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Visiting Taupo later this year from the USA

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FlowerMoundGirl Mar 6, 2009 11:00 PM

No idea what the area is like, it seems there are a lot of resorts there so I'm assuming there a lots of restaurants too? I'd be interested in knowing what fast food places are there that I might recognize from the US, and ones that we don't have that I can check out. We will be eating on a budget, maybe two or three casual dining nights and the rest either fast food or cooking ourselves in our unit. Please include websites when available ;) Will be my first trip to NZ! Anything open really late? We're nightowls :)

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    mr_gimlet RE: FlowerMoundGirl Mar 7, 2009 10:51 AM

    Well, probably none - chain fast food isn't big in NZ, and those that exist are generally local to NZ. Taupo is a big destination and you shouldn't have problems finding takeaway food, the casual dining is likely to be a cafe but nothing impressive jumps to mind.

    NZ closes early, depending on season - don't bet on a lot being open after 10 outside larger places.

    How long are you in Taupo for?

    1. AntarcticWidow RE: FlowerMoundGirl Mar 7, 2009 07:48 PM

      DH and I just returned from a 2-1/2 week road trip of mainly the North Island this time. We have seen McDonalds, Subway, KFC; NZ has a Hell's Pizza chain as well. We were on our way from Napier to Rotorua so we stopped in Taupo to stretch our legs and explore around town a bit. As Mr Gimlet mentioned, we did see a lot of cafes but nothing drew us in. We ended up at Dixie Brown's on Roberts Street for coffee because there was a nice view of the lake and we could sit outside sheltered from the rain.

      The larger grocery markets I saw in Taupo were Woolworth's and Pak 'N' Save. I prefer their New World Supermarket but the closest are in Waikato and Rotorua.

      If you have the opportunity to drive up to Rotorua for a day, there are several restaurants and cafes on Tutanekai Street. We had a nice lunch at the Triple 1 Five. I had a glass of wine and a yummy chicken fettuccine, DH had a beer with his gorgeous lamb kebab salad followed by coffee and dessert.

      You mention that you will be eating on a budget. Keep in mind that the USD is quite strong at the moment. I was stunned at how little we actually spent compared to how much food we were served.

      7 Replies
      1. re: AntarcticWidow
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        FlowerMoundGirl RE: AntarcticWidow Mar 7, 2009 10:13 PM

        "Keep in mind that the USD is quite strong at the moment. I was stunned at how little we actually spent compared to how much food we were served."

        That is good to know!

        1. re: FlowerMoundGirl
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          mr_gimlet RE: FlowerMoundGirl Mar 7, 2009 10:50 PM

          Yes, there is a reason Australians go to NZ - it's the only place with a currency weaker than ours!

          I should be clearer from my earlier post and say that there are lots of good fast food palces, but they tend to be independents rather than chains. The chains tend to be in the big towns and cities.

          1. re: mr_gimlet
            AntarcticWidow RE: mr_gimlet Mar 8, 2009 11:12 AM

            Yes, there are many local fast food places that provide better and healthier options that the US chains I mentioned. In Christchurch and Wellington you could always get Greek, Chinese or sushi to takeaway. I cannot confirm what is in Taupo because only passed through.

            FlowerMoundGirl, I hope you will try some of the "local" foods that is offered in New Zealand. If you are cooking or dining out, they have wonderful beef, lamb and venison, all grass-fed. If you like seafood, the green-lipped mussels are fantastic as is the koura (crayfish or rock lobster).

            We had more than one opportunity to have fish and chips. We ordered the tarakihi as the blue cod is over-fished right now. For about $15NZD you can get two pieces of fish, a scoop of chips and a couple of soft drinks. It is more than enough for TWO people. You don't need the whole dinners they often offer on their menu.

            Are you planning to visit there during their winter season? When we left (three days ago), the weather was in the process of turning rainy.

            1. re: AntarcticWidow
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              FlowerMoundGirl RE: AntarcticWidow Mar 8, 2009 10:27 PM

              I will be there in September, which I believe is the beginning of spring?

              I am not a very adventurous eater, not much of a typical "chowhound" I guess. I have tried lamb and venison here in the US and found them both to taste rather gamey, not what my palate is accustomed too. But we'll see maybe I will feel compelled to try something new :)

              1. re: FlowerMoundGirl
                AntarcticWidow RE: FlowerMoundGirl Mar 9, 2009 02:33 PM

                The seasons have been on an odd schedule and shifting. Two years ago it was blazing hot in mid-March, this year it it was raining and cool in late February. But September is the start of spring and things should warm up - and dry up.

                I've found the NZ lamb to be pretty mild, but maybe it is their "spring" lamb I've been eating. I know that the older the animal, the stronger the flavor. The venison is from red deer which are farm raised and is also relatively mild-flavored compared to that we usually get in the US.

                Even though I just came back, I envy your trip during the spring season. You will have a great time!

                1. re: AntarcticWidow
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                  pj26 RE: AntarcticWidow Mar 12, 2009 08:49 AM

                  If you do find a fish and chip shop, try a paua fritter (sometimes known as abalone) and a 'kiwi burger' although it probably wont be called that - it will have beetroot, cheese, pineapple and will be delicious. I am an ex-pat living in London and crave these every now and then!
                  In regard to seasons - in the North Island of NZ there arent really any defined seasons - winter just tends to turn in to summer with no discernable spring or autumn.

        2. re: AntarcticWidow
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          gordon wing RE: AntarcticWidow Apr 12, 2009 08:29 PM

          We also happened onto Dixie Brown's. Had an outrageously good plate of BBQ ribs with onion rings and an interesting side dish of rice. My DW's entree dinner salad was quite well put together & satisfying. Liked this place a lot. See the photo and you'll get an idea of how good it is. Wish I had ribs like this close to home!

           
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