3 Ways to Experience New Zealand's Food & Nightlife

We all know New Zealand is a haven for adventure, but what happens once the sun goes down? Olivia Round reveals her secrets spots for nightlife and tasty foods to try for your trip down-under.


Photo © iStock

From quirky hole-in-the-wall burger joints in Queenstown to shipping container bars in Christchurch, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re after a quiet craft beer, a boogie on the dancefloor or some tasty kai (Maori for “food”).

Must Try Food in New Zealand

Auckland has a vast array of great eateries. Ponsonby Road serves delicious Asian-fusion cuisine at Moo Chow Chow, Kingsland offers vegan smoothies and Buddha bowls at Mondays, and City Works Depot and &Sushi sell cheap pick-your-own gourmet sushi.

If you’re after a sweet treat in downtown Auckland, Giapo is not your typical ice creamery. Imagine a discombobulating menu of jacket potatoes, gyoza dumplings, and arancini made out of the smoothest, richest ice-cream flavors you’ve ever tasted – not to mention the colossal squid cone.

Heading south, check into Queenstown’s famous Fergburger for a beer-battered fish burger, onion rings, and twice-cooked chips. It’s cheap, delicious and portions are beyond generous, making it the perfect meal after a busy day exploring. To skip the queue, phone Ferg’s beforehand to place your order.

Do you really want to wait around in this queue? Didn’t think so. Call up first. Photo credit: iStock

Food Foraging

New Zealand has the perfect climate to grow produce year-round. Make the most of it by picking your own sun-ripened fruit and vegetables – which you can do cheaply, or even for free.

Auckland’s Kelmarna Gardens in Grey Lynn has some of the most sought-after vintage fruit trees and organic crops. Christchurch has The (Edible) Garden City, which hosts events such as “Secretive Porcini Hunting” and a regular “Foragers Feast”. Wellington has abundant blackberry bushes in Wadestown, and Dunedin is known for its plentiful amount of edible seaweed.

When foraging in New Zealand, follow the rule of thirds: A portion for yourself, a portion for others, and a portion to ensure crop regeneration. If you want to eat your weight in strawberries though, check out Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens in Kumeu, Auckland.

Unique Nightlife Spots

After the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, the city forged a brand new nightlife strip along the Avon River. From shipping crate cafes to The Pedal Pusher “cycling bar”, Christchurch utilized Kiwi ingenuity to pump life back into the city.

There’s even a new converted bus bar, Smash Palace – it’s concept is similar to the Norwegian “Russ Bus” tradition, where old buses are transformed into hip party venues.

The best time to visit Queenstown for vibrant nightlife is late June. The city’s surrounded by snow-dusted mountains, spirits are high, and you can cozy up by a roaring fire and drink happy hour hot toddies, après ski. 

If you’re planning to visit during the 22 to the 25, then you’ll also want to catch the Queenstown Winter Festival – it’s like a mid-year Christmastime.

Want to know more about New Zealand? Check out our podcast. We talk world-class diving, blood-pumping adrenalin, and road-tripping in a camper van.

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