A few comments on meals and eating in New Zealand. First, though, note these are the comments of somebody who did not camp. We mostly stayed in motels, with hotels in bigger cities. Also, we ate out for dinner a lot, though we didn’t mind finding an alternative now and then.
As I mentioned in my post on “Connecting With Everyday Life in New Zealand,” most motels in New Zealand have kitchenettes. This is very different from the United States, and it makes for a different approach to meals and eating.
Because we had a kitchenette, we made our breakfast every day (or at least every day we had a kitchenette). My wife likes eggs, so we would buy a six-pack of eggs, along with vegetables, etc., for the omelets she would make. I would buy a box of cereal and a liter of trim milk. It made for good, and fast, breakfasts, as well as a chance to catch up with what was happening in New Zealand on the morning new show.
For dinner, we did a couple of different things. First, of course, we ate at restaurants. Restaurants are not cheap, though, so we had to be careful; six weeks of dinners at restaurants could add up. Still, let me mention one thing we discovered when we ate out: the prices at the really good restaurants were often just a few dollars more than the prices at regular restaurants. The lesson is this: If you are going to eat out, go to the good restaurant. The cost difference isn’t that much.
The other thing we did was to buy food at a grocery store and eat in the room. Rick Steves wrote about doing that in Europe recently. It works just as well in New Zealand. It’s actually even easier because it’s not against the rules. Several times we bought a broiled chicken, which along a salad or other side, could last us for two meals. Also, some stores have great Indian food that you can take back to your room and heat up. (It seemed like the stores in the South Island had more choices in this regard that the ones on the North Island, except the stores in the central business district of Auckland and Wellington, of course.)
One final thing. We went to New Zealand expecting to eat lots of lamb, but every place in New Zealand is so close to the water (no part of New Zealand is more than 119 kilometers, that’s 74 miles, from the coast), we found we ate more seafood than lamb. Which was fine because we really like seafood. It’s just that you have to be careful to make sure you get enough lamb, though in a pinch, at least in our case, there was always Burger King.