A feast of views and flavours

Delicious wines paired with the freshest seafood, rich artisan cheeses, olive oils and orchards bursting with fruit - the Top of the South is a veritable feast of flavours, best enjoyed at the source.

Dinner and a view

The Top of the South is as well-known for its natural beauty as its exceptional food and wine, and the best way to enjoy it is to combine it all into one amazing feast of flavours and views.

Watch the sun set over snow-capped mountains and glistening Tasman Bay from Nelson Tasman’s iconic Boat Shed Cafe while savouring the best of local produce, watch the ebb and flow of the tide over a lingering lunch at Jellyfish Restaurant & Bar on Mapua Wharf, or venture further afield to Kaiteriteri’s Kai Restaurant.

In Marlborough wine country, your gourmet lunch comes with views of the vine variety at Wairau River, St Clair and Wither Hills, and at celebrated restaurant Arbour for dinner. Or treat yourself to lunch in splendid isolation: From Picton, Cougar Line and Beachcomber offer daily lunch cruises to Marlborough Sounds lodges while in Nelson Tasman, Gourmet Sailing will whisk you away for a gourmet picnic lunch on a stunning Abel Tasman National Park beach.

For the ultimate scenery/food combination, join Marlborough Tour Company’s Greenshell Mussel Cruise from Havelock, or Seafood Odyssea Cruise from Picton, to indulge in Marlborough’s delicious seafood paired with wine and gorgeous scenery.

Urban vibes, market delights

Food, wine, music and great atmosphere – welcome to the Upper Trafalgar Street dining precinct in central Nelson. Complete with outdoor seating, hammocks and live entertainment in the warmer months, cocktail and whisky bars and plenty of great food, Trafalgar St is the best way to soak in the vibes of this eclectic city.

In Blenheim, head for Scotch Wine Bar, a 1-Hat Restaurant where bean bags furnish the pavement, or 5Tapped, an eclectic bar where craft beer and vintage motorcycles happily coexist.

In the morning, head for the markets. Nelson’s Saturday Market is famous for its colourful and flavourful offerings, where many well-known global brands have found their roots. In Motueka, Sunday is market day, perfect for picking some delicious organic snacks. Both Nelson and Blenheim host weekly Farmers’ Markets, a relaxed way to sample local produce, sip coffee and chat with the locals.

Taste your way

From incredible wines to craft beers and cider, the Top of the South offers some of the best tasting trails around.

Sip a crisp sauvignon blanc and discover new flavours and varieties at an iconic label or boutique Marlborough vineyard, or savour a deep rich pinot noir at the South Island’s oldest commercial winery, Seifried Estate in Nelson Tasman. Both regions have a wine trail, offering every opportunity to indulge across spectacular cellar doors and vineyard restaurants.

If it’s hops that appeal, explore the craft beer trail from Nelson city to Golden Bay. Be sure to visit New Zealand’s oldest pub in Upper Moutere, and add the quirky, live performance venue of the Mussel Inn to your list. In Marlborough, Moa and Golden Mile Brewing are craft beer islands among the vines. Enjoy a pint with locals, learn about the history behind these breweries and experience unique flavours. There are also artisan ciders dotted around the regions, best celebrated at the New Zealand Cider Festival in Nelson Tasman this November.

Forage your flavours

There are few things more satisfying than enjoying beautiful fresh food straight from the source, harvested or caught yourself.

At Anatoki Salmon in Golden Bay, you can throw a line, catch your fish and have it hot smoked or prepared sashimi style on site, to be savoured at its best.

In Marlborough, Katabatic Charters offers bespoke cruises where dinner is sourced from the mussel farm or the seafloor, then served with the skipper’s own sourdough bread. Back on land, Cloudy Bay’s ‘Forage’ takes you into nature and to artisan producers to gather ingredients, to be expertly prepared by your chef for a very special Forage Dinner.

And for some family fun, Nelson, Pic’s Peanut Butter World not only lets you tour their factory, but the kids can have a go at making their own peanut butter.

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