Cost of food and eating in New Zealand
Learn what the cost of breakfast, lunch, or dinner in New Zealand is whether you choose to eat fast food, eat at a restaurant, or cook for yourself.
As someone who lives in New Zealand, I find the cost of food to be rather high, but then again, when I was using the euro as my main currency and lived outside New Zealand, I found food to be cheap when I visited New Zealand.
In addition, food in New Zealand is extremely cheap when you compare it to the price of food on Kauai (one of the Hawaiian islands).
Everything in life is relative, so I will let you decide for yourself based on the currency you use on a daily basis in your own country whether eating in New Zealand is cheap or expensive because it will have to be added to the cost of a trip to New Zealand.
The cost of fast food in New Zealand
First off, New Zealand does not have a lot of American fast food restaurants. Auckland is probably the only city where you can find the most fast food outlets. In the rest of the country, McDonald’s is probably the most widespread although you won’t find one everywhere.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is also well known in New Zealand and so are Burger King (BK), Subway, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut. But again, you won’t find all of them everywhere in the country.
Wendy’s, which could only be found in and near Auckland, Christchurch, and Tauranga a couple of years ago, is now also spreading across New Zealand from north to south. There are now also Wendy’s restaurants on the South Island in Christchurch and Dunedin.
You will generally find fast food restaurants in larger cities such as Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Queenstown is also getting more and more of such restaurants because it is a rapidly growing town.
While you might not be able to find a KFC or McDonald’s in smaller towns or places that are out of the way (with a few exceptions), you might be able to find small local fast food restaurants that sell, for example, fish and chips.
Fast food is relatively cheap in New Zealand. A large meal at McDonald’s can cost anywhere between $8 and $15 (New Zealand dollars). You can get a small meal at KFC starting from $5.
The cost of food at normal restaurants in New Zealand
The prices at normal restaurants vary tremendously, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $8 and $15 for breakfast and between $20 and $40 for dinner per person.
The cost of lunch sits somewhere between the cost of breakfast and dinner but may cost as much as dinner if you tend to have big lunches.
The cost of breakfast, lunch, or dinner can increase tremendously during New Zealand Public Holidays. For example, the cost of lunch or dinner on Christmas Day can be over $100 per person.
To give you an idea of what food can cost at normal restaurants, here is a list of prices of a few selected dishes taken from sample menus of different restaurants in New Zealand. All prices are in New Zealand dollars.
- Thai Green Curry or Red Curry (pork, beef, chicken) – $18.00
- Thai Roti Mussaman – $8.50
- Thai Beef Salad – $16.50
- Chicken or beef with egg noodles in yellow curry – $16.50
- Salmon Green Curry – $20.00
- Salmon Sashimi – $14.00 / $22.00
- Sushi on vinegared rice patties – $16.00 / $22.00
- Venison Tataki – $15.00
- Tuna Steak (pan fried with teriyaki sauce) – $28.00
- Crayfish – $78.00
- White fish Katsu – $18.90
- Chicken Katsu – $19.90
- Pork Katsu – $21.90
- Teriyaki chicken – $17.90
- Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice – $17.50
- Chicken Tikka Masala – $17.90
- Goan Fish Curry – $19.50
- Plain pizza (cheese and tomato) – $18.90 / $26.90
- Bolognese (cheese, tomato, and meat sauce) – $19.90 / $28.90
- Spaghetti Napoletana – $20.90
- Spaghetti Bolognese – $19.90
- Spaghetti Seafood – $23.90
- Beef shortribs – $33.00
New Zealand cuisine
- Lamb – $29.50
- Pork Belly – $27.50
- Grain fed Ribeye of Beef – $39.00
- Pork Ribs – $15.00
- Filet Mignon (200 g) – $32.00
- Chicken Breast – $30.00
- Duck Breast – $35.00
- Grilled Rack of Southland Lamb – $34.00
- Seafood Chowder – $12.90
- Ocean Scallops, Prawns, and Calamari – $19.20
- Akaroa Salmon Fillet – $29.90
- NZ Green Lipped Mussels – $16.00
- Blue Cod – $29.00
- Fish & Chips – $20.00
- Oysters (1/2 Doz) – $22.00
- Eggs Benedict with bacon – $12.50
- Eggs Benedict with salmon – $15.00
- Lamb burger with chips – $12.00
- Fish of the Day – $17.00
- Rib-eye Steak – $22.90
- Irish Stew – $18.90
- Beef Wellington – $20.00
- Lamb Shank Pie – $20.00
- Fried Chicken – $19.90
- Crispy Skinned Duck – $24.90
- Vegetable Lasagne – $12.50
- Seasonal Soup – $12.00
- Classic French onion soup – $14.00
- Tiramisu – $13.00
- Chocolate cake – $12.00
- Creme Brulee – $14.00
- Apple Pie – $10.00
- Bitter dark chocolate fondue – $15.00
- French apple tart – $13.00
The cost of food from New Zealand supermarkets
If you are into cooking for yourself, prices at supermarkets in New Zealand look something like the following:
- Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (380 g) – $3.70
- Mixed grain bread (1 loaf / 750 g) – $3.79
- Milk (1 liter) – $2.15
- Eggs (6) – $4.29
- Butter (500 g) – $6.74
- Cheese (250 g) – $5.19
- Peanut butter (375 g) – $2.80
- Nutella (220 g) – $4.49
- Apples (1 kg) – $4.99
- Oranges (1 kg) – $4.99
- Kiwis (1 kg) – $5.99
- Bananas (1 kg) – $3.49
- Tomatoes (1 kg) – $8.99
- Corned Beef (340 g) – $8.76
- Chicken drumsticks (1 kg) – $10.99
- Tuna (185 g) – $2.99
- Minced meat (1 kg) – $14.99
- Basmati rice (1 kg) – $4.49
- Heinz ketchup (500 ml) – $5.39
- Milo (310 g) – $5.16
- Tea bags (50) – $7.08
- Heineken (12 bottles of 330 ml each) – $21.99
- Bavaria (6 cans of 440 ml each) – $12.99
The better-known supermarket chains in New Zealand are the following:
- New World
The prices I listed above were taken from a New World supermarket in Wellington and are somewhat on the high side due to the location of the supermarket.
Note that prices differ per supermarket in New Zealand even if the supermarkets fall under the same chain. Only items that are on special are generally the same price at all supermarkets that share the same brand name.
Prices of food items change frequently or depend on the season (fruits and vegetables), so the prices listed above are a snapshot of the prices on a specific day.
In addition, supermarkets that are located on prime locations such as in a city or town center tend to be generally more expensive than supermarkets that are located somewhere outside the city center.
New World and Countdown are quite similar in shopping experience. Their prices are generally close to each other, although you might find vegetables, for example, to be fresher and a bit cheaper sometimes at New World compared to Countdown. They both have loyality cards with which you can get special discounts on products.
PAK’nSAVE is different from New World and Countdown. The main differences are that you have to pack your bags yourself and that a lot of things are larger at PAK’nSAVE, including the supermarket itself and some packaging, so it is a good place to shop if you have lots of mouths to feed. It is less suitable for single people, because it is hard to find things in small packages.
PAK’nSAVE does not have a loyality card – as far as I know, but I have seen them offering a Christmas Club Card – so everyone gets discounts when things are on special. In addition, even if things are not on special, their prices are generally lower than the prices at New World or Countdown, but this does not apply to everything.
Final words on the cost of eating in New Zealand
I hope this article has given you an idea of the cost of food and eating in New Zealand.
When I am on holiday in New Zealand, I tend to allow for at least $20 per day for food, but then again, I do not eat at fancy restaurants but either cook for myself or grab something from McDonald’s or KFC if there is one in the neighborhood where I am staying.
When I’m not traveling, my cost of food (including non-food items) lies somewhere between $50 and $90 per week. I don’t usually eat out neither do I eat fast food on that budget.
This article falls under Travel Guide.
Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details
directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.