As well as spectacular scenery, luxury lodges and friendly locals, New Zealand is renowned for its world-class food and drink. On a recent three-week whistle stop tour of the North and South Island, Australasia expert, Charlotte, got to experience its culinary splendour for herself.
Huka Lodge is famed for its excellent service and amazing location by the Waikato River, however, like other luxury lodges in New Zealand, it also prides itself on its cuisine. Before sitting down in one of the lodge’s dining venues, you can enjoy pre-dinner drinks and canapés in the main lounge or outside on the terrace. Dinner itself is a lavish affair, a five- course masterpiece making for the perfect end to a day exploring neighboring Taupo. Make sure to leave plenty of space for the delicious spread of petits fours and cheese and crackers which follow!
Eat Like a Local
If you’re looking for something much less extravagant than a five course meal and are willing to queue, then I would strongly recommend a visit to Fergburger in Queenstown. As the name suggests, burgers are very much on the menu – and they are delicious. Seating is extremely limited inside, so why not eat out and enjoy your meal on a bench by the lake.
Estate to Plate
One thing New Zealanders strongly pride themselves on is that their produce is sourced locally or, where possible, sourced onsite; and this was evident during my stay at Treetops Lodge & Estate in Rotorua. The Lodge is situated within a vast estate of approximately 2,500 acres, where sheep, deer, wild boar and buffalo range freely. The food here was absolutely delicious – venison pie at lunch, which was cooked up in front of us in the open kitchen; tender lamb at dinner as part of our three-course meal; and sweet Manuka honey on our locally produced yogurt in the morning- even the honey was from the estate’s hives.
When you’re traveling around New Zealand, it is easy to overdo it on rich meals and end up craving a home cooked meal. If this is something you’re looking for, then look no further than Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura. Co-owner Fiona runs the kitchen at this luxury lodge and was a finalist in the fifth series of New Zealand’s Masterchef. Her food is delicious, and again locally sourced produce is used wherever possible. Although a set menu is provided, if there is something specific that really takes your fancy, the cooks will be happy to whip it up for you – provided you give them enough notice! When I stayed in June, we were treated to the most delicious chocolate lava cake for dinner – it was beautifully cooked and perfect on a chilly winter evening.
Breakfast with a View
For a memorable way to start your day, spend a few nights at Matakauri Lodge, which is located just outside of Queenstown, and has spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu. Waking up in the morning with mountains and the lake before you is an amazing experience. Poached eggs have never tasted better!