Along with two Kiwi girls I enjoyed a memorable afternoon tea at The Savoy Hotel in London in the 1990's. The Savoy reopened on 10 October 2010 after a £220,000,000 makeover. Hotels might not be so grand in New Zealand but there are some lovely venues where you can experience the long tradition of high tea. Please note that unless otherwise stated, the price (subject to change) is per person, do book in advance. If you have any comments about high tea options listed, or suggestions of options to add, feel free to contact me or post your comments below. (Updated August 2014)
Neither my waist line nor my wallet could handle sampling high tea at all of the venues listed. If there is a photograph of treats, I've dined, if there is a photograph of the venue, I've passed by. I've found a few high tea reviews on Trip Advisor, another review site is Zomato (formerly MenuMania). It was my intention to provide information only, however sometimes I have veered into review territory when I thought an experience warranted it.
What's New? High tea at Zealong Tea Estate; Tasse Cafe in Dunedin; High tea at Trinity Wharf, Tauranga;
Hotel DeBrett, 2 High Street, city
Weekend high tea is served at Hotel DeBrett every Saturday and Sunday from 3-5pm, $55pp includes a glass of Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV. (Take a look inside a Classic Room at Hotel DeBrett via thecuriouskiwi/blog).
Sofitel Viaduct Harbour, 21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue
Sofitel describe their afternoon tea as a 'tantalising tour de force'. A Trip Advisor reviewer says '....it was just as good as The Ritz in Paris, infact better!' Afternoon tea is served from 12pm-4pm, bookings are essential and require 24 hours notice, minimum two.
Heritage Auckland, 35 Hobson Street, city
High tea at Heritage Auckland is served every day in Hectors Restaurant between 11.30am and 4.30pm, from $39 (there's also a vegan high tea option from $32). Select your choice of tea from the tea menu that includes unusual flavours like white peach, decaf hot cinnamon and pomegranate oolong. Twenty five food items were presented on a three tier stand, including lamingtons, chocolate coated strawberries and mini chocolate eclairs.
My pick of the plates was the mini lemon curd and fruit tart. Hectors Restaurant is less formal than I expected, it's relaxed and the atrium setting means its naturally lit and feels warm and spacious. (Photos taken at high tea in September 2012)
Alberton, 100 Mount Albert Road, Mount Albert
Alberton is a historic mansion dating back to 1863. Regular high tea isn't offered but tea parties are returning in February and March 2015. I visited Alberton during the Auckland Heritage Festival and was lucky enough to enjoy a Devonshire tea. Alberton is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30am - 4.30pm, it can be booked for weddings and special occasions.
Peace and Plenty Inn, 6 Flagstaff Terrace, Devonport
Peace and Plenty Inn hosts Victorian High Tea, $45 adults, children under 10 $20. Fine china, vintage tablecloths and elegant silverware complement the 1880 heritage Victorian villa. Victorian dress is optional, hats welcome or you may like to choose one from Peace & Plenty's collection. Children's Victorian High Tea Parties are also offered, from $30 including photograph.
The Brigham Cafe, corner Brighams Creek & Sinton Road, Whenuapai
Quiche, savouries and bite size sweet treats are on the high tea menu, from $25.
High tea and Devonshire tea are often offered as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival that takes place every year during September/October.
Auckland's Waitakere Estate, 573 Scenic Drive, Waiatarua
Auckland's Waitakere Estate serves high tea on Saturday and Sunday, midday to 4pm. There is also a high tea package that includes high tea, a three course dinner and accommodation.
Fisher House, 117 Kerwyn Avenue, Highbrook
High Tea, Royal Tea and Majestic Tea are your choices at Fisher House (minimum two required for High and Royal Tea, minimum four required for Majestic Tea), from $29.
Zealong Tea Estate, 495 Gordonton Road (formerly listed as Camellia Tea House)
There are two types of high tea at Zealong Tea Estate - Signature High Tea and Classic High Tea, both $42. Each high tea includes your choice of one of five Zealong teas grown onsite at New Zealand's only tea planation. It's a high tea experience we recommend - High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate via thecuriouskiwi/blog. Zealong Tea Estate is open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm. Closed public holidays.
Trinity Wharf, 51 Dive Crescent
Halo Restaurant at Trinity Wharf sits over the sea, so if weather permits it's lovely to dine outside. It was windy during our high tea visit so we sat inside with our three tier tray of treats. The macarons were especially good and we thought at $20pp including hot drinks the high tea was value for money. The restaurant was busy with birthday parties so the staff could have been forgiven for neglecting our table of two, but they returned to top up hot water and were cheerful despite the crowds. High tea is served from 2pm - 5pm, bookings essential.
Distinction Rotorua, 390 Fenton Street
High tea for two at Distinction Rotorua includes four club sandwiches, two sweet treats, two scones with jam and cream, and two hot drinks, at $12.50pp it's very good value. Sparkling high tea is also an option, $18.50pp. You've got a few choices in terms of seating - inside The Pavilion Restaurant, outside near the swimming pool or fernery. High tea is served daily 10am-4pm.
The Princes Gate Hotel, 1057 Arawa Street
The Distinction Hotel chain took over The Princes Gate Hotel on 1 October 2013. High tea is served in Memories Restaurant from $28pp. Check out reviews for the restaurant if you're so inclined, generally high tea has not rated well in the past.
The Blue Baths in Rotorua often host afternoon tea on Mothers Day.
Chateau Tongariro Hotel, State Highway 48, Whakapapa Village
High tea at the grand old Chateau Tongariro is worth the detour if you're travelling through the central North Island. See High Tea at Chateau Tongariro via thecuriouskiwi/blog.
Tupare, 487 Mangorei Road
Tupare is a restored home with a large landscaped garden. High tea is offered as a special event - visit the "Events" section on the website. The garden is open to the public daily from 9am - 5pm (8pm during day light saving), entry is free.
High Tea at the Victorian Room by Jill Jones-Evans and Joe Gambacorta explains the traditions behind high tea and includes over 100 recipes.
Port'O'Call, 9 Nelson Quay, Ahuriri, Napier
Port'O'Call is half design store, half cafe. I had a Devonshire cream tea ($9.90), but high tea and lunch are also on the menu. You can select your own china cup and saucer; and nice napkins, flowers and cute tea cosies make this a port'o'call for those who like something pretty with their tea. Open 7 days.
Grandma's Kitchen, 8 Kitchener Street, Martinborough
High tea is served in the tea room at In.gre'di.ent cafe, deli and wine bar on weekends and public holidays only, group bookings at other times by arrangement.
Catherine's Kitchen, 92 Main Street, Greytown
Catherine's Kitchen updates their Facebook page regularly and you can see photos of high tea and other goodies from the kitchen. They offer some good specials too. Open Wednesday - Friday, 10am - 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am - 4pm.
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park, High Street, Masterton
High tea is served in The Grill, choose a traditional, bubbly or a chocoholic high tea, served daily from 2pm - 5pm, from $16.50. High tea for children is also available, from $9.50 (3-10 years), minimum two. Bookings essential.
Over the Teacups, 44 Seaview Road
I had to settle for looking through the window of the vintage themed tea and coffee house in Paraparaumu Beach as we were in town out of hours. You can book for high tea ($25pp) or visit anytime for Devonshire tea. High tea includes old fashioned treats like butterfly cakes, pikelets, mini lamingtons and savoury pinwheels. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 9.30am - 3.30pm. (The photo on the left is the cafe interior, adult high tea is on the right in the second photo, and little ladies high tea ($15) is on the left).
Museum Art Hotel, 90 Cable Street
There are a few high tea choices at Museum Art Hotel including Hip High Tea (includes a cocktail), and Elegant High Tea (includes a glass of bubbly). High tea is served Wednesday - Sunday from 2pm - 4.30pm. (Museum Art Hotel won the NZ section of the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2013 and were Global Champions in 2015).
Ladies, A Plate - Traditional home baking by Alexa Johnston has recipes for popular afternoon tea treats like lamingtons, scones and butterfly cakes.
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace
Tempura prawn tails, vegetarian rice paper rolls, and chocolate dipped strawberries are on the high tea menu at James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor. High tea from $26pp.
Sweet Pea, 259 Jackson Street, Petone
Sweet Pea serve high tea from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am - 3.30pm, priced from $29 for Posh to $49 for Poshest. High tea for children aged 5-12 years is also on the menu ($22), and birthday parties may be catered for by arrangement. Visit Facebook for more information.
Melrose House operates as a cafe and high tea can be accompanied by French Champagne. Sunday is a special day as antique tea sets decorate the tables. Melrose House is a grand old lady, take tea either inside, on the verandah or on the lawn.
Warwick House, 64 Brougham Street
Warwick House is a B&B that also offers high tea for groups of 10 or more, usually a classic pianist can be arranged to play. We stayed at the B&B in November 2011, high tea is served in the ball room (photos below).
Lynley Kayes is a Vintage Hire business in Nelson and it has the accessories you need to make your table beautiful.
At Chillingworth Road Cook School you are shown how to make macarons and pastry cream in a High Tea class, $80pp.
The Tea House, 6 Robert Street, Lincoln
Fine china and silver tea pots are out every day at The Tea House where you can have Royal High Tea for $27.50pp or Devonshire Tea for $14pp.
Want to host your own tea party? The China Cabinet in Christchurch can supply you with the pretty things you need, and Vintage Tea Party can take care of the catering and provide the china and cutlery.
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
Comments to date: 17. Page 1 of 1.
Thanks Kelda, they've got an informative and attractive website too, I've added a link in the Dunedin section.
Great list! Just missing Tasse Cafe in Dunedin. Best high tea I've experienced (except for Savoy) in London!)
Hi, sorry for not getting back quickly- High tea is actually served early evening- its the evening meal usually for the working class and would comprise either a hot meal followed by cakes, bread and jam, or cold cuts of meat.
Its afternoon tea, not high tea- high tea is a very different thing. It would be great if these places actually looked into the history behind what they are advertising
Love your site but can't post urls here, check out Louis Sergeant on Featherston Sy Wellington for French high teas
Thank you for including All About T :)
Hi Rachael... You must have been at Tophouse in the last few months, as I only took over the business in october 2012. I recognise the plate and silver holder! Hope ypu enjoyed your experience there.
You're welcome Christina, I have sent you an email.
Thank you for including Stafford Villa, I found your web site by accident and was very impressed with the selction of high Teas in New Zealand.Please when you are in Auckland come along to a Stafford Villa High Tea we would love to have you.
Hi Im the reviewer you mentioned in your review of Rotorua's Princes Gate, the price came from a public holiday surcharge and I should have said two stands of food, but by the looks of it you had a better day than we did, as we certainly did not get 14 treats and grapes. I also took my husband and son, not a good idea. My objection was that the picture used in their web site was nothing like what was served, to their credit they have since changed this and now an actual picture of their tea app... read more »
Thanks Gloria, I've really enjoyed putting the information together and experiencing the different venues and types of high tea offered. Enjoy the tasting trail, a good high tea is a real treat. If you'd like to, feel free to come back and comment on your experiences. Rachael @thecuriouskiwi
What a wonderful selection of places to go - In Auckland alone a great choice! Passionate about high teas, will go on the "Tasting" trail and recommend the experience to everybody.