Tastes of South Canterbury NZ Food & Wine
From gourmet to organic, fine dining to café, home cooked to takeaway, South Canterbury NZ presents rich variety in food of all flavours and styles. Not only does the region offer delicious fresh local fare but these can often be enjoyed with stunning views to match.
You’ll never be far away from a café or restaurant when exploring the South Canterbury region. Primary produce is the life-blood of farming here, so fresh, local and organic fare features prominently on café and restaurant menus. Most cafés are very child friendly. Several country cafés provide outdoor play areas and even friendly farm animals to amuse young café goers while parents enjoy a well earned break. Many cafés also supply children’s books and toys.
Regional main centre Timaru NZ has numerous cafés, restaurants and bars catering to all tastes and budgets. For a spectacular vista spanning sea to mountains, stop for coffee or a meal by “The Piazza” viewing area at the top of Timaru’s shopping precinct before taking in a beach front stroll along the Caroline Bay Boardwalk. Whether you enjoy fine dining, tradition kiwi fare or international cuisine such as Thai, Indian, Japanese or Chinese, you’ll find plenty of options in central Timaru just a short walk or drive from your accommodation. Pick up a Timaru city map and Café and Restaurant list from the Timaru or Geraldine Visitor Centre and see below for information about the South Canterbury Food and Wine Trail.
Inland towards the rolling hills and on the scenic route to Lake Tekapo, historic and picturesque Geraldine village has long been popular with foodies. Barkers fruit preserves, Elderflower juice, Waihi Bush oil, Clearwaters Organic Yoghurt, Talbot Forest Cheese and handmade genuine Swiss chocolates are just some of the flavours any local will tell you not to miss. Several friendly cafés offer a warm welcome and feature the best of "Taste Geraldine" on the menu.
If you’re travelling south, turn off to Waimate for a visit or even better, a weekend. Strawberry Fare in December celebrates the berry farming tradition of the area, but you don’t need to wait until the summer months to try delicious local produce. At Point Bush Estate Winery, you can sample the latest vintage while enjoying a night in a gracious Edwardian homestead. Nearby, the aptly named “Hunter” hills are a well kept secret amongst the international hunting fraternity; wild game features on the table of several local and hunting lodges. See Hunting and Fishing, browse our business listings for details on local guides and lodges or talk to the team at one of our Visitor Centres for more information.
A short drive north from Timaru, Pleasant Point is not only known for its steam train rides but also for the richly indulgent Denheath Custard square. Don’t leave the region without trying this famous local treat!
Fruit of the Vine
South Canterbury has three wineries, reflecting the unique character and flavour of our rocky soils and hilly terrrain.
Dedicated to producing superior wine in limited quantity since its early days in 1991, Opihi Vineyard and Café is situated on warm north facing slopes in the Opihi valley 30 km inland from Timaru. Just a short drive from Pleasant Point, Opihi Vineyard has earned a solid reputation over the years and the Opihi Pinot Gris in particular has been acknowledged nationally and internationally as a select, consistently high calibre wine.
Clifton Cottage, home of the Opihi Vineyard Café, was built in 1882 and has been lovingly restored. Enjoy relaxing in the conservatory with scenic views over the grounds and spacious lawns or have fun playing cricket, soccer and petanque or watching the kids in the children’s play area.
Established in 2000, Quarry Rock, based in the heart of South Canterbury, offers a boutique range of wines. Traditional wine making methods source grapes from an ever growing variety of carefully chosen vineyards in the Canterbury and Otago regions of New Zealand's South Island.
South Canterbury Food & Wine Trail
The new South Canterbury Food & Wine Trail is part of a suite of four Canterbury Food & Wine Trails featuring the best of local flavours, food and wine from North Canterbury, Selwyn, Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury.
Download a PDF version of the brochure here South Canterbury Guide.pdf or ask for your copy at one of our Visitor Centres and look for roadside or shop front signage indicating Food & Wine Trail membership.