Only 130 tea plants survived the rigorous quarantine process that the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture subjected them to. Luckily, thanks to the region’s mild climate, terroir and lack of heavy frost, the Gordonton-based farm proved to be the idea spot for growing the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Today the plantation stretches over 48 hectares, with 1.2 million lovingly-nurtured plants making up the magnificent Zealong Tea Estate.
Zealong is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and home to the world’s purest tea.
Zealong is an aesthetically pleasing haven of peace and serenity. Whether one plans to dine at the Tea House, take the guided tour (an exclusive and interactive 2-hour experience for tea enthusiasts), or buy something special at the Retail Shop, every aspect of this lovingly tended estate is a delight to behold and a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Tea House
The Tea House, Zealong’s sophisticated restaurant, offers an array of internationally inspired light lunch dishes – either made with or specially designed to complement the tea. Visitors to the Tea House are introduced to the gracious art of tea hosted by highly trained and knowledgeable staff. Diners are also treated to the wide variety of exciting new flavours and aromas of uniquely NZ-grown teas and two mouth-watering High Tea options - the famous Zealong Signature High Tea and the High Tea with Sparkling Wine (featuring tea-infused pastries elegantly presented on tiered stands).
Discover Tea Tour
Zealong’s time-honoured origins are always top of mind. Guests experience an interesting and entertaining Discover Zealong Tea Tour as they meander through the magnificent gardens and grounds, stopping en-route to contemplate the remarkable narrative beside the numerous hand-crafted copper statues. Here they learn the fascinating story behind the history of tea, how it is made, and how Zealong grows pure organic tea in New Zealand.
Unique to this tour is the opportunity to take a selfie or two beside an exhibition tea bush plantation and authentic baskets while dressed in traditional tea picking garments.
At the end of the tour, visitors are served a traditional ceremony which describes the fine art of tea appreciation and how to brew that perfect cup. All five of Zealong’s Origin teas are presented at this experience, with a focus on identifying flavours and qualities through whole leaf styles, colour, aromas, and taste.
The tour is suitable for large and small groups and special enquiries welcome. Shorter tours are also available and bookings are essential.
The Vista and Retail Store
The Vista is a double-storey, multi-dimensional, award-winning, on-site Conference, Event and Retail Centre. It is also home to the state of the art tea factory and offices as well as four unique function venue options situated on two floors. The Vista has quickly become a firm favourite with private and corporate function organizers in search of a stunning indoor/outdoor venue which easily transforms into any work or fun space and offers uninterrupted views of the breathtaking Waikato heartland.
The recently opened, spacious Retail Shop is encased by floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing for an abundance of soothing natural light.
This, together with the dulcet sound of classical music, makes for a relaxing shopping experience – a perfect setting for tea lovers searching for their favourite 100% certified organic tea, a beautifully packaged gift or souvenir by which to remember their Zealong experience. The complete selection of Zealong flavours is available and visitors are encouraged to sample a variety of tea while browsing.
Zealong Tea was given the thumbs-up by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and has also been enjoyed by a number of VIPs such as China’s President Li and John Key.
Zealong’sprestigious awards include The 2017 Global Tea Championship Winners’ Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo - People’s Tea Choice Award for Best Bagged Hot Tea; Top honours in three categories at 2017 Global Tea Championships in the USA; Natural and Organic Beverage awards in Hong Kong and London; a Great Taste Award in the UK; and a Waikato Business Excellence award.
Zealong’s tea-centred experiences are a firm favourite with tourists and locals alike. Qualmark accreditation, TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence and being featured in the 2017 Lonely Planet New Zealand Guidebook are but a few of the badges of honour the estate is able to proudly display.
An added bonus for visitors is the ample free parking and easy accessibility.
(07) 854 0988
Zealong Tea Estate, 495 Gordonton Road, Hamilton, Hamilton - Waikato, New Zealand
Retail Shop open Monday – Sunday 9.30am-5pm
Tea House open 10am-5pm (open 7 days during summer)
Discover Zealong Tea Tours run twice daily (booking essential)
Months of operation: All months of the year
Proximity To Airport: 30mn drive to Hamilton airport
Proximity To Coach Terminal: 20mn drive to Hamilton coach terminal