New Zealand Foodie Tour | A Five Day Motorhome Itinerary


Wilderness hosted renowned New Zealand chef and food writer Tina Duncan on a week long road trip. Tina and her daughter Maria found some of the best places to forage for New Zealand's freshest ingredients.

They share their favourite recipes for eating in style on the road.

Tina and Maria at Castlepoint

When we think about taking a campervan around the beautiful New Zealand wilderness, especially if we choose to freedom camp, we often think about compromising or rationing — especially power, technology and food.

This mother-daughter duo decided to debunk that myth and take on the challenge to eat delicious, fresh and seasonal food on a New Zealand road trip.

New Zealand foodie road trip itinerary




  • Although Tina and Maria covered this distance in just five days, we highly recommend taking more time. Try to keep driving to under two hours a day — to avoid driving fatigue and to have time to explore interesting places you'd otherwise pass by. You’ll end your holiday feeling relaxed and renewed.

  • If you’re a foodie, choose a motorhome with a large fridge and a freezer compartment.

  • Make sure your motorhome has been plugged in overnight before you hit the road (check with the rental operator). This will mean the fridge will already be cool when you put your groceries in. A motorhome fridge can take several hours to chill down food — and longer in summer. Careful not to overfill your fridge on the first day.

Discover other top tips for cooking on road trips.



Day 1 — Auckland > Mount Maunganui (230km in 2h 41m)

The first day was about setting ourselves up and hitting the supermarket. We chose to buy all our pantry items for the week like flour and spices, but just enough fresh food for that night.

We planned to supplement our supermarket food with items we foraged or bought from the farm gate each day.

Tina Duncan eating breakfast in front of Wilderness motorhome


Knowing we were heading from Auckland to Mount Maunganui meant we had seafood on our minds for our first campervan feast. This prompted us to purchase some local tarakihi.

The rain was coming down heavily as we pulled into our overnight parking space, but we were warm and cosy inside our insulated motorhome with a plate of fresh tarakihi tagine that we'd prepared.

We also threw together a batch of delicious chilli and cumin girdle scones to mop up the juices.

See these recipes and others in our
best recipes for the road ebook.

Fish tagine cooking in Wilderness motorhome


Tina & Maria's recommended camping spots in Mount Maunganui

Freedom camping:
Stella Place or Fergusson Park if you want to wake up to a beautiful view

Holiday park: Papamoa Beach Resort right by the beach

Day 2 — Mount Maunganui > Te Awanga via Taupo (340km in 3h 59m)

Day two took us from Mount Maunganui to the Hawke’s Bay via Taupo. Roadside stalls were plentiful, especially through avocado country. Fresh fruit ice cream was an essential stop and welcome on a hot afternoon.

Stopping in at the spectacular Huka Falls, we saw signs for a prawn farm. That was dinner sorted!

To make the most of the last of the season’s cherry tomatoes, we conjured up a simple, spicy coconut prawn curry.

Ending up in
Te Awanga with the sun illuminating Cape Kidnappers, it seemed only fitting that we pop across to Clearview Winery to purchase one of our favourites — a bottle of Clearview Sea Red to finish the day with a glass of roadside dessert.

Prawn curry cooking in Wilderness motorhome


Tina & Maria's recommended camping spots in Te Awanga/ Napier

Freedom camping:
Beachfront camping at Clifton Reserve

Holiday park: Te Awanga Point Holiday Park


Day 3 — Te Awanga > Castlepoint (290km in 3h 44m)

Castlepoint New Zealand lighthouse

Destination Castlepoint is a compulsory detour if you travel through Masterton. Driving through the Hawke’s Bay meant multiple opportunities for roadside purchases. It was clear that we could make tonight’s meal almost entirely from what we picked up that day.

roadside eggs source tina recipe 1000px

Fresh free range eggs and local Kingsmeade cheese were the highlights, Strawberries for dessert lent themselves as the perfect accompaniment for the second half of that Clearview sticky.

A spectacular walk around Castlepoint included some foraging when we found masses of wild fennel, which made our roadside one-pan eggs even more delicious.

Roadside eggs cooking in Wilderness motorhome

Tina & Maria's recommended camping spots in Castlepoint

Freedom camping:
Castlepoint car park

Holiday park: Castlepoint Holiday Park

Day 4 — Castlepoint > Kekerengu via Wellington (361km in 7h 55m)

Time to hop across the Strait via some of the country’s best coffee destinations in the coolest little capital in the world — nothing-can-beat-it-on-a-good-day Wellington.

A stop off at Petone for fantastic coffee and seaside donuts at Seashore Cabaret was the perfect farewell to the North Island. After a millpond crossing of Cook Strait, we pulled up for the night at Kekerengu on the Kaikoura Coast.

Our last night’s cook up was a cupboard cleanout. We combined the remaining cannellini beans, fresh veggies and some chicken and spices for a Mexican-inspired white one-pot wonder.

No better way to use up those now-ripened gorgeous avocados. Leftover girdle scones fried in butter turned a good eat into something sensational.

Refried girdle scones with white chicken chilli cooking in Wilderness motorhome


Serves 2

1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion (diced)
1 carrot (peeled and sliced)
1 celery stalk (sliced)
1 cups chicken stock
1 skinless chicken breast (diced)
1/2 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the vegetables for two or three minutes. Add cumin, chilli and chicken stock and cook a further few minutes until the vegetables are nearly tender.

Add the diced chicken and cannellini beans. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.


Tina & Maria's recommended camping spots in Kekerengu

Freedom camping:
While it isn't exactly freedom camping and has a small fee to stay, we recommend The Store Kekerengu for its beachside campsite and great baking sold onsite

Holiday park: There are no holiday parks nearby so make sure you don’t need to plug in to power if you’re staying in this area

Day 5 — Kekerengu > Christchurch Wilderness base (238km in 3h 1m)

Our final leg coming down the inland Kaikoura road was a spectacular last day’s drive — stopping off to graze on roadside blackberries and apples before reluctantly relinquishing our
campervan in Christchurch. All we really wanted to do was carry on south but maybe another time.


Pick up an amazing plate of seafood on the way at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

After initial hesitation and expectation that we would succumb to at least one night of takeaways, we realised the added fun and satisfaction of cooking each night. Staying away from the crowds and being completely self-sufficient was the best.

A few objectives guided us on our trip to make shopping and cooking easier.

  1. Don’t deny yourself a couple of herbs and spices.
  2. Decide what type of food you like and buy some flavourings to use across different recipes. We chose chilli and cumin.
  3. Try and plan a few meals where the core ingredients cross over so your shopping list is streamlined — we had a red theme as we love tomatoes!
  4. Choose meals that can be cooked in one or two pots or pans.
  5. Eat roadside.
  6. Try and buy as much as possible from the farm fresh produce that's seasonal and local as you drive through the regions of New Zealand.

Learn more about cooking the New Zealand way, how to best shop for Kiwi produce, and how to indulge in the many foods and drinks across the country. 

New Zealand local products
Simplified recipes of your favourite meals and flavours (married with the best offerings from New Zealand producers) will make a fantastic holiday an even more special experience as you enjoy New Zealand through food.


Want a copy of Tina's recipes from this itinerary?

Download our 23 Recipes for the Road where we share our absolute best motorhome recipes. Tried and tested by our team, we’ve used a lot of local ingredients and have included Tina's recipes from this itinerary.



where to go & what to do motorhome cooking