New Zealand is a land full of adventure, and we’re not talking just about the extreme sports you can try there. If you ever visit the place, you would be in for a culinary adventure. It’s a beautiful country with so much to see, do…and EAT. You’ll find delicacies you won’t find in any other country. When you are travelling around New Zealand, here’s just a preview of the must-eat foods you can’t miss out.

1. Hangi

cooking in a camper

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The goal when doing a road trip would be to experience the country like a local. One way to do that would be to eat like a local. The hangi is a traditional Maori cultural food. This dish is prepared by placing vegetables and meat wrapped in leaves in deep fire pits. The cooking process is time-consuming. It takes three to four hours to cook the meet. This slow cooking method results in tender meat and flavourful vegetables. Since it takes so long to cook, this is a dish that’s normally cooked for special occasions.

2. Manuka Honey

cooking in a camper

Photo by Christina Branco on Unsplash

Photo by Christina Branco on Unsplash

Manuka honey is popular all over the world. It’s known for its medicinal properties. The manuka tree grows in New Zealand, and this type of honey is known for being more flavourful than other varieties of honey. It’s quite expensive to purchase outside of New Zealand. This would make a great souvenir to bring back home with you.

3.  Crayfish

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Joakim Roubert from Pixabay

Lobster or crayfish is widely available in New Zealand. As an island nation, the easy access to seafood means that you will have plenty of choices for different types of seafood. The crayfish in the country is a must-try. You do not want to miss out on this delicious local favourite.

4. Pavlova

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

The origin of this dessert is much debated. Ask a Kiwi, and they will tell you they invented the pavlova. An Australian would tell you that it came from their country. I guess it doesn’t matter who came up with this delicious dessert. All you need to know is that it’s a dessert you will want to have over and over again. It is a meringue dessert that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The meringue is served with fruits and whipped cream. This is a featured dessert for Christmas.

5. Roast Lamb/ Canterbury Lamb

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image from Pixabay

As a country that is full of vast greenery, the beef and lamb industry thrive here. You cannot visit New Zealand without tasting the lamb. Roasted or grilled, you’ll find this meat on basically every restaurant menu.

6. Hokey-Pokey Ice Cream

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by lorbautista from Pixabay

No must-eat list would be complete without something sweet. When you’re in New Zealand, you have to try something from the dairy industry. Dairy products are amazing in New Zealand, and the ice cream is one of the highlights. One of the popular flavours is called hokey pokey. This ice cream is a mixture of vanilla with bits of honeycomb. You’ll never call vanilla ice cream boring after you try this mix.

7. Whitebait Fritters


Whitebait is a tiny fish that is considered a delicacy in the country. From August to November, whitebait will be in season. You can enjoy them in an omelette served with toast. Be warned, it is an expensive fish.

8. Green-lipped Mussels

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Jeremy Keith from Flickr.

Available basically all year round, this variety of mussel is juicier, fattier, and larger than the North American and European varieties. You’ll find plenty of seafood options in the country, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss out on.

9. The Original Flat White

new zealand coffee in a campervan

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Okay, this isn’t a must-eat, but it is a must-drink. Coffee lovers, pay attention! Much like the pavlova, the flat white is another item with a contentious history regarding whether it came from Australia or New Zealand. Needless to say, it has been long loved and is well known in this beautiful island country. So, when you are travelling around the country, pop into a local cafe and get a taste of the real flat white. The local baristas will have all perfected this brew.

10. Feijoas

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Photo by Elena G on Unsplash

This plant actually comes from South America but it is planted in gardens all over New Zealand. A feijoa is a small, oval-shaped green fruit with a taste that is often compared to a guava. It is actually called the pineapple guava. When ripe, you’ll enjoy the distinct fruity smell. They can be eaten straight from the tree or used as an ingredient for a smoothie. This fruit is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s a great healthy snack to enjoy as you drive along the country’s long and winding roads.

11. Paua

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by BoKyoung Lee from Pixabay

This delicacy is expensive all over the world. If you want to splurge and expand your culinary horizon, paua is the way to go. Paua is the Maori word for abalone. This is a rare shellfish that is native to New Zealand. There are different ways to eat this — raw or fried are two popular choices.

12. Kiwi Burger

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodiesfeed.

The hamburger is the ideal road trip food. You can eat it in your car, and it’s easy to hold. You don’t need a knife and fork. It’s a grab-and-go food. The locals decided to put their own twist to the classic burger. The Kiwi burger is made of toasted bread, a beef batty, fried egg, tomato, cheese, onions, lettuce, beetroot, and condiments.

13. Kina

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

The Maori word for sea urchin is kina. It is a spiky, ball-like sea creature. You’ll find that people either love it or hate it. Kina can be found on any coast of New Zealand. The inside is soft and fleshy. You can buy the sea urchin and try to crack it yourself or you can purchase a tub of the flesh that can be eaten directly. The briny, slimy texture won’t work with everyone’s palate, but it’s worth a try!

14. Kumara

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Daniel Albany from Pixabay

This is the ultimate sweet potato. The kumara is a nutritious and affordable root crop that can be used in many recipes. It’s low fat and high in fibre, so if you’re watching your diet closely, this is a great food to try. This is a very good staple food that can leave you feeling satisfied.

15. Tuatua

new zealand cooking in a campervan

Image by Karolina Grabowska on Kaboompics.

This is another shellfish that’s native to New Zealand. This is a delicacy for Maori people. You can cook this by boiling it or creating a fritter. The soft and creamy texture is a big hit with the locals.

There’s so many foods to try when you go to New Zealand. The list we gave is a mere snippet of the gastronomic delights that await you. If you’re planning to visit the country, hop into a campervan. It’s one great way to really explore and get to know the place like a local. If you’d like to book a trip, check out our deals on campervan hire in New Zealand, or if you’d like to read more exciting cooking in a camper ideas explore here

About the Author

Bastian Graf

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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