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Best Cheap Eats you Need to try on your New Zealand Road Trip


If you’re planning a road trip through New Zealand on a budget, you’ll want to know all the best cheap eats. Luckily New Zealand is brimming with mouth-watering eateries that don’t break the bank. So, if you would rather save your hard-earned dollars on New Zealand tourist attractions, experiences and adventures, but you don’t want the memories of your New Zealand road trip to be clouded by nightmares of endless 2-minute noodles, we’ve got you covered. We've created a list of cheap eats that are small in price but filling and tasty. Check out our cheap eats and add them to your New Zealand itinerary when exploring both the North and South Islands of Aotearoa.

The best cheap eats in New Zealand by region

Auckland

  • Freeman & Grey is living proof you can find a cheap eat in the bustling suburb of Ponsonby. Go anytime between 12.00 pm and 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm and 7.30 pm every day and get a whole pizza for just $5.00. Unbeatable.
  • Being ranked among the top 10 for the best cheap eats in Auckland for 12 years takes a bit of know-how. Big J’s Takeaways is a gourmet takeaway run by a fully qualified chef. Check out their Facebook page for the ever-changing ‘Burger of the week’ which sits at around $15.00. You can order online or call 09-579 0340 to avoid waiting. 
  • Get a filling, delicious feed on the North Shore for under $10.00 at No.1 Pancake. Not your regular European pancake as you know it, these are savoury and sweet, Korean-made pancakes. Choose from cheese, beef, ham, pineapple, potato, bean, and seed, and those are just the savoury ones. It can get quite busy, so if you’re looking to beat the crowds you can order online. The minimum online order is $10.00 and pancakes are around $8.00 each.
  • If you’re looking for a sweet treat, visit Ollies Burgers & Ice Cream. Choose between hot fudge cake with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and ice cream or the banana split with salted caramel and coconut marshmallow ice cream, caramel drizzle and whipped cream. You’re sure to leave with your sweet tooth satisfied. It’s a family friendly,retro place in Royal Oak that’s been around forever. A lot like a time capsule, the old favourites have remained popular. Burgers cost around $7.50, ice creams start at $4.20, and sundaes are the bomb.

Taranaki

  • Busy and buzzy, Ms White is a funky beer and pizza bar in downtown New Plymouth. Unfortunately, they don’t take bookings, but we assure you it’s worth the wait. They have over 40 different beers to check out and a delicious pizza menu. Prices range from $14.00 to $24.00. If you visit on a Monday, take advantage of the $10.00 deal on margherita pizzas.
  • About 45 kms out of New Plymouth, you’ll find Opunake Fish & Chips. If you’re looking for fish and chips at the beach, this is the place for you. We love the use of Te Reo on the menu (English as well). Prices for fish start at $5.50 and go up to $37.50 for kai moana kete (seafood basket). Burgers are around $12.00. It can get busy, so we recommend a lunchtime visit - fish and chips always taste better at lunchtime.
  • A 14-minute drive from New Plymouth’s CBD is Oakura and the carriage, home to Dave and Keren’s Serial Griller. These guys are serious about burgers. Cooked smash style to improve the flavour, they serve double patty burgers as well as vegan and vegetarian options to cater to dietary requirements. Dine in the revamped train, eat outside or take away. With a casual and relaxed vibe, it is ideal for a family meal. Burgers are around $18.00 and are served with chips. 
  • The Liardet Street Projects is a courtyard of food trucks and stalls tucked away in central New Plymouth. Choose from American-style burgers, Vietnamese classics, Hawaiian/Japanese fusion poké bowl, Spanish tapas, paella and churros, Californian-style pizza and extraordinary South Indian. It’s the perfect spot when your road-tripping team can’t agree on just what to eat. If you’re looking for a recommendation, the fried chicken poké bowl: there’s no stopping until the bowl is licked clean (as long as no one is watching). Which is pretty good value for just $19.50!

Tauranga / Mount Maunganui

  • If you’re craving Mexican food in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, check out Barrio Brothers. You’ll be greeted with a lively atmosphere and delicious aromas. If you’re in town during the week, swing by for their 2-for-1 deal on Wednesday. If you’re seated before 6:30 pm you get two for the price of one on all mains which range from $19.00 for a 1 filling taco through to $36.00 for steak. 
  • The Phoenix is a busy gastro Monteith’s pub in Tauranga on the waterfront. You can choose between indoor and outdoor seating (there are blankets and outdoor heaters for chillier times). Average cost is about $85.00 for two people but they always have a daily special.
  • Rice Rice Baby is one of our top picks when in Mount Maunganui. Quirky, colourful, décor at this busy fusion Vietnamese restaurant. Three dishes between two is more than enough to fill empty bellies! On Tuesday nights they have a 2-for-1 cocktail special. This is a mid-range restaurant, and you’ll spend about $60.00 for two people and leave both happy and satisfied.
  • If you’re in the market to sample some epic craft beer, you’ve come to the right place. The Rising Tide is a brewery in Mount Maunganui and these guys have a serious passion for craft beer. 40 taps on the main bar, and the huge outdoor deck has a 17-tap bar. Don’t worry, you can sample before you buy if that seems overwhelming and you can also order beer or cider-tasting paddles to make the most of your experience here. Famous for their handmade dumplings (8 for $15.00) they also do burgers and share platters. There is a great outdoor area for kids to run around in and they’re also dog friendly. It’s the perfect summer spot!

Rotorua

  • When you visit Rotorua, be sure to check out the famous Eat Street and Atticus Finch. Their interesting, varied menu is designed for sharing. Large share plates are around $32.00 and small ones are about $16.00. Our favourite dish here is the Brussel sprouts, even if they are normally not your thing, you’ll be pleased you ordered them. Our tip for a cheap eat? Atticus Finch is on “First Table”: 50% off if you‘re seated by 5:00 pm on certain nights, but be sure to book online first!
  • Lovely India serves up authentic Indian tandoori food in the heart of the Rotorua CBD. Mains average around $20.00 and there are heaps to choose from. Our tip for a super cheap eat? The Veg Banquet: $32.00 for two people - vegetable samosa, onion bhaji, pakora and four vegetarian mains with plain naans. They’re also on First Tables and Bookme.

Hawkes Bay

  • Carr’s Kitchen is a real family café in Hastings known for its burgers and shakes. Burgers are around $24.00. This is what Louis had to say on Facebook, “Five stars does not do this food justice! As somewhat of a burger eating connoisseur myself I must say this has changed my life! No longer will I waste my precious hard earned money on any other burger joint in town!”. 
  • Got an addiction to Bao buns and anything that will accompany them? You’re in for a treat! Funbuns in Hastings does soft hand-made buns filled with a multitude of delicious fillings for $12.00 and fusion share plates for around $17.00. They also do takeaways, although it’s best to call and order in advance to skip the queue!.
  • If you’re looking for sharing style Mexican food in Havelock North and Napier, check out Mamacita. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the margarita of the week is only $10.00, and the pork ribs are raved about. You’ll leave with very full bellies for around $65.00 for 2 people. 
  • The bustling pink Pipi Pizza café is a Havelock North institution. Run in a "family chaotic " way; you help yourself to drinks and honesty is key. Pizzas range from $19.00 to $27.00.

Wellington

  • Can’t resist a $2.00 taco Tuesday special? Then head to Rogue and Vagabond from 5.00 pm onwards every Tuesday. You can tuck in until they run out. If tacos aren’t your thing, try 77c chicken wings or get 12 wings and a pint for just $19.00 on 19-77 Punk Wing Wednesdays between 5.00 and 7.00. This is a laid-back craft beer bar with a dog-friendly grassy area with bean bags and regular live music. The perfect place to spend a summer afternoon in the capital.
  • After 4.00 pm head to Sushi Bi for half price sushi . This is a pretty well-known thing to Wellington locals, so make sure you're there in plenty of time - there's usually a queue.
  • Fancy two-for-one cocktails on Wednesdays and Saturdays and two-for-one mains on Mondays? Chow is the place for you! You’ll love the vibe and the décorIt’s the best place to grab modern Asian fusion dishes in Wellington, and they serve great mocktails.
  • The Harbourside Market on Sunday mornings is a real hub for locals. It’s worth getting up early for the beautiful fresh produce, cheeses, bread and artisan foods all very reasonably priced. Make sure you go hungry because there is an abundance of things to try. Don’t miss the oyster fritters from the mussel cart.

Cheap tasty meals on your South Island road trip

Nelson

  • Nysa Turkish Restaurant is a family operated business and has made a name for itself for serving great food and big portion sizes. The kebabs are around $18.00, and we were sorely tempted by the chef’s special platter for 4 for $85.00. This is a great cheap meal at just over $20.00 a head. 
  • The Sands Fish and Chip Shop is a small takeaway shop right by the beach loved for its large selection of gluten-free products. They use separate fryers to prepare gluten-free meals, which means they are safe for coeliacs.
  • If you’re after some Argentinean slow-cooked goodness with a Kiwi twist and you are at the Motueka market on a Sunday, check out Viva La Vaca
  • Head to Jay’s Dumpling Café for 8 steamed dumplings for $9.99 and loads of other options. Excellent value for money. If you love dumplings, then you will love Jay's.

Christchurch

  • In the mood for a fancy breakfast? Then check out Three Cows Café Restaurant & Bar. This place serves whitebait omelettes for $18.50 all day. Get organised and book dinner on First Table and save yourself 50% on their tower of pork ribs.
  • Steampunk Laboratory is a unique Korean fusion street food spot. Cupbop comes with layers of rice, fresh vegetables, egg, the meat of your choice and their secret special sauce - and all that for only $10.00! We think that's excellent value for money and it's sure to fill you up.

Queenstown

  • At famous Erik's for only $12.00 you get one piece of Hoki or a hot dog with a scoop of chips. That's an unbeatable deal!
  • Lots of people describe Fergburger as the best burgers in the world and any backpacker who has been to Queenstown would probably agree. Prices range from $12.90 to $20.90 but these inventive burgers should be high on your New Zealand must-eat list, they’re definitely worth it!.
  • @ Thai offers an extensive menu of traditional curries, noodles and wok dishes. Check out the $12.00 wonton soup - you will thank us later.
  • Taco Medic offers $6.00 tacos on Tuesdays. This is a  small hole-in-the-wall place. There’s even a gluten-free menu with a variety of flavours to satisfy all foodies. Our pick is the pork belly marinated with manuka honey. Make sure to come early because this is a popular spot with tourists and locals alike.

Wanaka

  • The Doughbin Bakery Is a must-do in Wanaka. A very happy customer had this to say “The best pies on earth. You can't come to Wanaka and not try one. It would be a crime against your taste buds” A Kai Pai Pie is a must. $5.00 to $7.00 each but be warned: choosing which one to go for is tricky.
  • Amigos-is another delicious eatery in Wanaka. One delicious soft taco is only $5.00 on Taco Tuesday. Subscribe to Amigos’ mailing list and get a free $10.00 voucher. Amigos can also be found in Cromwell, Alexandra, Invercargill and Dunedin.
  • Popular with locals, the Red Star Burger Bar is known for its fresh, tasty food and fun, friendly service. Their menu showcases local produce. Dine-in and takeaway, prices range from $4.50 to $17.00.
  • ravelling with people with different tastes? Head to the food truck park on Brownston Street. With the range of vendors at this park, you can make sure everyone’s cravings are satisfied. Check out the raclette savoury galettes from Charlie Brown Crepes. At $15.00, you can't go wrong both price and flavour wise!

Dunedin

  • Head to Beam Me Up Bagels for the best bagels in town. There are two locations, choose from 9 North Road or 102 Great King Street North. They serve sci-fi-themed sweet or savoury bagels, such as Darth Bacon (streaky bacon, tomato relish, cheese, aioli and lettuce) from $9.00 to $16.00.
  • Jizo is a busy spot frequented by students and families. But, it can be hard to get into. They always have daily specials. Check out the sushi balls: 4 for $7.00.
  • India Gate has great-tasting food at a reasonable price. Ask about their $12.000 lunch special.
  • Miga Hako serves up Korean cuisine and a very cheap eat: $10 for a feed packed with flavour. Cauliflower as you’ve never seen it before: you’ve got to give it a go.

Southland

  • At Miles Better Pies in Te Anau, the pies were so good, you might want to try them twice. Choose from a venison, seafood, or good old mince and cheese. You won’t be disappointed. Grab a pie here for just $6.50.
  • Capri Restaurant in Gore is world famous for their oyster soup! Need we say more?
  • Travelling between Milford Sound and Queenstown? The Brown Trout Cafe is where you will find a toasty fire and plush couches. Make this your pit stop for food and coffee. They serve the biggest scones ever – try the raisin ones.

Ready to book your next New Zealand adventure?

There is nothing better than good kai after a day of exploring Aotearoa in our Mighty campervans.e think these are some of the best places to visit in New Zealand for well-priced wining and dining. So, if you’re planning a road trip through New Zealand, bookmark this page. Then book your Mighty campervan online so you can pick it up from your nearest branch.

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