Foodies rejoice as you sample your way through some of the world’s best fare, all produced in the great Southern region. You should know that being surrounded by ocean and farmland is a pretty good sign if you are seeking fresh local produce and Southland ticks both of those boxes. Enjoy succulent seafood, including world-famous Bluff oysters, Stewart Island salmon, mussels, paua and blue cod or farm-fresh vegetables and prime cuts of meat which are nearly always found on the menu along with the Southland staple - the cheese roll.
Want to excite your tastebuds? Get ready for some mouth-watering kai in some pretty unique places.
Your adventure begins in Te Anau, a town teeming with natural beauty and undiscovered gems. Start your day off right with breakfast at the Sandfly Cafe. On a sunny day sit outside and enjoy the morning sun while devouring the locals favourite, the hash brown stack with a coffee. Wander your way through the town and down to the waterfront. There is a lovely paved track that takes you right along the front of the bay.
For lunch, a must-visit place is Bao Now, who are passionate and imaginative about cuisine, finds fresh and local vegetables to generate fuel for the soul. Their large, bright food truck serves excellent kai such as baos, sushi bowls, dumplings, and fries. If you are more of a pastry fiend why not try the best pies in town at Miles Better Pies. Known for their mouth-watering, gravy dripping, meat packed pies, you might want to grab a few for the road... They are just that good!
Te Anau has lots of activities for keeping you entertained during the day. Take a journey into the mysterious underground realm of the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, where you will find hidden networks of limestone passageways studded with carved rock, whirlpools, and roaring underground waterfalls that make way for you to float in silence beneath the bright shimmer of glowworms. A fantastic alternative to experience Fiordland is to take a guided short walk with some of the knowledgeable locals.
Celebrate your first night in Te Anau by enjoying a meal at one of the many restaurants. Try local specialities like a Fiordland venison burger at The Ranch Bar & Grill, served with a hint of southern hospitality. Whether you are after the ultimate Fiordland food experience at Redcliff Café where you can try wild Venison, wild Hare, fresh Fiordland fish matched with neighbouring Central Otago wines or you want to dine in luxury with views of lake Te Anau this summer at the Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau had something to tantalise all tastebuds.
After a day chock full of sampling (or indulging) in some of the Fiordlands local delicacies make your way toto your accommodation of choice for the night. Te Anau boasts a wide selection of picturesque camping spots right in the centre of town to luxury lodges that showcase the awe-inspiring landscape of New Zealand.
Wake up refreshed and ready for the day. Take a drive to Kepler Mountain View Alpaca Farm Tours to feed the friendly Alpaca’s at Lake Manapouri, Fiordland. Offering fun farm tours where you can get close up with the friendly alpacas, feed them and take beautiful photos before hitting the road again heading south along the Southern Scenic Route. As you pass through Western Southland you must stop off at Tuatapere. Known as the Sausage Capital of New Zealand, it's always a great Instagramable photo opportunity with the sausage sign. If you are keen to try this local delicacy, pop into Tui Base Camp where you can taste a variety of sausage flavours old and new all made with local ingredients and if you are really keen you can even join in on one of their sausage-making tours!
Southland is known for its fresh produce and paddock to plate food experiences and they don't get much better than at the Orepuki Beach Café. Enjoy fantastic farm to table food, bread and cake baked in-house, and great coffee, beer and wine in the relaxing cafe where you can enjoy a great meal or delicious cabinet food. Nestled on 8 hectares of pasture they have a passion for serving fresh and producing their own lamb and beef. While you are in the area why not visit some of the local bays and beaches. Gemstone Beach is known for its impressions stones while Colac Bay is a renowned surfing spot!
Make your way back to Invercargill for your mid-day chocolate fix! The Seriously Good Chocolate Company creates high-quality, handcrafted gourmet chocolates with authentic New Zealand flavours. Their ingredients are sourced from the heart of Southland, and they develop kiwi flavours such as chocolates infused with New Zealander’s finest wines and beers. Take it up a notch and book yourself in for a chocolate-making class or tour and learn for yourself how they make these chocolates so yummy!
On the edge of the inner city, there’s the beautiful and sprawling Queens Park perfect for those keen to swing a nine iron, play a round of frisbee golf, visit the animals or walk the many tracks that meander through the park. Famous in New Zealand as the country’s only drivable beach, Oreti Beach is only a short drive from the city centre and the inner city itself provides endless activities, character, and culinary experiences to soak up.
After a day of exploring the lower south, head to the Ascot Park Hotel on the outskirts of Invercargill. This complex offers a variety of room types to suit all travellers, a swimming pool, a gym and the Emberz Bar and Restaurant where you will finish off your night. Emberz offers the perfect blend of a friendly welcome and casual dining in the comfort of a large, warm room embellished with native timbers, stonework and an ambient fire. There’s nothing like a cold beer and the company of like-minded locals and travellers at the end of the day.
Start the morning off early and head to Invercargill Airport to catch your Stewart Island Flight. Enjoy the scenic 20 minutes flight over Foveaux Strait and arrive at Rakiura Stewart Island for your Gravity Fishing Experience. Gravity Fishing Experience pair authentic fishing trips with a special focus on food, to offer you a real experience around the pristine waters of Stewart Island. After harvesting and learning about their ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly operation, you'll return to dry land where their world-class chefs take the super fresh catch and transform it into a mind-blowing dish right before your eyes!
If you like the sound of his experience, why not stay a while longer and see more of why Southland is known for its delectable seafood. Don't be daunted by Southlands seemingly limitless options for satisfying hunger. Use this foodie itinerary and experience some of the region's best meals, beverages, and hidden gems.