Cuisine editor Kelli Brett maps out the perfect 48-hour escape in the Hurunui region.

A weekend in Waipara is your gourmet dream come true and I’ve found somewhere truly special for you to stay. Nestled within the gentle hills of Omihi, Kumiko’s Guest House was built in 1995 by Waipara wine pioneer Russell Black for his wife Kumiko. Together they planted the original Black Estate vineyard, and this magical guesthouse located right next door now offers a magnificent base for a weekend of gourmet explorations. Purchased in 2018 by Paul Robertson and Sue McGregor, the property has had a complete upgrade while retaining the peaceful and gracious influence of Kumiko’s Japanese heritage. An internal courtyard (genken) sets the scene for you to switch off and forget the chaos of everyday life and your first glance at the luxurious and complimentary kitchen larder will give you an excellent idea of the abundance of artisanal produce that is available in this bountiful region. As so many fabulous local dining options are available for you to explore you probably won’t need to cook much in the fantastic chef’s kitchen, but your breakfasts and lazy afternoons can be spent in the sunken Japanese-inspired dining room with its 90-degree views, or perhaps you might lounge with a great magazine in the living room, which opens to an expansive terrace and a calming and ever-changing view of the hills of the Three Sisters.

There’s also a billiards room, two generous bedrooms and the main bedroom suite just steps away from an outdoor cedar hot tub, a mandatory spot for enjoying the spectacular views of the stars at night. If you’d like something a little more intimate and casual, you could perch yourself high above the Waipara Valley in one of three bespoke and off-grid cabins designed to fuse luxury with the true Kiwi camping experience – retreat into the natural bush surroundings to enjoy the view from a private outdoor tub. Whether you choose the guesthouse or the cabins, your stay here will quickly peel away any layers of stress and anxiety, leaving you with a sense of calm and an almost spiritual longing for a deeper connection to all that surrounds you.
Kumiko’s Guest House and Russell’s Cabins, 618 Omihi Road, Waipara.

Enough of the zen, it’s time to get into the reason you are really here, and I’ll start at Black Estate where the late Russell and Kumiko Black first planted their pinot noir and chardonnay vines in 1993. Penelope Naish and Nicholas Brown now own and manage this family-run vineyard, which has grown to include three organic vineyard sites producing internationally acclaimed wines, a cellar door, a B&B and their award-winning restaurant. It’s an absolute must to visit this sophisticated and yet unassuming winery, where head chef Olly Le Maitre and his team serve up thoughtful food that is firmly and proudly connected to some of Aotearoa’s most outstanding growers and producers. On my menu, an Ocean Speared white fish tartare was topped with salty slivers of kingfish bacon and served on a Grizzly Midnight Sourdough; this became the starting point for a wave of happiness. I moved on to Olly’s pickled green-lipped mussels and clams snuggled into a toasty nut pesto, the tiny shards of preserved lemon giving an unexpectedly vivid burst of bitter citrus. The marriage of a bowl of honeyed confit yams with salsa verde to a glass of the Black Estate Netherlands Chardonnay with its fresh and delicious minerality, showed so much commitment to its relationship that it had me wondering how something so simple (albeit deceptively) could be so impossibly right. As I sat gazing over the vineyard and the rolling Canterbury skies it occurred to me that the people here are totally in sync. From the winemakers, to the kitchen, through to front-of-house there is a synergy and an energy that has the power to evoke a great sense of place. Their place. This can only happen when the intent and purpose become greater than the individual players. The resulting experience makes Black Estate a wonderfully worthy destination.
Black Estate, 614 Omihi Road, Waipara Valley.

At the very least, a wine tasting and some snacks are in order, but a long, lazy lunch at Greystone should be mandatory when you venture along the picturesque Hurunui vineyard bike trail. Chef Cameron Woodhouse has gained knowledge and skills at some impressive restaurants (including Inati in Christchurch and Amisfield in Queenstown) along the road to heading up the kitchen at this intimate and casual cellar door and eatery. You may start with a Greystone sourdough and housemade butter followed by spankingly fresh turnips with a sheep’s milk labneh and roasted garlic, paired with a crisp, crunchy 2021 Greystone Pétillant Naturel. A roast potato might be the hero, providing an earthy nest for a deep green parsley and buttermilk sauce, taking a seamless dance with a pale lemon chardonnay that is both rich and slightly spicy. Some sticky, smoky beef brisket may appear, cut with sweet/tart pickled plum and, if my ricotta gelato spliced with Greystone verjuice curd and lemon granita was any indication of the general approach to the big finish here, then you are in for something special for dessert. The four-course long lunch menu is unfussy and cleverly paired with five outstanding wines, which were grown, made and bottled almost right where you sit. There is no better way to get a true taste of the land than to be right in the middle of it, soaking up all of that Greystone flavour. At $89 per person including wine pairings, an afternoon here is extremely well spent.
Greystone, 376 Omihi Road, Waipara.

During my stay at Kumiko’s Guest House, Sue and Paul very generously left me a bottle of Boneline chardonnay in the fridge. What a find! The Tutton Sienko and Hill family partnership began planting vines in 1990 on the upstream, south bank of the Waipara River, to produce their original wine brand Waipara West. They launched The Boneline brand in 2014, named for the line in the Waipara River that reveals fossilised bones when the water level drops. Both the intriguing label and the outstanding taste of this gifted bottle of chardy had me making a fossil-line for their cellar door – situated in front of their fully operational winery on Ram Paddock Road – to find out more. I was in luck as Jack Hill, son of viticulturist Lindsay Hill and property manager Vicki Anne Tutton, was on shift and at the ready for a tasting of these handpicked and handmade beauties. The striking black or white Boneline labels showcase wines that bear very different characteristics, with the white labels seeming to have an edge toward fresh minerality and the black seeming to nod towards a more soft and savoury finish. Whatever your preference, the brand honours a connection to the old vines that are still nurtured for their concentration and richness of flavour and the land on which their grapes are grown. There are plans afoot to extend the cellar door offering to include food, which will sit nicely within their relaxed, delicious vibe. Keep an eye out for their next Fire And Feast event; the first one saw four courses cooked over fire, to live music, amid giant tipis… and was apparently, “EPIC.”
The Boneline, 376 Ram Paddock Road, Broomfield.

To round out your gourmet weekend experience you must pay a visit to the legendary family-owned winery that is Pegasus Bay, where the unstoppable and much-loved Donaldson family has been involved in local grape-growing and winemaking since the early 1970s. Hospitality stalwarts Belinda and Ed Donaldson have bounced back from the crippling effect of the pandemic on their award-winning restaurant with yet another phenomenal offering that takes full advantage of their spectacular grounds to celebrate the vibrant artisan food-producing community of Canterbury. They’ve reimagined their iconic restaurant space to create Pegasus Bay Mini Deli, where Belinda has cleverly curated the most incredible tastes for you to create your ultimate gourmet experience and at the same time support the people behind the spectacular food bowl that spans this delicious region and its surrounds. You’ll find the perfect combination of goodies to set you up for a relaxed and indulgent afternoon exploring local flavours, while enjoying the famous Pegasus Bay wines and exploring the gardens. You can expect to find hand-made Hope River Pies from Lyttelton, cured meats by Poaka in Aylesbury, pesto, patés and desserts from Feed The Soul in Prebbleton, sensational salmon paté from The Smokehouse in Māpua, mānuka-smoked salmon from Holy Smoke, vegan meats and cheeses from Grater Goods and small-batch condiments from Artisan Vinegar, all in Christchurch. There’s much more to explore than I can fit on this page; the cheese selection alone – which includes Karikaas, Over The Moon, Cranky Goat, Mooody Cow and Thorvald – is enough to make me want to settle in for a serious fromage-affair. You can also grab a hot dish and salads from the counter, where the team will arrange it all in handwoven, locally made baskets that include everything you’ll need to plate it up and devour. The grounds, along with the outstanding wines, are the big draw here. I think this might just be New Zealand’s ultimate picnic…
Pegasus Bay, 263 Stockgrove Road, Waipara. or email

Exploring that magnificent Waipara wine trail all day might have you yearning for a bit of a break from the grape, which is a good reason to head to Amberley for a little breakfast, brunch or lunch stop at Little Vintage Espresso Café. Here you will find good food and good coffee and can mix with the locals at communal tables. It is obvious that owner-operators Vanessa Hanna and Matt Rudge are proudly supported by their surrounding community. The cabinet fare looks sensational and all-day breakfasts and spectacular-looking cakes and rolls are in huge demand. My money is on the Little Vintage Big Breakfast. There’s just something about field mushies, crispy bacon, poached eggs, roast tomato, cheese kransky and homemade baked beans on great toast.
Little Vintage Espresso Café, 20 Markham Street, Amberley. 

While in Amberley it would be rude not to head to Brew Moon Brewing Company, North Canterbury’s original craft brewery. It’s another family-run establishment where Kieran McCauley, Belinda Gould and their team are brewing more than 1,500 litres a week for hand-crafted beer enthusiasts. The vibe is super-relaxed, the beers include a range of their classic originals and seasonal brews across their 16 taps and you can even top up the chilly bin with their range of canned beers. Their Gourmet Traveller beer series sounds so much like us it is uncanny. On the taproom menu you’ll find the usual small plates (the moon burgers look good) but it’s the wood-fired pizza you want to go for, served straight from the outdoor pizza oven. You can’t beat freshly sliced field mushrooms, garlic oil, mozzarella, feta and fresh thyme.
Brew Moon Brewing Company, 12 Markham Street, Amberley.

The New Zealand truffle business has come of age and no self-respecting gourmet can go to the Hurunui without investigating the local truffle. Hot summers and frosty winters are essential ingredients for that famous truffle flavour and aroma and this is the place to find a good one. During truffle season the region’s growers offer relaxed on-farm tasting experiences and truffle events at many of the wineries with wines to match. Kings Truffles is one of the largest producers – with over 6,000 sustainably grown trees – and is led by the phenomenal Jax Lee. If you happen to be visiting between June and August you can book in for a bespoke truffle hunt and take a leisurely stroll through the trees to experience the thrill of watching her incredibly skilled dogs sniff out the luxurious goods. You will then join Jax to enjoy one of the most special meals that you will ever have; exquisite, simply prepared truffle-based fare, eaten while overlooking the truffière and learning all about these rare, earthy delicacies. If you are not visiting from June to August, this is a great excuse to mark your calendar for a return visit next year.
Kings Truffles

Kelli travelled to the Hurunui courtesy of and

For a constantly updated list of local activities go to


If you are in the area and you have plenty of time, don’t miss out on these Waipara gems:

Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail

Take a picnic to Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park

Gifts and homewares at Ruby Six