The Foodie Guide to New Zealand© ATEED
The Foodie Guide to New Zealand

The Foodie Guide to New Zealand


How to Plan a Foodie Trip to New Zealand

Satisfy your appetite by making your trip to New Zealand revolve around food! You wouldn’t be the first to travel to New Zealand for its flavours, which has taken a cultural revolution over the past twenty-odd years. The country is a melting pot where menus are influenced by its diverse migrant population. That’s not to say that you can’t find tradition in New Zealand. Local artisans are eager to share their passion for winemaking, beekeeping for manuka honey and brewing craft beer through hands-on foodie experiences. Not to mention invite visitors to cultural encounters like a Maori hangi.

So, plan your gastronomical getaway with this complete foodie guide to New Zealand.

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New Zealand Resources: How to Plan a Trip

How to get there: New Zealand is a country on the Oceania continent in the South Pacific Ocean. Direct flights are available from the US, Canada, South America, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific Islands. See A Beginner’s Guide to Getting to New Zealand for more information.

When to visit: New Zealand is a year-round destination. Summer runs from December to February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August and spring from September to November. See The Best Time to Visit New Zealand to learn more.

What to pack: See our complete New Zealand packing list.

Currency: New Zealand Dollars

Size: 268,021km2 (103483 mi2) in total. It is approximately 1,600km (990mi) long and around 400km (250mi) at its widest point.

Getting around: Choose between car rental, campervan rental, public buses or bus tours with ferry, plane or train connections. Start planning with What is the Best Way to Get Around New Zealand?

Time zone: UTC/GMT+12

Population5 million. Learn more about New Zealand’s population here.

Languages: English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.

The Foodie Guide to New Zealand© Destination Queenstown

The Best New Zealand Food Destinations

Where should you travel to in New Zealand? First, you’ll need to decide on travelling either the North Island or the South Island, if you don’t have the time to visit both. The North Island is the most populated, therefore offering the most diverse array of cuisines and foodie experiences. On the other hand, the fishing and hunting culture in the South Island is unmatched. Check out other factors that might determine your decision in our North Island Vs. South Island comparison.

Once you’ve decided on an island, it’s time to add dots on the map. Here are just a few of the foodie hotspots around New Zealand.

North Island

South Island

We encourage you to explore other destinations that are more off the tourist trail in our New Zealand Foodie Destinations guides.

The Foodie Guide to New Zealand© DunedinNZ

New Zealand Food Tours and Experiences

New Zealand is all about experiences. Passionate locals encourage visitors to join them in hands-on experiences surrounding food, from in-depth brewery tours to preparing a traditional Maori hangi.

Types of Food Activities

Pair these foodie activities with the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand and you have an epic trip to look forward to.

Food Experiences by Destination

Sometimes, just finding food tours and activities in the destinations that you have already decided to visit is the best way to plan your itinerary. Take a look at the following articles to see what’s going on where you are going.

North Island

South Island

For more inspiration, head over to our New Zealand Food and Drink category.

The Travel Guide to New Zealand for Families© JUCY Group

Foodie Accommodation

Where you stay is all part of the foodie experience of New Zealand. Some establishments will serve their own fare while others offer self-catering facilities for you to get creative with local ingredients.

Accommodation with Meals and/or Restaurants

If your idea of hospitality involves being served local delicacies, then set your sights on some of the accommodations with a restaurant or meals available. New Zealand’s largest towns and cities have a choice of hotels often coming with their own dining experiences. See some of the following articles to check them out:

Self-Catering Accommodation

Making your own meals is super easy in New Zealand thanks to the abundance of self-catering accommodation. Motels, self-contained campervans, holiday parks, hostels, holiday homes and homestays all commonly have a kitchen so you can spruce something up – perhaps with ingredients that you have picked up from the farmers’ market? You’ll also find that self-catering helps keep the costs down. Some of the destinations with the best self-catering accommodations include:

The Foodie Guide to New Zealand©

The Best Places to Eat in New Zealand

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for; what are the best restaurants in New Zealand?

What are New Zealand Restaurants Like?

Be part of New Zealand’s prominent cafe culture where a “flat white” is how many Kiwis start their day. While fine dining is virtually exclusive to New Zealand’s largest cities and luxury accommodations, the rest of the country enjoys a more casual affair with staples being fresh “fish and chips” and “savoury pies”. That’s not to say that you won’t find variety, as New Zealand’s proximity to Asia means that Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine is prominent and done well.

Top Restaurants and What to Try

  • Te Puia, Rotorua to try a hangi
  • Nins Bin, Kaikoura to try crayfish
  • Seafood Bazaar, Hamilton to try kina
  • Ferg Burger, Queenstown to try a Kiwi burger
  • Cibo, Auckland to try pavlova
  • The Landing, Franz Josef to try whitebait
  • Giapo, Auckland to try hokey pokey ice cream
  • Marinovich’s Seafood Restaurant, New Plymouth to try paua
  • Mount Bistro, Tauranga to try roast lamb
  • Fairlie Bakehouse, Fairlie to try a pie
  • Raglan Fish, Raglan to try fish and chips
  • Blue River Dairy – Sheep Milk Cafe, Invercargill to try Southland cheese rolls.

Dive deeper into the dining scene of New Zealand in our guide on Where to Try Traditional New Zealand Food? and 16 Foods You Have to Try in New Zealand.

The Foodie Guide to New Zealand© MarlboroughNZ

How Long to Visit New Zealand For a Foodie Getaway

Allow around three to four weeks to comfortably see both the North Island and South Islands. Otherwise, planning to visit just one island is a smart option for a one or two weeks’ getaway.

One to Two Weeks in New Zealand

Within this time, you should explore just one of the main islands. Take a look at the itineraries: North Island Foodie Itinerary: One WeekSouth Island Foodie Itinerary: One WeekNorth Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks and South Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks.

It is possible to see both islands in two weeks, of course, by skipping some of the highlights along the way. See our New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks for details.

Three to Four Weeks in New Zealand

Three weeks to a month is a preferable time to visit both islands in New Zealand. Get inspiration from the New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: Three Weeks and New Zealand Foodie Itinerary: One Month.

The Cost of Food in New Zealand

Finally, how much will a foodie getaway cost you? New Zealand isn’t exactly the place for cheap eats. Plus, a food budget can range from NZ$20 per person per day if preparing your own basic meals all the way to NZ$100+ per person per day if eating out for every meal.

Below are some typical food prices. You can also compare prices across all expenses associated with a New Zealand holiday in How Expensive is New Zealand? and How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?

  • Main meal: NZ$30
  • Pint of beer: NZ$8
  • Small coffee: NZ$4.50
  • Fastfood pizza or burger: NZ$5
  • 1 litre (35fl oz) of milk: NZ$2.40
  • A dozen eggs: NZ$5.40
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of rice: NZ$2
  • 500g (1.1lbs) pasta: NZ$1.20
  • A loaf of sliced bread: NZ$1.20
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) cheese: NZ$11
  • 100g (3.5oz) dry freeze coffee: NZ$7
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of apples: NZ$5
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of bananas: NZ$3
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of tomatoes: NZ$10
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of onions: NZ$2
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of chicken: NZ$13
  • 1kg (2.2lbs) of beef mince: NZ$13.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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