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
Population: 5 million. Learn more about New Zealand’s population here.
Languages: English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.
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.
- Auckland Foodie Guide – international flavours
- Tauranga Foodie Guide – craft breweries
- Rotorua Foodie Guide – Maori cuisine
- Napier Foodie Guide – oldest wine region
- Wellington Foodie Guide – capital city eateries
- Marlborough Foodie Guide – wine and green-lipped mussels
- Greymouth Foodie Guide – seafood delicacies
- Queenstown Foodie Guide – giant burgers and sweet treats
- Christchurch Foodie Guide – farmers’ markets
- Dunedin Foodie Guide – cheese rolls and chocolate factories
We encourage you to explore other destinations that are more off the tourist trail in our New Zealand Foodie Destinations guides.
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
- Winery tours and tastings
- Craft brewery tours
- Farmers’ markets
- Chocolate factory tours
- Manuka honey visitor centres
- Fishing charters
- City culinary tours
- Orchard tours
- Cooking classes
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.
- 7 Things to Do in the Bay of Islands for Foodies
- 8 Things to Do in Auckland for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in the Coromandel for Foodies
- 9 Things to Do in Tauranga for Foodies
- 8 Things to Do in Gisborne for Foodies
- 10 Things to Do in Napier for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in Taupo for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in New Plymouth for Foodies
- 9 Things to Do in Wellington for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in Picton for Foodies
- 9 Things to Do in Nelson for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in Takaka for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in Greymouth for Foodies
- 9 Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies
- 10 Things to Do in Queenstown for Foodies
- 9 Things to Do in Wanaka for Foodies
- 7 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies
- 8 Things to Do in Dunedin for Foodies
For more inspiration, head over to our New Zealand Food and Drink category.
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:
- 10 Best Accommodation in Auckland for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Tauranga for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Rotorua for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Taupo for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Wellington for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Nelson for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Queenstown for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Christchurch for Foodies
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:
- 10 Best Accommodation in Whangarei for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Paihia for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Hanmer Springs for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Wanaka for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Te Anau for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Greymouth for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Franz Josef for Foodies
- 10 Best Accommodation in Dunedin for Foodies
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.
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 Week, South Island Foodie Itinerary: One Week, North 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
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.