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Oct 26, 2007 08:01 PM

New Zealand Bay of Islands, Blenheim, Queenstown

I have read just about all the posts and would love to have your best recommendations for these areas. We are going in mid-December for 2 weeks. I know this is a very broad question, but I would appreciate any and all ideas for foodie adventures! Much thanks!

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  1. There is an amazing fish and chips shop in Monganui which is north of Pahia on the east coast. It's very popular with bus tours, but worth it. Be sure to get the paua fritters. I have not been to Blenheim or eaten at any Chowish restaurants in Queenstown. However, Fergburgers is great for hamburgers in Queenstown. Have a great time.

    1. That Mangonui fish shop really isn't all that, sorry. And it's beyond Bay of Islands, in the Doubtless Bay area (which is beautiful, by the way). Chances are you aren't going to like the paua fritters much, ( type of abalone) but you will find them along the way, try them if you like. But don't pass up kumara chips or crumbed blue cod if you can find them.

      There are a lot of farmers markets now, check the following website for locations. I believe there is one in Kerikeri Sunday mornings til noon.

      As you are driving along (especially up around Kerikeri near Bay of Islands), you may see some farm produce stands with an honor box system. Take advantage!

      There's a Northland food and wine trail guide online. They list some restaurants and food stores around Bay of Islands.

      In the Queenstown area (you'll need a car), I thought Amisfield Bistro lived up to all its press, and was just recently voted "best winery restaurant" for 2007 by Cuisine magazine. Inside Queenstown, if you like mediterranean food, try Solera Vino.

      9 Replies
      1. re: mlgb

        Thanks very much. It looks like we will be spending most of our time on the South Island, so any other recos would be much appreciated. Is Herzog all it's hyped up to be?

        1. re: JoeBagadonuts

          I have never done the Blenheim wine trail, mostly because the scenery is slightly dull by NZ standards and there are other good choices, eg, going to the vicinity of Bannockburn with Mt. Difficulty etc.

          If you are traveling from Blenheim to Christchurch, I would try to route myself thru the Waipara area. I recommend Pegasus Bay (there's a farmers market there also) and a few of the smaller wineries in that area such as Torlesse. The winemaker Kym Rayner poured when I visited and I got to taste just about everything he had without a charge, bought some yummy "Sticky Riesling". Waipara is interesting (and good for tasting!) because of the huge range of varietals that can be grown successfully there.

          The Waipara Springs winery is also charming. Just don't confuse it with Waipara HIlls. Some of the boutique wineries need reservations.

          The restaurant in Amberley, Norwester Cafe, is excellent, great use of fresh produce, nicely seasoned not bland mains and great coffee.

          Other restaurants worth detouring for between Christchurch and Blenheim are Fleur's in Moeraki (the town, not the boulders), the cafe in Fairlie (can't recall if it's old Library or old Post Office).

          If you go thru Arthur's Pass, Wobbly Kea was surprisingly good (early hours again).

          There are a few other upscale choices in Arrowtown, Postmaster's House or Saffron are worth looking into. PS Amisfield Bistro closes early as it's part of the winery, something like 8pm, check their website. The "Trust the Chef" menu is the way to go.Note that some of these recs like Fleurs and Postmasters are very popular and you'll need a reservation or may be disappointed.

          Be sure to browse the on line issues of

          Happy eating!

          1. re: JoeBagadonuts

            I have not been to Herzog vineyard, but i have been to a wine dinner and sat with Hans and Therese and they are interesting, knowledgable and friendly people. Hans heritage is over four hundred years in the wine making business and they sold up everything a few years ago to focus on NZ winemaking. The vineyard they had in switzerland was a michelin awarded restaurant under Therese.

            I have spent some time in Christchurch last year and think it's a beautiful little city. Perhaps internationally it's not "out there" but the quality and range of food available took me by surprise. As an Australian I could be tried for treason saying this!!! In particular the focus on seafood is outstanding. Even my hotel (the millenium) had consistently GOOD food and i ordinarily avoid hotel food like the plague.

            I would highly recommend dinner at the George Hotel - 50 on the park is lovely and I am sure Pescatore (it's more serious restaurant) is sensational.

            Have a look on ( other recommendations. I had a great meal at the highly rated minx, but nearly fell asleep waiting for it - over an hour for the first course and there were only 2 of us.

            for cheap eats, I would recommend you head to one of the japanese noodle/sushi houses. the standard I have encountered is v.good and very affordable.

            If you ask the locals, they invariable tell you to head for "the strip" although I found it rather uninspiring.

            Finally, if you are into Pinot Noir, then I recommend you try the Chard Hill - I loved it, and have never seen in outside of Christchurch. Enjoy.

            1. re: kmh

              We were in Queenstown a few weeks ago and ended up cooking in the apartment there as it had such a great kitchen, along with a fireplace and balcony looking over the lake & mountains (if you do self cater Mediterranean Market sold lovely local organic meat & veggies as well as lots of interesting imports)

              We did drop in to Gibbston Valley winery on the way out of town for a taster of some of the Pinots (including the 99 Reserve which won gold at the International Wine Challenge) and a plate of the cheeses from their cheese factory onsite. There was a restaurant there too, but we liked the idea of a cheese plate on a picnic table with mouthfuls of delicious and rather pricey Pinot

              1. re: kmh

                it's not chard hill but rather chard farm

                1. re: kmh

                  Go to wanaka, one hour from queenstown and eat at edgewater resort beautiful grounds......creative talented chef, go for his inventive stuff...... try smoked kawhai somewhere in the far north and look out for bluenose, and for one of the best winery restaurants in the world Te Whau on wiaheke island is worth a day trip out of auckland

                  1. re: bullseal

                    Thanks, I was happy to see your post as we are going to stay a night at the Edgewater Resort. Definitely will look forward to that. We are driving from Blenheim to Nelson, then to Punakaiki, to Fox Glacier, then to Arrowtown. Any additional recommendations would be much appreciated.

                    1. re: JoeBagadonuts

                      Well all the way down the west coast you should find good whitebait fritters. Fox Glacier nothing special food wise but i think they still have a pizza place look out for nz crazy pizza's, they call them gourmet pizza's and put all sorts of interesting toppings, GPK a chain in auckland and maybe elsewear by now does a great tandoori chicken pizza with bannana, cocconut and mango.Waiheke islands Goldwaters merlot is worth the stupid money they charge for it likewise the stoney ridge top end ones. Umm arrowtown, is all about Saffron,

            2. re: mlgb

              Mangonui fish shop isnt all that?? hell where else can you get well cooked fish n chips on a tranquil fishing harbour sitting over the water and buy a cold pint.... i definatly beg to differ... oh and if you go there stop at whangaroa harbour and get some oysters, second best oysters in the country

            3. Queenstown- The Cow Restaurant
              It is always mobbed but it is super charming and the food was delicious when I was there a few years ago.