My culinary trip around the world: The best of New Zealand

by hannahb21

April 2011, a couple of days after Kate & Wills big day, I touched down in New Zealand. To be honest as backpackers we weren’t expecting many culinary delights, we were on one of the last legs of our trips and knew we had to budget. The most exciting thing we’d be eating on our 5 week stay would be pasta and tinned sauce or rice, broccoli and soy sauce and beans on toast being reserved for a special occasion. Whilst this was largely true we did manage to sneak in a few tasty treats from time to time…

Peanut butter sandwiches  on the roadside again

Peanut butter sandwiches on the roadside again

The Fergburger, Queenstown

One thing we knew we’d be having and blowing the budget on was a Fergburger in Queenstown. The ‘Ferg’ has become a must have, do and see in the party capital of New Zealand, it’s more than just a burger joint, it’s a rite of passage. You haven’t fully experienced Queenstown, maybe even New Zealand, unless you’ve had a Fergburger.

We got off the bus, checked into our hostel and headed straight to Fergburger. Expectations were high and we were not disappointed. It was, and will forever remain, the best burger I have ever eaten. There’s not a lot more I can say about it other than that, but I will say we were there for 5 days and had 4 Fergs (greedy I know but each one is perfect for a backpacker you’ve got meat and greens all in one bun so why say no?!) sometimes for lunch, other times for dinner and ever better enjoyed sat on a wall by the lake after a night out. I tried the original Fergburger and the Mr Big stuff but, if I ever go back I’ll attempt to conquer the ‘big al’ but it’s so hard when the original Ferg is soo good!

The first Ferg

The first bite of my first Ferg

Cooking a decent meal…for a change, Lake Wanaka

Cooking as a group is cheaper, more sociable and it means the cooking and washing up is shared which is never a bad thing. In the beautiful Lake Wanaka, we made the most of our hostels great kitchen and with Ben acting as Head Chef we managed to knock up a delicious curry for our Kiwi family of 9 for less than £2 each.

Family meal time

Family meal time

The ‘Poo Pub’, Manipua

For those who have travelled New Zealand with the Kiwi Experience will have made a stop at Len’s Poo Pub. The great thing about travelling on a tour bus is that you occasionally get some great food offers and at the ‘Poo Pub’ their dish was an excellent venison steak and loads of salads; an offer too good to refuse and a chance to top up those essential protein and vitamin levels before the infamous ‘Poo Party’. Sadly Len, the owner and head chef, has now passed away but he will always be remembered by those who stopped by his hostel.

Les the publican and hostel owner, with us and his juniper soaked steaks

Les the publican and hostel owner, with us and his juniper soaked steaks


Proper good grub in River Valley

The Kiwi experience had a stop at the River Valley Lodge in  which is holds a large communal dorm for the Kiwi Experience and is in in the middle of nowhere. River Valley Lodge boasts an amazing offer of a traditional Sunday roast and, at the time we visited, the Chef was from Yorkshire which meant real yorkshire puds! We treated ourselves to [a few bottles] of red wine and spent the evening by the fire passing around the guitar feeling suitably full and woozey from the vino (who said backpacking had to be cheap and nasty???).

Post roast wine down

Post roast wine down

Stumbling across famous Sushi in Wellington

The light was fading on our walk back to the hostel after a day of sightseeing and we managed to get lost but as we found our way back on the right path we came across this very long queue on the street. Being the adventurous, or stupid, travellers we were we joined it and then found out people were queuing for half price sushi and apparently this was the best Sushi place in the whole of Wellington – great for 2 backpackers on a budget but wanting a treat! Even though it was half price it was still being freshly made as people arrived and apparently it’s quite famous, we must have got lost for a reason that night.

The long queue for sushi

The cheapest sushi I will ever have in my life