18 days
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NZ Food Wine Landscape maps

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Small Group tour of New Zealand; Wine, Food and landscapes

Welcome to the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aoteroa or New Zealand. A country's gastronomy is a window on it's soul. High up in the Atlas mountains with the berbers it's one thing. In one of Paris's superb Brassieries, it's another. In New Zealand, it is so new and subject to so many influences, that the food scene is intensely exciting, vibrant, different. High quality food inNew Zealand has in the last 20 years exploded into existence as new Zealander's have brought home things discovered in extensive travel overseas and as talented immigrants have brought their own perspectives to our very fresh and unsullied local produce. For a small group tour, this is the finest gastronomic journey, collectively we can develop and offer right now, filled with wonderful warm people, landscapes and influences from every part of the globe. Limited only by the duration of this particular small group tour. We begin this escorted small group tour for mature and senior travellers in Auckland.

Jean-Michel is Odyssey's program leader for this 18 day journey through the New Zealand landscape. This program takes in some stunning landscapes and amazing places but is not a regular tour of tourist stop after tourist stop. Whilst Odyssey Traveller small group tours of New Zealand and all around the world have a significant historical, cultural and environmental learning base this program is about wine, food, and landscapes and some excerpts from the New Zealand art movement.

On this program we start in Auckland and finish the tour in Queenstown. Visiting and exploring Auckland and surrounds to the west and the east and the harbour with a tour of Waiheke island. South it is Taupo, the Hawkes bay, Martinborough and Wellington. Cross Cook strait and onto Kaikoura, Oamaru Pigroot and Queenstown for the finale.

The days itineraries have been thought out to allow you to enjoy, and saviour New Zealand. This is a country you may have visited once or many times, you have a curiosity about the certain feeling New Zealand offers. And this tour is one to allow you and your travelling companions as this program works well for that special celebration with a small group of friends. The program, a collection of well balanced days avoiding excessive eating and drinking but you and a chance to travel the length of New Zealand with some special experiences and learning as part of your journey.

Spiritual Concepts of the Maori and Food

The Maori conception of the spiritual nature of man is a matter of considerable interest. The Maori has ever recognized an immortal element in man, which styles the wairua. Indeed, Maori may be said to have held the theory of the tripartite nature of man—body, soul, and spirit being his tinana, mauri, and wairua. Within the Marae structure each member has an assigned speciality which gets called upon for special occasions.


Tom Loughlin and his family have long specialised in food gathering and preparation. A leading chef, search and rescue tracker, sika deer manager and hunting guide. Tom is your host for one of these days. The focus will be on the preparation and eating of a Hangi- a traditional meal cooked underground on hot rocks, but can include other aspects.

Tom writes "My philosophy at Kai Waho is a simple one, deliver the experience in a natural manner that is not normally for sale. The response is reflected in the positive reaction of the Manuhiri ‘Visitors’ the appetite for real ‘IS REAL’ and ‘This is just what we have been looking for’ is a common reflection. All of my personal experiences have been exactly this, creating an emotion, a memory that is still in me years after experience". Odyssey regards this an integral part of the experiences on this touring program.

Local guides in Food, Wine and Landscapes share their knowledge.

This small group tour will be accompanied by an Odyssey tour guide and are joined by expert local guides who will impart their knowledge about the places we will visit. Odyssey conducts educational tours designed for small groups of mature and senior travellers, focusing on history, culture, wildlife and other areas of particular interest where the trip is taking place. A small group tour is typically between 6 to 15 people. The cost of an Odyssey Traveller guided tour is inclusive of all entrances (unless otherwise indicated), tipping, and majority of the meals throughout the trip.

This particular tour has periods of free time built into the itinerary, allowing you explore some destinations at your own pace, and choose from a variety of available activities. This way, we make sure that there is something to enjoy for every kind of traveller.


New Zealand is well known for its network of boutique lodges and small charming hotels as well as traditional hotel style accommodation types. For this program we have selected accommodation that represents good value, is close to where we need to be, has some but not many amenities that the group need and has a good reputation for looking after travellers who are visiting and finally has rooms with terrific beds to sleep in after a day in the open air. We trust you enjoy the choices we have made that are above our usual choice of hotel to stay in.


Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

2 mins readNew Zealand

Queenstown is a resort town on the South Island of New Zealand. Built on the lakeshore of Lake Wakatipu, the town provides amazing views having the Remarkables Mountain Range as its background.

Volcanic Cone - Mount Eden

Definitive Guide to Auckland, New Zealand

15 mins read

Definitive Guide to Auckland, New Zealand Few cities are as geographically blessed as Auckland. While New Zealand’s largest city might be home to almost a third of the country’s total population, nature is never far…

Fur seal

Kaikoura, New Zealand

5 mins read

Kaikoura, New Zealand Perched spectacularly between the mountains and the sea, the small town of Kaikoura, New Zealand offers incredible opportunities for marine wildlife spotting. Kaikoura is on the South Island of New Zealand, around…

Odyssey Traveller

Questions about New Zealand for senior travellers

2 mins read

Questions About New Zealand for senior travellers Odyssey Traveller specialises in crafting unforgettable experiences for senior and mature-aged travellers interested in learning as a couple or as a solo traveller when they travel. Providing adventure…

Panorama from the top of Rimutaka Hill (Upper Hill, New Zealand)

The Wairarapa

5 mins read

Wairarapa, famed for its Pinot Noir and other wines. Learn more as part of escorted tour for mature and senior travellers as a couple or solo traveller about the region its people, landscape and history.

Aerial view of Wellington Cit

Wellington, New Zealand

3 mins readNew Zealand

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and the administrative centre of Wellington region, located on the south part of the North Island between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range.


While the South Island gets most of the attention thanks to Franz Josef Glacier, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Christchurch and more, the North Island has just as much to offer. You can learn about the volcanic and geothermal activity of the island and the Maori culture. Destinations worth a visit are the beautiful Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga up north with the Waitangi treaty grounds, Auckland and its volcanic islands, such as Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island, Rotorua, Tongariro, the Waitomo glowworm caves, the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington.

Some of the main cities of the North Island are Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Rotorua, Hastings and Gisborne.

Maui is a very important demigod in the Maori mythology. One day he overheard his four brothers that they wanted to leave him behind while going fishing. Maui made a fishhook from a magical ancestral jawbone and hid in the brothers’ canoe. When they were far out on the sea, Maui revealed himself, and threw the magical fishhook in the sea while chanting powerful incantations. The hook caught fast, and with the help of his brothers Maui brought the fish to the surface. He then begged them to wait until he had appeased to Tangaroa, the god of the sea, but the brothers did not listen and started to carve out pieces for themselves, forming the many mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and coastlines of the island.

If you want to cross from the North to the South Island, you either have to fly or take the ferry across the Cook Strait. The Interislander ferry operates between Wellington and Picton since 1962, and it takes about 3-3.5 hours to complete the crossing. The ferry route is one of the great journeys of New Zealand. On your journey, marvel at the beauty of Marlborough Sounds, the north coast of the South Island, which is made up of 1500 kilometres of sunken river valleys.

The South Island. The North Island’s area is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi), making it the world’s 14th largest island. With 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), the South Island is the 12th largest.

The population of New Zealand is around 4.9 million people, and according to the latest census, 76% lives on the North Island, equalling about 3.7 million people, while the South Island accounts for 23%, and the rest of the 600 islands for 1%. This means the North Island is the smaller but more populous island between the two main islands.

Initially Pakeha (European New Zealanders) settled on the South Island, and it wasn’t until 1911 that the population of the North Island overtook the South Island (56% vs 44%). The drift north still continues, with Auckland, the biggest economic hub of the country being the main driver of the change.

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, and there’s no better way to explore than by walking. Walking tours get you away from freeways, cities, and suburbs and into the heart of the pristine wilderness of New Zealand.

New Zealand offers a range of walks and hikes for different fitness levels, spanning from easy beach walks to the nine Great Walks, multi-day treks through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

Essentials include hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, warm clothing, a water bottle and a camera! For more suggestions, take a look at our list of things to bring on an Odyssey walking tour.

We also have a number of packing guides:


Our walking tour of New Zealand is rated as Level 3 – Moderate to Challenging on our fitness scale. For more information on our fitness levels click here.

Our Level 3 guidelines suggest that:

Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile and live an active lifestyle. Program activities may include up to 6 hours of continuous strenuous, moderate-to-fast paced activities per day on varied terrain.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List


Haere mai ki Aotearoa – welcome to the Land of the Long White Cloud. Upon at arrival at Auckland International Airport you will meet your guide and transfer to your inner city hotel. New Zealand’s largest and most multicultural city. Auckland is an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen of islands. Auckland’s vast harbour, quiet islands and vibrant cityscape offer an exciting and accessible mix of urban, water and wildlife activities.

Welcome dinner is included tonight.


Heritage Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we have a tour of the Waitakere ranges and a west coast Auckland beach. We stop at a food producer on the way back to the city.

Karekare Beach on the West Coast is known for its natural beauty and isolation. Auckland’s West Coast is very different from the East. Dense rainforest, crashing surf, black sand, often wild weather combine to make this a very soulful, brooding, beautiful place. This is where The Piano was filmed. There are some very good bush and beach walks in the area, as well as an easily accessible waterfall.

This afternoon we have a talk on Contemporary New Zealand art at the Auckland Art gallery.

This evening we visit 3 restaurants for 3 starters…

Accommodation: Heritage Hotel or similar


Today the group heads North and up to the east coast and Matakana. The group takes in the coast, and some local food and wine places. There is a trip out to Mansion house and Governor Grey’s residence. Grey had a long association with Western Australia.


Heritage Hotel or similar


The group takes a chartered yacht out into the Hauraki Gulf, head for Man o War Vineyard on Waiheke Island. There is a long lunch with tastings. The group sail back to to the Auckland CBD.
Group Dinner tonight will be somewhere special.

Accommodation: Heritage Hotel or similar


Depart Auckland and travel South towards the beating heart of the North Island (Taupo).

We make a stop along the way at Te Awamutu Museum to view Uenuku. An important Tainui artefact. Uenuku is one of the oldest Maori carvings in New Zealand. This carving was made using only stone tools and depicts one of the traditional Maori gods or spirits, he is said to manifest as a rainbow. Uenuku has 4 spikes at the top & 3 gaps in between which are believed to represent the 7 colours of the rainbow. The spirit of Uenuku was said to be brought to New Zealand on the Tainui canoe & this carving, made from New Zealand totara, was made here to contain this spirit. The spirit, brought here in a stone, was said to have sat in top circular part of Uenuku.
The Great Lake Taupo region is ‘Nature’s Ultimate Playground’, centrally located in the middle of the North Island, it’s an adventure and sporting mecca and a nature-lover’s paradise. The region is one of New Zealand’s top tourist destinations with beautiful forests, volcanic mountains and the stunning Lake Taupo. 

The group travel onto Mount Titiraupenga for a powhiri followed by a traditional picnic lunch.

Accommodation: Hilton Taupo or equivalent.


Today we travel onto Awakari. We spend the day with Tom Loughlin. Awakiri is a special 5,000 acre piece of Maori land with a unique mix of Maori culture and some of the best foraging (trout fishing, sika deer hunting, eeling and plant foraging) in the world, let alone the country. Your guide and host for the day is a Search and Rescue tracker, Maori chef, crack shot and all around good bloke.

Jean-Michel has been working with Tom Loughlin for over ten years. In that time he has managed this 5,000 acre block of Maori land with conservation principles uppermost in his thinking. The local sika deer population has been managed together with leading conservationists resulting in one of the healthiest groupings of that deer in the world. Ditto with the barely touched trophy trout stream. The eel population (a long-time Maori staple) has always been healthy.

Prolonged time here will incorporate a Maori-centric view on best practice for managing land. It will include authentic Maori cuisine. It will include exploration of this special part of the world. And it can but does not necessarily need to include some of the best Sika deer hunting and trout fishing in the world.

Over the years, Tom has used this land to mentor youth as to the importance of Maori principles in conservation. And with our clients that has transferred naturally to teaching. We can use this backdrop to teach tracking; trapping; shooting; meat preparation; fishing; and cooking. On request we can of course extend this line-up.

And from Tom himself:

My philosophy at Kai Waho is a simple one, deliver the experience in a natural manner that is not normally for sale. The response is reflected in the positive reaction of the Manuhiri ‘Visitors’ the appetite for real ‘IS REAL’. This is just what we have been looking for’ is a common reflection. All of my personal experiences have been exactly this, creating an emotion, a memory that is still in me years after experience.

The Awakari Expedition as an opportunity to explore how important relationships and life’s values are. All key ingredients in ‘Te Ao Maori’ The Maori world. The Awakari Expedition is not only the tented camp where you will eventually arrive, but also the journey you take to get there, the range of activities as you make your way across Ngati Tuwharetoa tribal land, makes the whole journey itself the destination. A destination realised only when you join us and become one of us according to our tradition.

Accommodation: Tented accommodation at Awakiri.

Overview: Located at the foot of Te Mata Peak, the architecturally designed Giants Craggy range winery complex, offers a second-to-none visitor experience. Here the Cellar Door offers relaxed and intimate seated tastings, while our restaurant serves the best local and seasonal produce prepared.

We travel up onto Te Mata peak to enjoy a walk of up to an hour taking in the view, before travelling onto our accommodation for the night.

Accommodation: Stay one night at the Masonic Hotel, Hawkes Bay or equivalent.

Overview: Today we travel through the Wairapa to Martinborough. The journey is broken with the landscape that we travel through being broken up with some short walks and exploring of the region as we travel South.

In the afternoon there is local tasting of the wines and a talk on the history of the region. Group evening meal.

Accommodation: Martinborough Hotel or equivalent.


It is a spectacular drive to Wellington from Martiborough. There will be opportunity to pause and explore along the way.

Tonight the group visits Hiakai for dinner.

Hiakai began in 2016 as a pop up series devoted to the exploration and development of Māori cooking techniques and ingredients. Māori were great innovators of food and land, developing their own style of earth cookery (hāngi) and successfully adapting plants and vegetables brought with them from Hawaiki to the much colder environment of Aotearoa. Over several centuries, these methods have been passed down, refined and still feed the hiakai people of Aotearoa today.

Since launching in 2016, Hiakai has established itself as a leading innovator in the New Zealand food scene. The sophisticated boundary-pushing menus created by Chef Monique Fiso are challenging the status quo of Māori food in New Zealand, while playing a leading role in keeping Māori food culture alive.

Hiakai has now opened as a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Te Whanganui a Tara, the capital of Aotearoa.

Accommodation: QT or similar


Today, we explore Wellington, contemporary art scene with the possibility of meeting local artists as well as a Te papa museum and the city’s history are explored on foot with relevant local guides.

Accommodation: QT or similar


Leisure day to explore Wellington, the harbour area, galleries, coffee houses and museum should you wish. Odyssey’s leader will assist you with your planning for the day.

Accommodation: QT or similar


This small group departs Wellington early on the inter islander ferry for Kaikoura. Arriving in the afternoon there is a walk of the township and its history given.
Kaikoura’s environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape. Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters.
Tonight we dine as a group at the Hapuka kitchen.

We stay one night at the White Morph. Set on the Esplanade in iconic Kaikoura, The White Morph enjoys commanding views of the ocean right to the distant horizon and mountains, and gives you access to all of the region’s many experiences.

Accommodation: The White Morph

Overview: Today is a travel day with breaks as we go South from Kaikoura to Oamaru. Key places of interest are explored on our journey.

Tonight we eat at Pen Y Bryn Lodge, where the Chef, is a master of any food style, so a custom food experience is offered.

Accommodation: Pen Y Bryn Lodge or similar


Through the Pigroot – traditional high country merino hogget roast at Lauderdale on the way through to Queenstown.

Affectionately called ‘Central’ by those that know it well, Central Otago is New Zealand’s most inland region, located in the southern half of the South Island. Discover Central Otago, a region where you will find a stunning countryside, lakes, rivers and rolling farmland, vivid seasons and rocky, mountainous landscapes; friendly townships; a well-preserved gold heritage; award-winning wineries, recreational opportunities from fishing, mountain biking and the Central Otago Rail Trail to winter sports like curling and ice skating; and so much more.

This evening the group explore Queenstown including the Blue Kanu and rum bars.

Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges, it is known as the “adventure capital of the world”. From sky-diving to fine dining, this resort town offers something for everyone. 
We stay 3 nights at a centrally located hotel with easy access to all that this premier four season lake and alpine resort has to offer.

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown or similar

Overview: Today the group has a jetboat ride followed by a picnic lunch up on the Makarora.

Jetboats were invented in New Zealand as a clever way of navigating the very shallow water we get on our South Island braided rivers. It is smooth, fast and very manoueverable. The boat takes you and your companions down the Makarora and up the Wilkin, showcasing some of the best jetboating terrain in the country – gravel banks, fast flowing rivers against a backdrop of Southern Alps, gin-clear water.

In afternoon we explore the region as a group with a trip to Wanaka then Arrowtown before returning to Queenstown in the afternoon for some free time before the evening meal.

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown or similar

Overview: Today we travel up to Amisfield for lunch.

Amisfield was established in 1988 and is a Central Otago based specialist producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines, sourced from fruit grown on their Single Vineyard Estate, situated beneath the glacially sculptured Pisa mountain range. Vineyards are managed holistically through organic practices focused around nurturing Amisfield’s unique soils, vines and habitats – this combined with a rugged inland location and an extreme semi-continental climate, yields wines of remarkable purity, intensity and vibrancy. A state-of-the-art purpose built winery is the focal point of the vineyard and is designed to enable winemakers to craft wines with minimal intervention and as naturally as possible

Tonight we enjoy an evening at the Botswana Butchery for dinner.

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown or similar

Overview: Tour concludes after breakfast.

Visit Bastion Point as the dawn breaks for a Karakia
Explore temperate rain forest in Waitakere including the Kauri tree habitat and the west coach beach of Karekare
See and learn about the Uenuku, one of the oldest Maori carvings in New Zealand
Explore Queen Charlotte sound on a 75-year old Kauri classic launch called “Tutanekai”
Spend days on the South Island, West Coast, Ponamu country with senior members of local Maori

What’s included in our Tour

  • 16 nights accommodation.
  • 16 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 14 dinners.
  • Transport by modern and comfortable coach.
  • Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
  • Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour
  • Detailed Preparatory Information

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry
Te Mata Peak landscape view across surrounding hills and Heretaunga Plains
Milford Sound fjord and Mitre Peak at low tide
Rangitoto Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Panoramic nature landscape in south island New Zealand with milky way, Wanaka, walking tour
Typical Maori Pounamu with Native Flora Background
Traditional hangi meal, cooked underground in an earth oven by Maori people, Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand
Sunset at Mt.Ngauruho, New Zealand Walking tour
New Zealand beehives
Martinborough New Zealand
Winding Country Road, New Zealand
Te Mata Peak landscape view across surrounding hills and Heretaunga Plains