Kiwis may have a love of NZ’s iconic favourites like pavlova and hokey pokey ice cream, but we also enjoy a diverse range of foods. We love to find new ways to tempt our tastebuds and we’re always ready for a new foodie experience.
Whether you’re craving seafood (kaimoana), a traditional hāngī, famous New Zealand lamb and wine, a great pie, or golden fish and chips, there are brilliant ways for you to enjoy food that take you beyond the dinner table. So take the opportunity to find new flavours, share adventures, and make lots of special memories.
Discover the amazing flavours of New Zealand with our guide to the best food experiences that you can share as a family.
Please note: Venue information was correct at the time of publication. Please check with individual venues for the latest opening dates, times, prices, etc, before making plans. Regions and venues may have travel and access restrictions due to the Covid-19 Protection Framework.
New Zealand has, without doubt, the best fish and chips in the world – it very well could be our national dish.
In Christchurch the aptly-named Fush restaurant reflects our love for this dish (as well as our accent!). You can enjoy crunchy battered fish and golden chips along with burgers, bao buns, and tasty sides. They’re also passionate about manaakitanga (respect, hospitality, generosity and care for others) and welcome orders in te reo Māori.
From humble beginnings back in 2007 at the Nelson Farmers Market, Pic’s Peanut Butter has taken over the world with its award-winning peanut butter and spreads.
To get an inside look at how this amazing product is created, Pic’s Peanut Butter World offers 40 minute guided tours plus, of course, taste testing – and it’s free! The kids (big and small) can even make their own peanut butter on the pedal-powered peanut butter bike! Don’t forget to pick up some goodies at the store before you leave.
New Zealand seafood is among the best in the world including mussels, oysters, kina, pāua, and the much-loved whitebait fritters.
Kaikōura is well-known for its amazing crayfish and the most famous place to dine on this kaimoana is at Nins Bin – a seafood caravan right on the shoreline that’s been run by a local family since 1977. Fresh crayfish and seafood are cooked on site – and what a site it is!
New Zealand’s country cafes are often a destination in themselves. The Cheese Barn at Matatoki in the Coromandel countryside offers a food experience for the whole family.
You can watch cheese being made, pick up some specialty foods or country-inspired gifts, and feed the farmyard friends – goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, alpacas, quails, and more. There’s also great organic coffee and a fantastic menu including cheese boards, pizzas, cakes, muffins, kids snack platters, and gelato. For cyclists, it makes a great stop on the Hauraki Rail Trail. (Image credit: Julie Scanlon)
For over a century Kiwis have been enjoying the quintessential NZ drink, Lemon & Paeroa (or L&P). This soft drink was originally made from lemon and spring water from the town of Paeroa where you simply can’t miss a stop at the huge L&P bottle for the obligatory photo opportunity.
A little further down the road, the L&P Cafe, Bar & Brasserie menu includes L&P flavoured exclusives (milkshakes, ice cream, ribs, battered fish and onion rings). The family-friendly restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and burger lovers will be challenged by the Great Paeroa Burger!
If you think it’s hard to resist a Cookie Time® Cookie, then how about a freshly-baked hot one?
Cookie Time has been a favourite brand for cookie munchers since the 1980s and for over a decade the Cookie Time Cookie Bar® in Queenstown has been delighting visitors with fun and indulgent cookie treats. Choose from fresh hot cookies, s’mores, cookie shakes, ice cream sandwiches, and other cookie-inspired creations. You can also purchase Cookie Muncher soft toys and gifts.
Everyone has a favourite local bakehouse but in the central North Island town of Ohakune there’s a bakery that’s a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
Voted as one of the top bakeries in the nation, skiers from the nearby ski fields will often pop down for their apres-ski treats from The Chocolate Eclair Shop. Their famous and monstrously-sized eclairs are a real mouthful for just $3 each! The shop has been operated by the Nation family for more than 70 years and in addition to the eclairs they also make cakes, pastries, and other sweet and savoury treats.
There’s some pretty spectacular places in New Zealand to enjoy a meal, but enjoying golden fish and chips in the great outdoors with a beauty of a view is hard to beat.
Erik’s Fish and Chips is a family-operated favourite in the stunning Southern Lakes town of Wānaka. Serving up locally sourced seafood and homemade chips, you can grab your family’s meal to go, then head down to the nearby lakeshore for one of the best views in the world. You can also devour kumara wedges, cauliflower bites, and handmade hot dogs, or try a deep fried kiwifruit dessert! All meals are gluten-free and coeliac-friendly. You will also find Erik’s Fish and Chips in Queenstown too.
What is a prawn park, you may ask? Huka Prawn Park in Taupō is New Zealand’s only prawn park and has been entertaining and feeding visitors for over 30 years.
The whole family will enjoy a great day out playing on the aqua trikes, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards on the water, and exploring the interactive adventure trail with surprises at every turn. Take a guided tour of the prawn nursery and hatchery, and feel the tickles as you hand-feed baby prawns! In the riverside restaurant on site, you can choose from a range of prawn (and non-prawn) dishes and meals on the kids menu include a free cup to keep.
Dine like a Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies are forever embedded in the story of New Zealand, and Hobbiton™ Movie Set is a popular attraction.
For those who are wanting a full experience, you can dine like the Hobbits at The Green Dragon™ Inn. This beautifully crafted inn appears exactly as it did in the films for a truly unique dining experience. Visitors on the Movie Set Tour will enjoy a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ beverage in the beer garden or beside the roaring fire. Those on the Evening Banquet Tour are treated to a two course banquet feast and a lantern-lit walk through the movie set. Spectacular!
Main image credit: Camilla Rutherford
- Explore the world without leaving New Zealand
- Plan a trip to Wānaka and Cromwell with our destination guide
- Made to share nature experiences in Aotearoa
- Travel adventures with Richie & Gemma McCaw
Written by Kidspot NZ in partnership with Tourism New Zealand.