New Zealand Food & Drinks
New Zealand cuisine is a mix of British, Mediterranean, and Pacific Rim influences, alongside traditional Maori recipes, with New Zealanders forging their own path on the international food scene.
Driven by using local, fresh ingredients New Zealanders tend to incorporate produce from both the land and the sea in their dishes. With a population of over 4 million compared to a sheep population of around 50 million, it is no small wonder that lamb is one of the most popular dishes domestically as well as an important export. New Zealand lamb is particularly known for its flavour and tenderness.
Traditional New Zealand dishes include lamb, pork and venison, salmon, crayfish, bluff oysters, whitebait, mussels, scallops, kumara (sweet potato), kiwifruit, tamarillo and pavlova. Pavolva is a highly contested item in the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia as both countries lay claim to its origins. However, history tends to side with the Kiwis as the oldest known recipe came from New Zealand.
In terms of Maori cooking, a Hangi feast should not be missed. This is a traditional method of cooking involving heat rocks buried in a pit oven. Chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes, kumara and other vegetables are cooked underground for several hours until ready. This way of preparing food is particularly popular due to its smokey flavour. Another popular Maori dish is a boil-up which is basically a cross between stew and soup with pork, potatoes, kumara and dumplings cooked together in one pot.
Despite a penchant for the barbecue, home baking is actually believed to be the only part of New Zealand cuisine that has not been altered by international influences. This has to lead to a strong sweet tooth within the country and its desserts should not be missed on any trip.
There are numerous vineyards and wineries located throughout New Zealand, with West Auckland, Gisborne, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay on the North Island and Marlborough, Central Otago and Canterbury on the South Island being considered the best. Many wineries are open for tastings and some even have fine dining restaurants on-site. New Zealand chardonnay, pinot noir and Bordeaux have come to international critical acclaim with many wine critics claiming New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to be the best in the world.
In terms of beer, the most popular kinds in New Zealand are pale or amber lagers. The two largest breweries are Lion Nathan and DB Breweries, between them, they make up 90% of sales in the country. Along with these major players are more than 50 micro-breweries that provide a wide variety of beers based on region and often offer tastings and tours.
Things to know:
Most cities in New Zealand have a wide variety of ethnic restaurants to choose from. Tipping is not compulsory and is usually not expected. Hours of operation vary depending on the city, but most pubs/bars are open 11:00 - 23:00 except on Sundays.
Things to try:
Lamb, Pavlova, kumara, oysters from Bluff and a traditional Hangi in Rotorua.
New Zealand Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to New Zealand.
Learn about the history and culture of New Zealand, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about New Zealand's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, and 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering New Zealand for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our New Zealand tours today!
Extend Your Stay
Consider an additional stopover to your New Zealand vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of Australian vacations, Tahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done by stopping over en route to or from New Zealand.
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With more than 150 New Zealand tours and experiences, Goway’s Downunder wizards can offer you many ways to explore and enjoy New Zealand. Choose from a simple city stopover, see the country highlights on one of our classic itineraries, a self-drive holiday, a Holiday of a Lifetime and more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to New Zealand.
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