some naughty snacks for the road from Rainbow Confectionery
Take a look at the 7 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies for more details on each experience.
Day 9 – Oamaru to Dunedin
Travel time: 1h35mins
Head south today to the city of Dunedin, perhaps stopping by the perfectly spherical natural wonders of the Moeraki Boulders at low tide?
You’ll most likely have plenty of time to do some of the foodie tours in Dunedin once you arrive. But, as always, we’ll discuss some of the activities tomorrow. For now, book a table at Moiety for its fine dining plates of New Zealand fare in a casual setting. You might also like Bracken which gets you into the Scottish heritage spirit of Dunedin with farm-to-table dining. Find out more in The Foodie Guide to Dunedin.
The Best Accommodation in Dunedin with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
For more details on each accommodation, see 10 Best Accommodation in Dunedin for Foodies.
Day 10 – Explore Dunedin
Dunedin is kinda famous for its beers. It’s home to one of the most popular brands of New Zealand beer, which is found in every supermarket. Speight’s Brewery offers its own tour of where they make the good stuff in New Zealand’s oldest operational brewery (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). You can also do a chocolate factory tour at OCHO Chocolate Factory (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or treat yourself to high tea at Larnach Castle (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Food Experiences in Dunedin
- Tour the Speight’s Brewery with beer tastings (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Browse the Otago Farmers’ Market
- Join a chocolate factory tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Drink real cow’s milk
- Indulge in high tea at Larnach Castle (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
For more information on each activity, head to our 8 Things to Do in Dunedin for Foodies.
Day 11 – Dunedin to Alexandra
Travel time: 2h20mins
Today’s pitstops include Milton and Lawrence, the latter being a popular stop of the Clutha Gold Trail for its quaint cafes like Gabriel’s Cafe & Bar serving locally-sourced meals in a charming historic bank building. The Gabriels Gully Walk among a historic gold mining site is pretty cool too. You’ll also find plenty of walks in Roxburgh on your way to Alexandra.
Enjoy an evening in the more off-the-beaten-track foodie’s paradise of Alexandra (or the neighbouring town of Clyde). Speaking of Clyde, Olivers is a must-try eatery, or should we say three eateries! We also like Paulina’s Restaurant & Bar pioneering railroad theme combined with Spanish, Italian and Japanese cuisine.
Food Experiences in Alexandra and Clyde
- Tour the boutique wineries of Alexandra
- Sample craft beer at the local breweries
- Pick your own raspberries or enjoy afternoon tea at Monte Christo Raspberry Cafe
- Check out the Alexandra Friday Food and Produce Market
- Enjoy local cuisine at the restaurants and cafes
Check out the 5 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde for Foodies for more details on each experience.
The Best Accommodation in Alexandra and Clyde with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
Stay at one of the wineries overnight, ideal for true wine-lovers.
- Grey Ridge Vineyard Experience
- Olivers Central Otago Lodge & Stables
- Centennial Court Motor Inn
- Omakau Commercial Hotel
- Hawkdun Rise Vineyard & Accommodation
For more details on our top picks, check out the 10 Best Accommodation in Alexandra & Clyde for Foodies.
Day 12 – Alexandra to Queenstown
Travel time: 1h10mins
Your final destination today is Queenstown but not without passing through one last wine region on the South Island, the Otago wine region. Your first port of call is Cromwell, proving its fruit-producing superiority with a giant fruit sculpture. You can stop by a few more wineries here, but we recommend waiting to take a wine tour from Queenstown (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) so you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving.
After passing by the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley, take a quick detour to Arrowtown for its charming historic buildings, candy shops and ice cream parlours lining the town.
Queenstown is then your final destination on this foodie itinerary. Celebrate your amazing journey with a meal at the back alley-eatery of The Bunker. They specialise in game meats and cocktails. Or, let’s be honest, you just want to see what this “Fergburger” hype is about, so call in early to avoid the long queue. Check out The Foodie Guide to Queenstown for more suggestions.
The Best Accommodation in Queenstown with Restaurants/Meals/Breakfasts
Find out more about each place to stay in our 10 Best Accommodation in Queenstown for Foodies.
Day 13 – Explore Queenstown
Kick-off your day by exploring the Gibbston Valley wineries, whether it’s by bike (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or on a small-group driving tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor). Or, for something a little different, we recommend a gourmet Kiwi barbecue on the high country farm at Walter Peak (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For your final night in New Zealand, treat yourself to a progressive dinner tour with Alpine Wine Tours. Try sparkling wine, craft beer and food-pairings overlooking the Shotover River before doing some wine tasting and dinner in the Gibbston Valley. You’ll wrap up the evening with dessert in Arrowtown by a roaring fire. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Food Experiences in Queenstown
- Tour the Gibbston Valley wineries (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Do a craft brewery tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Cruise across Lake Wakatipu and indulge in a gourmet barbecue at Walter Peak (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Go on a progressive dinner tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Browse the local farmers’ market
- Try a famous oversized burger
For more information on each activity, check out 10 Things to Do in Queenstown for Foodies.
Day 14 – Queenstown to Queenstown Airport
Travel time: 10 minutes
Now’s your last chance to pick up an artistic doughnut ball from Balls and Bangles, an oversized burger from Fergburger, or a deep-fried kiwifruit from Erik’s Fish & Chips before heading to Queenstown Airport.
Should you need to pick up some last-minute souvenirs, there are some popular Queenstown brands at the airport including The Remarkable Sweet Shop and Patagonia Chocolates.
From there, it’s time to catch your flight, whether it’s connecting to Christchurch, Auckland or Australia and beyond…