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profile member asked on Jul 27, 2016

A Bit Here & There

We are a party of four who will be arriving into Auckland on 22 Nov late afternoon. As our hotel is off Queen Street, can someone please advise if it is worth my while to catch a bus to Parnell rose garden or Ponsonby or just stick around the CBD? We will spend the whole of next day in Auckland. Any recommendations? We do not want to do Kelly Tarlton or museums. I am the only one in the party who has been to North Island and I remember from my trip in 2007 visiting One Tree Hill. Is it worth going, seeing that the One Tree has been removed?
Having read numerous forums suggesting a ferry ride to neighbouring islands/bays, can someone recommend one to us for a half-day visit? We will need to be back to Auckland by 4:00pm as we have to pick up our rental car. We are thinking of grabbing a bite from the Auckland Fish market. Are there fresh oysters there? I have read that it is not as big a set-up as Sydney's Fish market though. I welcome any recommendations on cheap eats.

We will be headed to Hamilton for a short visit at the Hamilton Gardens guided tour the next morning. Can someone recommend any cheap eats along the way from Hamilton to Waitomo Caves? We are booked for a 4:00pm visit to Waitomo Caves.

Any cheap eats recommendation for Matamata is also welcome after our tour of Hobbiton the following day.
Apart from one night dining at Tamaki, I am seeking recommendations for cheap eats at Rotorua too.
As we are after a lunch venue at Taupo, can someone recommend a place to go for trout for lunch? I need something fast as we are driving through Taupo to Huka Falls and going on to Napier.
Which winery restaurant should we visit? I am looking for a dining venue that offers good food and nice view of the vineyard.
I have read that Wellington is a craft beer city so is Grill Meats Beer worth a visit? any recommendations for a dining venue that serves craft beer and food (burgers, pastas and pizzas would be good.)
We plan to stop over for lunch at one of the vineyards at Blenheim. Any recommendation on a winery?
We plan to visit Nin's Bin at Kaikoura. As we are going to be overnight at Kaikoura, any other recommendation is most welcome.
We would like to visit Fergburger in Queenstown. As we do not take beef, do they serve other meats?
What else is worth visiting for dining in Queenstown as we have three nights there? We are doing a dinner cruise one night onboard TSS Earnslaw.
What about dining in Christchurch? Any recommendations?
Any recommendations for dining in Cromwall? We are doing a 7 hour drive from Christchurch direct to Queenstown? Where is a good place to stop for meals (lunch)?
Any recommendations for Franz Josef?

On another note, how do I get hold of the Virtual Tourist flag? I would like to have one in my photo.
Am planning a tandem skydive in Queenstown and Heli Ice Hike in Franz Josef.
And a ride on the Tranz Alpine.

Thanx in advance.

New Zealand

6 Answers


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answered on 7/27/16 by
a VT member from Wanganui

Often the cheapest way to eat is to buy something from a bakery and have a picnic on the way! Going onto a website like 'grab one' often has 2 for one offers at various eateries-Its worth trying a 'pie' too, available at most bakeries- My favourite seafood treat would have to be the mussels at one of the main restaurants in Havelock (in the main st) , which is close-ish to Blenheim- Its possible to buy them as a takeaway too- There is a really good Thai restaurant in Blenheim called something like 'Eat Thai'- I can't even find one as good as that in Wanganui! The best way to eat economically when travelling is to self cater where possible (Supermarkets sell ready made pasta, or soups etc), buy food in season (Fresh fruit and veges from green grocers or farm side), Asian restaurants, Bakeries. Buy lunch vs Dinner. You don't have to tip unless the service is exceptional.


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answered on 7/27/16 by
a VT member from London

yes you have to have our traditional fish and chips while you are travelling around NZ - you can usually find a picnic table or park bench to sit somewhere scenic to eat them - fast and fairly low priced. Scallops are usually wonderful! but you can also buy paua fritters, potato fritters, battered other things that youll se eon the menu.
and for sure the bakeries you should try when travelling around NZ - great for meat pies, and a variety of doughnuts, cakes - such as Louise cake - and biscuits - have to try an afghan! - that most of us kiwis have grown up on! and usually these days also serve coffee and tea.
There are many sushi shops around NZ too now - i pretty much have seen at least one in every town - and pretty good value.
you can buy things to travel with from supermarkets such as New World and 3 Guy or PaknSave supermarkets - i particularly like buying containers of marinated green lipped mussels to indulge in when in NZ.
and indulge in delicous stone fruit such as nectarines and peaches and apricots that grow very well in NZ. so do avocadoes.


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answered on 7/28/16 by
a VT member

thank you so much for your reply. can I know when you suggested buy lunch vs dinner, meaning that you would recommend us to buy take-aways for

lunch and eat out for dinner? may I know why?


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answered on 7/28/16 by
a VT member from Wanganui

I actually meant it is cheaper to eat out for lunch and have a lighter dinner or self cater-


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answered on 7/28/16 by
a VT member from New Zealand

so you looking for cheap eats. my suggestion is to make use of a loyalty card. Mcdonalds Cafe make great coffee and offer a loyalty card for purchases made at there outlet and there is such a big party of you, you may collect some good rewards (ie a free coffee worth about $4 or free muffn worth $3) Wild Bean Cafe at some BP petrol stations make excellent coffee and have a loyalty card too. These venues are through out New Zealand. If you enjoy our New Zealand wine you may find some good buys in the local Supermarkets. They often offer a cheaper price than a liquor outlet.


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answered on 7/28/16 by
a VT member from Wanganui

Nectarines and stone fruits are generally more plentiful in late summer, although in the North Island the fruit is ready earlier than the south- Strawberries are plentiful in October through til, April- Near where I live, in Wanganui we have a place called Windermere Gardens which grows the largest and juiciest strawberries I have eaten in my life! Places like the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty are the fruit bowl of NZ- Cromwell and Central Otago are great for stone and pip fruit- Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, green gages and these things that are like a cross between an apricot and nectarine, They are delicious! Apples and Pears are more plentiful in Autumn- Kiwifruit grow well in summer- Autumn. Some American friends said that it is far cheaper to buy fresh fruit and vegetables here- School fairs are a good source of cheap baking, and a chance to see kids acting, singing, dancing etc. They are usually on either in the early evening or a Saturday morning- There are some excellent markets in Nelson (Saturday morning), Palmerston North (early Saturday morning), Wanganui (Saturday morning), Paraparaumu beach (Saturday morning)-All selling local produce and baking etc, It is worthwhile seeing if you can go for the coffee and cake special at Ruth Pretty catering/ shop in Te Horo ( just north of Wellingtonj). If you want to pick up gourmet stuff, Moore Wilson is a great place to go- It is really worthwhile trying hot smoked salmon- There is a place that sells it in Hororata/Coalgate- A good book that used to be available is called 'great kiwi eats'- It is generally best to ask locals-- If you love desserts or ice cream- Zany zeus has amazing ice-cream and greek yoghurt- that is near ?lower Hutt(Wellington). Just south of Otaki, there is a place called Koru Ice which does amazing home made ice-cream and gelato. If you want some really reasonably priced cheeses, go to the dairy bar in Eltham (South Taranaki)- It is close to the dairy factory- Look closely at the prices though- They have some excellent specials on some of their products- Eltham is about 12 minutes north by car from Hawera- the cheese bar is on a one way st that leads into the main rd, so park on the main rd and walk there. It is only open Monday to Friday. I used to find the best places to eat were quite busy- a good sign! If you can get your hands on a back copy of 'Fish head'- thats a magazine about Wellington-which had an article each year on 'cheap eats'- that said, we went to one place and the table was really sticky as they didn't clean it- When I mentioned that it was sticky- they tried to explain it was the coating...er, I doubt they would say that to a health inspector or restaurant critic!

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