Forget scenery and wildlife – an international travel guide is lauding Banks Peninsula's foodie credentials.
Lonely Planet has called it one of the top-10 places to learn to cook the local cuisine, alongside culinary magnets Chiang Mai and Tuscany.
"With hiking, swimming with dolphins, and kayaking all on offer, you could visit New Zealand's picturesque Banks Peninsula and easily overlook the region's growing foodie credentials," Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011 guide said.
The guide recommends visiting "raffish" Lyttelton on a Saturday for "one of New Zealand's best farmers' markets".
Visitors are encouraged to return on Sunday to attend Governors Bay's She Chocolat chocolate school.
In nearby Akaroa Harbour, an emphasis on "self-exploration" will lead visitors to experience the "excellent boutique cheese and wine waiting to be discovered", the guide suggests.
The Akaroa Cooking School, focusing on local and organic ingredients, is also praised in the guide.
"There are few places in the world where you find this combination of genuine adventure, culinary experiences and French culture," Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said. In Akaroa, visitors can go from visiting the largest little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand to preparing local salmon or cruising along Rue Lavaud on a bicycle, he said.
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