Urban walking tours - with food - mean everyone's a winner, writes Alexia Santamaria.
It's always a challenge to navigate yourself around a city for the first time. Especially if you're prone to FOMO and don't want to miss any of the best bits. That's where walking tours can be really helpful, and what could be better than one that takes you around all the best foodie spots. Get some exercise, taste some local treats, orientate yourself in a location and enjoy . . . because we all know calories don't count if consumed on the move. Here are some to try this summer.
While currently on hold due to alert levels, The Big Foody Food Tours and Eat Auckland are planning to be back and bigger than ever this summer. Join Elle at The Big Foody for food and beer-based strolls around the central city and Mary at Eat Auckland to explore suburbs rich in migrant cuisine. Think Sandringham for Food & Spice and Panmure for Tastes of Sri Lanka and food from around the world. Authentic traditional food from all over the globe, without leaving Tāmaki Makaurau.
Waikato and Coromandel
Hiking is great. But hiking with food and wine tasting experiences is even better. Nature and Nosh combines lush native bush, waterfalls and rolling landscapes with everything from wine tastings to paddock-to-plate lunches, blueberry farms and excellent local fish 'n' chips. There's something for every palate - and fitness level.
Okay, it's not exactly on foot but we couldn't miss out this Bay of Plenty gem (and to be fair you do need to use your feet a little to get your scooter moving). Dine on a Lime is a self-guided scoot around 18 amazing foodie spots in Mount Maunganui. Download the map, jump on a Lime scooter and discover favourite eateries and dishes as voted by local food lovers - icecreams, cheese scones, Turkish eggs, cinnamon buns, hangi pork ramen - there's truly something for everyone. Of course, you don't have to do all 18 at once, it's the perfect excuse to come back again.
Over the past few years, more and more breweries have popped up in certain areas of Wellington -all in perfect walking distance from each other. Although you could drift between them yourself, you'll have a much better time doing it with the team from Craft Beer Tours as you can meet the makers, see behind the scenes and taste some great food along the way. Try the Ale-Traction tour at Brewtown or request the Ex-beerience the Capital or Crafternoon Delight as the walking version. These guys live and breathe beer and will make your experience of it in Wellington much richer.
These are food tours with a bit of everything, led by a passionate Cantabrian who's always got the skinny on what's just opened - or what the locals are currently loving. But while Āmiki Cultural food tours are definitely all about the food, the walks provide a lot more than that. Riwai and his crew weave stories of Ōtautahi's Māori history into their experiences so people leave with their tummies, hearts and minds all full and happy.
Lake Dunstan is the place to go right now with the opening of the incredible cycle trail earlier this year. But if 55km of cycling doesn't sound like your cup of tea, maybe 8km of walking does? The Four Barrels Walking Wine Trail is a free walking tour around four excellent Tasting Rooms in Cromwell. Stop at Misha's Vineyard, Aurum Wines, Scott Base and Wooing Tree Vineyard, while soaking up some wonderful scenery around the Lake. And if 8km on foot still sounds a bit much, hire yourself an e-bike and do it that way instead (we're not judging).
If you're headed to any of these locations this summer, definitely consider booking in on one of these tours. There's nothing like local knowledge to point you in the right direction for good kai (and save you from bad coffee) and meeting the local makers and producers will always give you a deeper insight into the people and culture of a city. Eat and drink where the locals go and learn the city's secrets at the same time.
Check alert level restrictions, vaccine requirements and Ministry of Health advice before travel. covid19.govt.nz