What you eat on holiday can turn into lifelong memories — and special motorhome vacations often feature food as a major ingredient.
Whether you’re planning to create meals in your cosy kitchen-on-wheels, or intending to visit roadside stalls and artisan farmers’ markets, food shopping can lead to fresh ideas.
In this blog, we focus on food shopping at farmers' markets — including where to find the best markets across the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Food shopping at markets on your campervan road trip
Supermarkets may be convenient for one-stop shopping, but they don’t provide the rich variety of foods you’ll find at a marketplace. Choose to shop at farmers' markets for your food and enjoy the opportunities to:
- Discover fresh, often organic produce with low food miles — with possible sample tasters to try before you buy
- Taste what’s on offer as the seasons change
- Talk and interact with locals — most stallholders and shoppers are open to chatting
- Help support community businesses
- Encounter more New Zealand cuisine from food trucks — which you won’t find in supermarkets.
If you’re lucky, the local farmers’ market might serve a punnet of blueberries with a side dish of local knowledge about where you can next explore.
Matakana Village Farmers’ Market
Just one hour north of Auckland, the Matakana Village Farmers’ Market is a culinary success story. This popular Saturday market features:
- Stall-holders offering the freshest organic in-season fruit and vegetables
- Chocolate, preserves, breads and meats
- Live music
- Some of the finest coffee you’ll ever find — from Matakana Coffee Roasters.
At Matakana you can purchase reusable cotton shopping bags which could be useful for the rest of your trip.
It’s easy to spend a whole day in this picturesque riverside town so be sure to allow plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere.
When: Saturdays 8am-1pm
Where: 2 Matakana Valley Road — Matakana
Waikato Farmers’ Markets
Sample the plentiful fine food on offer at the Waikato Farmers’ Market — which is in Cambridge on Saturdays and Hamilton on Sundays.
It’s a perfect place for a tasty breakfast before heading down river with some market goodies like:
- Natural products and fresh seasonal fare
- Butchery delights
- Fish and seafood.
You could even get a little houseplant or some potted herbs — to jazz up your campervan hire. Proudly environmentally friendly, they also embrace a minimal waste policy.
When: Saturdays 8am-12pm | Sundays 8am-12pm
Rotorua Night Market
Not just famous for thermal activity, glorious lakes and radical cycling, Rotorua is also renowned for its Thursday night market. Streets are abuzz with:
- Locally made arts, crafts and artisan products
- Talented musicians
- Farmers' seasonal produce
- Food trucks and stalls.
The food trucks are especially popular for serving all manner of locally and internationally inspired food. And to enhance the family-friendly atmosphere, you’ll be entertained as you browse, graze and buy.
Expect the Rotorua Night Market to go ahead unless the weather turns for the worse.
When: Thursdays 5-9pm
Where: Tutanekai Street — Rotorua
Take a look at our guide to cooking in a campervan for some inspiration.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market
Loyal locals and out-of-towners with their eyes on the culinary prize (and pies) flock to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market. Here, you’ll find a wide range of:
- Fresh vegetables and fruit
- Bread, pickles and preserves direct from producers
- Artisan sausages from Pig and salt
- Free range eggs and some of the world’s finest garlic.
Try before you buy — then relax on the grass before heading back out on the road with your delectable purchases.
When: Sundays 8.30am-12.30pm
Where: Waikoko Gardens at Tōmoana Showgrounds — Hastings
Running for over 20 years, the Harbourside Market is a feast for the senses with plentiful amounts of:
- Fruit and veggies
- Herbs and flowers
- Fish, meats and baked goods
- Cheeses, preserves, chutney and famously-good Wellington coffee.
If you’re staying in or around Wellington, leave your campervan or motorhome at your campsite and get some public transport into the city. The waterfront is ideal for walking, scootering or biking along — and you can stock up at the market.
When: Sundays 7:30am-2pm summer | 7:30am-1pm winter
Where: Corner Cable and Barnett Streets — Wellington
Don't miss specialty shops
Marlborough Farmers’ Market
For many visitors to Aotearoa, the South Island is a bucket list item. However, anticipation can make a traveller hungry so time your journey through Blenheim right and visit the Marlborough Farmers’ Market.
At this relaxed market with a rural feel:
- Buskers entertain while you’re browsing the stalls
- Olive oil, nuts, garlic, chocolate and fresh produce are for sale.
Grab yourself a trendy straw sunhat to help protect your face over the hot New Zealand summer.
When: Sundays 9am-12pm
Where: A & P Showgrounds — Blenheim
Nelson Farmers’ Market
How about a little midweek market to tickle your tastebuds? If you find yourself in Nelson on a Wednesday morning, head down to the local Nelson Farmers’ Market — which has everything you’ll need for a feed. Keep in mind that:
- Nelson’s mushrooms are amazing in autumn
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts are highly sought after
- Hāngi food from traditional Māori earth ovens is available and has a unique flavour.
If you’re a fan of fermentation, the locals make incredible kombucha and sauerkraut — worth a try if you’re new to these delicacies.
When: Wednesdays 8am-1pm
Where: 23 Halifax Street — Nelson
The mostly enclosed Riverside Market overlooks the serene Avon River and is open seven days a week. A showpiece of central Christchurch, it has become a magnificent destination market selling items like:
- Local farm produce — including meats and vegetables
- Imported European foods and drinks
- Brewed beers, ciders and meads
- Baked goods and coffee.
If you can’t be bothered cooking for yourself, the laneways nearby offer enticing restaurants and bars.
When: Mondays to Wednesdays 8am-6pm | Thursdays to Saturdays 8am-9pm | Sundays 10am-5pm
Where: Oxford Terrace — Christchurch
Check out our top tips for cooking on a road trip.
Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
Just 10km east of central Christchurch, the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market is where visitors and locals alike go to trade or sell fresh produce and creations. This seaside market came about due to the lack of nearby supermarkets and food stores.
The community came together to create a space to share the fruits of their labours, from:
- Craft beers to carrots
- Walnuts to peppers
- Fresh fish to whitebait
- Strawberries to salads.
When: Saturdays 9:30am-12:30pm
Where: 3 McCormack’s Bay Road — Christchurch
Otago Farmers Market
The Otago Farmers Market is one of the busiest markets in Australasia. It’s located beside the stunning historic Railway Station where you’ll find up to 65 vendors during peak produce season.
Marvel at the huge variety of locally produced:
- Stone fruit and berries in summer
- Pies and porridge year round
- Meats and dairy products.
You’ll be buying some of the freshest food in the region to ensure you don’t hit the road hungry.
When: Saturdays 8am-12:30pm
Where: 5/27 Anzac Avenue — Dunedin
Find inspiration reading Tina Duncan's story — a well-known New Zealand chef and food writer — on finding fresh produce and creating delicious motorhome meals around New Zealand.
Download our FREE Campervan Recipes eBook!