Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post solely because I wish I would have had something similar to help me plan my Kiwi Experience. However, after reading it, Kiwi Experience reached out to me and set me up a discount code to share with you. Use “kiwiexperience5” for 5% off all passes (even those on promo). I don’t make any money from it, so this is really just to save you some money!
Basically, you got two options as a vegan on Kiwi Experience. Either you find vegan places at the different destinations or you cook for yourself. I’ll publish a blog post on how to eat vegan in hostels in New Zealand soon, so stay tuned for that.
Eating out can get expensive in New Zealand. But if you want to treat yourself, I got you covered. I’m going to list all of my destinations with Kiwi Experience in the order I visited them and tell you how to eat vegan there.
At the end of this blog post, I’ve also included some food chains with vegan options. You’ll find these in various places.
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and has heaps of restaurants to offer. Check out happycow.com and you will find something you like.
I just had to mention Giapo first. Not just because they have vegan flavors among their amazing ice cream. But because eating there is not just a nice treat, but also an event. If you are a first-time visitor, they’ll let you taste all flavors prior to making a decision (just tell them you’re vegan to skip the non-vegan ones). They’ll also explain the special options they have – you can get your ice cream in wearable cones, a selfie cone or even get whole sculptures.
I chose the Coconut Choc Chip flavor with a sourdough doughnut on top. It was delicious and I urge you to check out Giapo as a vegan on Kiwi Experience in Auckland.
This vegetarian (actually vegan) restaurant is located on Fort Street, just around the corner from Giapo. Green Time is definitely a great choice, apart from being in a cool space with artwork about their story and ways to live sustainable on the wall and their friendly service, they also have tasty food. Choose from their Asian or Mexican menu or share a starter with your friends. The dessert cabinet is worth a look as well!
Located at the end of Queen Street, this Indian place is closer to the YHAs than the central Nomads hostel. They have a few vegan options. I’ve had their food at the Diwali Festival in Auckland and can 100% recommend their Aloo Tikki Chaat.
Other Vegan Places in Auckland
I haven’t been to Lord of the Fries in Auckland (they actually even got two stores in Auckland) but I’ve been to their store in Queenstown. Go here for some vegan fast food. Doornuts is great for vegan doughnuts – the first one I’ve had in ages.
If you’re up for a little walk, check out this beautiful neighborhood. They have lots of vegan options on their main road.
Tart Bakery has multiple locations. They have a big choice of vegan pies and treats that make you question whether they are actually vegan. Located close to Britomart, is a little place called Little Bird Organics & Unbakery. They have different vegan breakfast options.
Bay of Islands
The Pipi Patch Hostel you’ll most likely be staying at in Paihia offers a barbeque. Unfortunately, the only vegetarian option isn’t vegan, so you’ll have to eat somewhere else.
For example Green‘s. This lovely place right at the water offers a Thai and an Indian menu. The Indian menu has more vegan options. Just talk to your waiter. Mine made sure that no butter would be used for my stuffed Naan. In addition, I had vegetable Pakora which were very delicious. Make sure you get there early though! This place is popular and fills up quite quickly.
You’ll find some nice options for breakfast and lunch here, there is no dinner though as the cafe closes at 4pm. I had delicious Nori Cauliflower Couscous. The tiny pita also looked really delicious, asking whether they can make it without the feta cheese might be a good idea. Even my non-vegan friends loved the Orange Frog Café!
Cape Reinga Day Trip:
Vegan or not, you have to have your own breakfast prepared before leaving on your day trip to Cape Reinga early in the morning. For your lunch stop, at Mangonui Fish Shop, you can have some fries (chips) which will be preordered by the bus driver. Otherwise, you’ll have to bring your own food.
Hot Water Beach
You definitely should take your own food here! Even though the hostel you’ll be staying at is very nice, there isn’t really much around.
You are able to eat fries at your accommodation Top 10 Holiday Park but as a vegan on Kiwi Experience, that’s pretty much it. There is one other restaurant around whose falafels you might be able to veganize. They are quite expensive though. You will, however, stop at a supermarket on your way here anyway. So make sure to get everything you need.
Similar to Hot Water Beach, there isn’t much around. Unless you want to stick to fries at Tomo Bar or head to the (very expensive looking) Lazy Trout Restaurant, you’d be best advised to bring your own food.
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
If you are doing one of the tours inside of the glow worm caves, you’ll get some soup and a bagel afterward. Unfortunately, the soup contains milk – at least it did when I was there. They have a sign up with all the ingredients which is pretty helpful. You will, at least, be able to eat the bagel.
Good news! If you are planning on staying overnight at the Tamaki Maori Village (which you totally should, check out my blog post on it here!) or even just go there for dinner, they’ll be able to provide a vegan option for you. Just make sure to tell them you’re vegan (or have any other dietary request) when paying for your activity.
If you’re going for the overnight stay, you’ll have tea time, dinner and breakfast included. At tea time, you’ll only be able to have scones but they are very delicious, so don’t worry. Also, you don’t want to eat too much before dinner. In addition to getting salads, vegetables, and potatoes from the buffet, you’ll also receive your vegan option, which for me were these amazing corn patties. The only downside is that the only vegan dessert is the fruits.
At breakfast, you’ll stick to bread with peanut butter or jam.
I didn’t go out anywhere in Rotorua but I passed a place called Artisan Café that offered some vegan options. Moreover, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to eat in Eat Street where they have a bunch of different restaurants.
Confession – since I stayed in Taupo for a week, I didn’t eat out because I cooked my own food. On the way back up to Auckland, I wanted to try one of their vegan places for you, but most cafes like the Body Fuel Cafe already close in the afternoon. The place I wanted to check out had been permanently closed and was just still listed on happy cow.
There are some chains in Taupo, though. You can go to Domino’s, Burger Fuel or Hell Pizza, for example. For a special experience, go to Mc Donald’s and have your food on their little airplane.
You’re gonna want to mark this stop on your itinerary as this will be a feast! At River Valley Lodge, they prepare a roast every night, alternating between chicken and beef. But they also have a (may I add very delicious) vegan option. Additionally, they’ll tell you which parts of the “normal” food served you can have. Just make sure to write down you’re vegan (instead of just vegetarian) on the list your bus driver will pass around that day.
You should also consider buying your lunch here the next day. It might be pricier but definitely some of the most amazing food I’ve had during my time traveling New Zealand. Just ask what vegan options they have on that day. I had an amazing Chickpea Curry that filled me up for the whole day.
I wish I had discovered Aroha sooner! This plant-based restaurant is located in the Press Hall in Wellington. Apart from a vegan burger and vegan snacks, such as potstickers and calamari, you can also compile a power bowl with a rice base. That’s what I did, and I loved my lunch.
Aunty Mena’s is a vegan place, located in Cuban Street – one of my favorite parts of Wellington (stay tuned for a guide of free things to do there). They have a big menu of various Asian dishes which are actually not only vegetarian but also vegan. I had the Curry Noodles and loved them. Just make sure to bring cash with you as they don’t accept foreign credit cards.
Places I Didn’t Get to Check Out
The bar Library has some vegan options on their Tapas as well as on their dessert menu. Unfortunately, they had run out of vegan donuts when I was there. Sweet Release Cakes and Treats has an abundance of vegan choices. However, they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays which happened to be the days I was in Wellington (both of the times!). Checking out commonsense, a supermarket with plant-based food, might also be worth a try.
The Interislander Ferry
You’ll be best advised to take your own food here. At least I didn’t see any vegan options on board.
There really isn’t that much in Kaiteriteri (apart from the absolutely stunning Abel Tasman Park closeby) which is why you’ll make a stop at Pak’n’Save on the way. BUT there actually is a vegan truck right across from the Kaiteri Lodge where you’ll be staying with Kiwi Experience. It’s called The Mermaid’s Beach House and offers wraps, salads, bowls, and sweets.
Take my advice here with caution. On the day I went to Westport, the hostel organized a beach clean up which they only do every few days. So it might be different on the other days.
I really didn’t have the best vegan experience here, to be honest. We went to the beach at 7pm and also had a barbeque there. Me and another girl had told them that we were vegan and were told that this wouldn’t be an issue. And they did have vegan sausages and hash browns on the barbeque. But the bread was already prepared with butter and margarine and no one knew which ones were with butter and which with margarine. Luckily, a friend of mine had brought her own gluten free bread which I could eat. But you might want to consider bringing some own food.
Since we arrived late, spent all evening at the beach and I went surfing early in the morning, I didn’t get to check out if there were any vegan places in Westport.
You’re in for a treat again! Dinner and breakfast are already included in the (to be fair, expensive) price you pay for your dorm room. You actually don’t have another choice than to eat their food since there are no cooking facilities provided. But they have really nice vegan options. Additionally, I could get potatoes and vegetables from the buffet.
In the morning, they provide plant milk and fruits. In addition, you can go for bread with jam or peanut butter.
The Rainforest Retreat you’ll be staying at (which is actually one of my favorite accommodations in New Zealand, check out the list here), hosts a pizza event every other night. For 15$, you can eat as much as you want to. Unfortunately, they don’t have pizzas with vegan cheese, so you’ll have to sit this one out.
Good news though, the vegetarian burger (“Hippie Burger”) offered by the bar attached to Rainforest Retreat is vegan and very delicious. I’ve heard that you can also veganize the vegetarian Nachos but I didn’t have those, so better ask to make sure that’s true.
To be honest, I can’t really give you any recommendations here. Due to multiple reasons, my stay in Wanaka was very short, and I didn’t get to see a lot except for that Wanaka Tree, the supermarket and the movie theater that is definitely worth a visit. I’ll hopefully update this blog post when I’m back in Wanaka for longer in January or February next year, but for now, maybe check out Cafe Soul Food which sounds nice.
I was so excited to find out that they offer a vegan option at the bar crawl organized by Kiwi Experience. Unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed by my food, it was dry and flavorless, the lettuce came without any kind of dressing. So, yes, you are able to have vegan food at the bar crawl dinner but don’t expect the world.
Other Vegan Places
I actually published a whole vegan food guide to Queenstown, so check that out here. I can already tell you, though, that you don’t have to miss out on the famous Fergburgers, there are vegan options available. Bespoke Kitchen is another favorite of mine but for everything else, you’ll have to check out my other blog post.
My friends and I wanted to have dinner at the Octagon, so we went to Vault 21. They have a few vegetarian options but you can actually make most of their dishes vegetarian. Since it says on the menu which dishes are dairy free, it should be easy to find out which ones you can actually veganize.
For other options, check out this blog post on vegan places in Dunedin.
There was some confusion as to whether or not the dinner they prepare at the Holiday Park in Invercargill is vegan. I hopped off in Bluff to go to Stewart Island for two nights and the driver who brought me there said that the dinner could not be made vegan but that I should tell my driver so he can talk to the owner of the accommodation to give me some discount on my stay.
When I told my other driver after Stewart Island, he called the holiday park and was told that the dinner could have been made vegan but now it was too late since it had already been cooked. So, tell your driver first thing in the morning but be prepared to have your own food since there really isn’t anything around. You get 6$ off your stay at the Holiday Park if you don’t have the dinner so that’s a good thing, I guess.
Good news, they have a Pita Pit on board of the boat you explore Milford Sound with. So you have the opportunity to buy some vegan lunch. However, as you don’t have another choice once on the boat, the pitas are expensive (12$), so I’d recommend bringing your own food nonetheless.
Bring your own food. It’s as simple as that. This goes for everyone, though. There are no shops close to the hostel which is part of a campsite.
You’ll definitely find something in Christchurch. Just check on happycow.com, and you will find so many options. Almost every chain with vegan options has a store there, plus there are some other nice restaurants. Since I didn’t have a lot of time in Christchurch, I just went to BurgerFuel (more on that later).
Some places I’ll probably check out next time include Fruit Fusion and Gre3n Superfood & Juice Bar.
Chains with Vegan Options in New Zealand
As I’ve mentioned before, there are quite some chains with vegan options around. Below, I’ll give you some examples.
TANK: Apart from their smoothies and juices, vegan options also include salads and breakfast bowls. On their menu, it is clearly indicated which choices are vegan.
Hell Pizza: Amazing news – all of the pizzas can be made vegan with vegan cheese and quorn instead of meat. I had the delicious vegan mayhem. Beware of the sizes though! The small pizza really is very small.
BurgerFuel: In addition to vegan burger options, they offer vegan motobites which I am very curious to try the next time I’m in New Zealand.
Domino’s: You can make all vegetarian pizzas vegan by ordering them with vegan cheese. According to the menu, this will cost you 2.99$ extra. However, I’ve only had to pay extra once, all the other times I was charged the same price.
Thanks for sticking with me until here (if someone is still reading). I hope that you found this blog post useful. If so, I would love to hear from you!
As you can see, it is definitely possible to be vegan on Kiwi Experience!