Foodie’s Guide to Camper Van Holidays

Foodie’s Guide to Camper Van Holidays

Embarking on a camper van holiday in New Zealand offers an incredible blend of freedom, adventure, and culinary exploration. For food enthusiasts, this type of travel presents a unique opportunity to cook on the go, savor local produce, and taste the nation’s diverse culinary offerings. Here’s your ultimate foodie guide to making the most out of your camper van holiday in New Zealand.

Tips on Cooking in a Camper Van

A cutting board with vegetables and eggs on it.

Cooking in a camper van requires a bit of creativity and organization. Here are some tips to help you whip up delicious meals on the road:

1. Plan Your Meals: Before hitting the road, plan a simple menu. Think about meals that require minimal ingredients and equipment. One-pot dishes, salads, and grilled items are excellent choices.

2. Stock Up on Essentials: Make sure you have basic cooking essentials like olive oil, salt, pepper, spices, and a few versatile condiments. These small items can drastically enhance the flavor of your dishes.

3. Use Fresh, Local Ingredients: Take advantage of New Zealand’s abundant fresh produce. Incorporate local vegetables, fruits, meats, and seafood into your meals.

4. Prep Ahead: When you have access to a larger kitchen or more time, prep ingredients like chopping vegetables or marinating meats in advance. This will save you time and reduce the hassle when you’re ready to cook.

5. Embrace Simple Cooking Methods: Grilling, sautéing, and making fresh salads are straightforward methods that don’t require extensive equipment. A portable grill or a compact stove can be incredibly useful.

6. Keep it Clean and Organized: Space in a camper van is limited, so keeping your cooking area clean and organized is crucial. Clean up as you go to avoid clutter and maintain a pleasant living space.

Local Food Markets

A basket filled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Exploring local food markets is a fantastic way to experience New Zealand’s culinary landscape and gather fresh ingredients for your camper van meals. Here are some must-visit markets:

1. Auckland Fish Market: Located in Wynyard Quarter, this market offers a vast selection of fresh seafood. Perfect for a seafood feast by the beach.

2. Matakana Farmers’ Market: Just an hour north of Auckland, this market is known for its artisanal foods, fresh produce, and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great spot to pick up organic vegetables, cheeses, and homemade preserves.

3. Wellington’s Harbourside Market: One of New Zealand’s oldest and most beloved markets, offering fresh produce, gourmet foods, and a lively ambiance every Sunday.

4. Nelson Market: Famous for its fresh fruits, vegetables, and local crafts, this market is held every Saturday and is ideal for stocking up on fresh supplies.

5. Queenstown Farmers Market: Located in the heart of Queenstown, this market features local meats, cheeses, breads, and an array of other delectable treats.

Must-Try New Zealand Dishes

An outdoor picnic table with fruit, cheese and wine.

New Zealand’s cuisine is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage and bountiful natural resources. Here are some dishes you should definitely try during your camper van adventure:

1. Hāngi: A traditional Maori dish where meat and vegetables are cooked in an underground oven. It’s a must-try for those wanting to experience authentic Maori cuisine.

2. Green-Lipped Mussels: Native to New Zealand, these mussels are larger and have a unique flavor. They’re delicious steamed with garlic and white wine.

3. Pavlova: A classic Kiwi dessert, this meringue-based treat is often topped with fresh fruits and whipped cream. Perfect for a sweet finish to your meal.

4. Lamb: New Zealand is renowned for its high-quality lamb. Try it roasted or grilled with fresh herbs and spices.

5. Kumara: A type of sweet potato, kumara is a staple in New Zealand cuisine. It can be roasted, mashed, or used in salads.

6. Fish and Chips: A popular dish, especially in coastal areas. Freshly caught fish battered and fried, served with crispy chips.

7. Cheese and Wine: New Zealand produces excellent cheeses and wines. Visit local vineyards and dairies to sample some of the best.


A camper van holiday in New Zealand is not just an adventure for the eyes, but also a treat for the taste buds. With a bit of planning and a sense of culinary curiosity, you can create memorable meals and savor the unique flavors of this beautiful country. So, pack your essentials, hit the road, and let your taste buds guide you through the gastronomic delights of New Zealand. Bon appétit!