Bracingly fresh wines, just-picked organic vegetables, and local cheeses are served alongside Indian curries and Indonesian noodles in New Zealand’s increasingly cosmopolitan cities. While touring vineyards, stop for food and wine paired perfectly with stunning landscapes. Wine lists are, as expected, top notch in every part of the country.
On the windy road to Cape Reinga, you’ll find a pastry-filled Nirvana. It’s called the Container Cafe, and it has more than 200 five-star Google reviews for a reason. Here you’ll find a kaleidoscope of different pie flavours, including its legendary pāua pies.
A fine-dining chef has turned his hat to burgers, creating one of the best joints in town. Sneaky Snacky, on K-Road, serves glazed doughnut burgers that are works of art.
The Juicy Lucy, for example, has delicious beef flavoured with a beef consommé, bone marrow sauce, and a Cheetos crumble. The patties are created in a way that has a molten cheese ball inside them, which bursts open when you eat it.
On the outskirts of Hamilton you’ll find the country’s only organic tea plantation.
Zealong Tea has a restaurant nestled among 1.2 million tea plants, where you can experience high tea, alongside a tea tasting ceremony.
The best thing we tried in Coromandel was at one of our favourite places to relax: Wairua Lodge.
You’ll find it 20 minutes outside Whitianga, where a series of hotel rooms are tucked away in the bush, alongside a treehouse bath, a star spa for watching the Milky Way, and a firepit for creating fresh s’mores (you’ll be provided with the ingredients).
Watching the stars while chewing on melted chocolate biscuits is bliss.
On Rotorua’s famous Eat Street, you’ll find one of the city’s best sweet treats.
CBK Craft Bar and Kitchen serves a hot gooey cookie skillet topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Doughboats are, as their name suggests, a giant doughnut-shaped boat with a table in the middle and a cabana for shade. Grab a group of up to six friends or family and set off with your small electric motor around the lake. Grab a Greedy Pizza for the ride.
The Chef’s Table is like a journey to the dining equivalent of heaven. You first need to drive to the remote Blue Duck Station, before ascending a mountain in an off-road vehicle to a hilltop off-grid restaurant. There you will be served a 11-course degustation, prepared with fresh ingredients from the farm. Expect dishes to delight and surprise such as aged venison finished with manuka smoke, elderberries, hazelnuts and 90 per cent dark chocolate. They’re all presented so well you almost don’t want to eat them.
Bay of Plenty
Hello fish and chip lovers – this one is for you. Bobby’s Central Fish Market in Tauranga has the freshest fish in the city. How fresh? Well, the shop is perched on a wharf right next to where the fishing boats dock. Chances are your meal would have been swimming around that morning, making it the best fish and chips in the region.
Some of Tairāwhiti’s best food can be found at the Gisborne Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. There you’ll find GEM Cuisine, which serves Rarotongan-style doughnuts. Don’t miss the breakfast doughnut, filled with creamy mushrooms, cheese, hashbrown, bacon and a gooey fried egg.
Wallingford is an enormous villa steeped in history and home to acclaimed chef Chris Stockdale. His eight-course degustation (which can be paired with wine) is some of the best food you will try – such as an organic duck egg that’d been cooked for an hour, ‘ice and fire’ trevally and a white chocolate and chamomile dessert, which was like eating a luxurious Milky Bar.
New Plymouth is home to Ozone Coffee, born in the city more than 20 years ago. The coffee is legendary and best tried at its Taranaki HQ – where they have perfected the art of excellent flavour over decades.
The Whanganui Farmers’ Market has more than 100 stalls – so arrive hungry for your Saturday morning feast. We found everything from caramel cinnamon rolls, handmade pies, and old-fashioned doughnuts.
Half an hour from Palmerston North is berry heaven. At Blue Acres Blueberries, you can pick your own straight from the plant for $9 a kilogram.
Greytown’s Schoc Chocolates has more than 60 flavours, including lime and chilli, rose chocolate, Earl Grey tea, apricot and rosemary, geranium, fennel, and a few unusual ones like curry and papadums.