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Gluten-free eating around NZ

We write a lot about places to buy and eat in the big cities, but not always about what is available in the smaller centres. Thanks to recent travels, I am pleased to be able to showcase a few places from around the country.

We’ve just returned from a week in a campervan with our eight-year-old boys. We drove from Christchurch to Oamaru, down to Moeraki, then up to Hanmer, through Gabriel’s Gully and Lewis Pass up to Blenheim. Then a very smooth ferry crossing, a brief visit to Martinborough and a windy night in Woodville, a lovely sunny day in Hawkes’ Bay (including some less healthy wine tasting), back up through Lake Whakamaru to Hamilton and on up to Auckland – just under 2000km in seven days. I was reminded what a beautiful country we live in and how nice it was to have a week travelling though it seeing lots of small out-of-the-way places.

It was a little more difficult for me to easily eat than for the rest of the family. Our campervan had a toaster and microwave but these only worked when the campervan was plugged in to power, so not so good when we were on the road. Breakfasts and dinners were easy enough, but lunches proved to be more challenging for me. What I should have done was make salads each morning and put them in the fridge for a quick lunch. Instead there was a lot of fruit, vegetables, rice crackers, cheese and hummus eaten as on-the-road meals. At least it was reasonably healthy, aside from the occasional fabulous gluten-free slices picked up in far flung places! If you’re travelling around, here are some places to buy and eat.

New World Fendalton

Seriously, this is the best supermarket I have ever been to when it comes to gluten-free shopping. Three things really stood out. First of all, everything which is gluten-free has a BLUE price sticker saying ‘Gluten Free’. How easy is that? Secondly, the pricing is excellent. At worst, comparable with the supermarket prices in Auckland and at best, significantly cheaper. Finally, and most importantly, the range of gluten-free food which was available. Honestly, it was a better and wider range than I have seen in any supermarket here or overseas and more than I have seen in some exclusively gluten-free shops. There were items I had never seen anywhere else. My only regret? There wasn’t enough space in the campervan to buy too much!! Brava New World Fendalton!

Lockie’s World Famous Blue Cod ‘n’ Chips,
Hampden, Otago

We visited the Moeraki Boulders and then the fur seal and penguin colony near the Lighthouse just south of Moeraki. On our way back up to Oamaru, we stopped for fish and chips – apparently at a fabulous place in a little settlement called Hampden. Given that I am unaccustomed to ever finding gluten-free battered fish at a chippie and there was no mention of it on the menu board, I resigned myself to chips only. My husband stepped up and asked if they had any gluten-free fish and blow me down, they did! The chips were great, the fish was lovely and the gluten-free batter light and tasty. The psychic seagulls who surrounded our car as we ate were a little creepy, but the food and the view more than made up for it.

PowerHouse Café, Hanmer Springs

We had a lovely evening in Hanmer at the pools, and found a most excellent campground. We headed out rather later than planned the next morning and decided to make a brief stop for coffee on our way. Hanmer has a plethora of cafés, and several of them advertised gluten-free options on their boards outside. I liked the look of the PowerHouse though, perched on a corner and an interesting shape. I was amazed when I walked in and looked at the cabinet food, most of which was gluten-free! On further discussion, I was advised that most of their menu was either gluten-free or could be made gluten-free very easily. Hoorah! I bought a very nice pistachio and ginger slice, but there were seven different kinds of friand, plus a variety of slices and cakes available as well. It was a lovely surprise.

Be Rude Not To, Rotorua

A friend put me on to this café. I had no idea what to expect when I walked in, and was completely blown away by the amount of food which was gluten-free, including TWO kinds of muffins. Be Rude Not To cleverly identifies their gluten-free products with orange tags, and have an extensive selection of food both in their cabinet and on their menu. All the food is beautifully presented and the hot chocolate should be ordered just to be admired.

Honourable Mention 1 – The Interislander Ferry

They actually had a poster on the wall of the boat advertising their gluten-free food, and in the hot food cabinet, they had a gluten-free pie! Good job, Interislander.

Honourable Mention 2 – Black Barn Vineyards, Havelock North

A lovely menu with gluten-free options marked and in the dessert section, a gluten-free licorice ice cream, which was just wonderful! A big thumbs up for wonderful service and free sunscreen as we sat outside under the vines enjoying our flash lunch in the sunshine.

So my advice would be to plan a bit and make sure you have plenty of snacks. I bought a supply of Pure Delish bars at the Fendalton New World, and they were a godsend. My experience does show though that there are gluten-free options nationwide and that as a nation, we are a lot more conscious of food restrictions than many other countries.

Do you have any hidden gems around the country you’d like to tell others about? Leave a note in the comments below!


For those wanting more information on coeliac disease, check out the NZ Coeliac Society website www.coeliac.org.nz.

This blog is the opinion and experiences of its author and should not be taken as medical or dietetic advice. Healthy Food Guide has not verified the content and cannot endorse any advice given. Healthy Food Guide recommends seeking professional health advice for specific complaints or symptoms.


Date modified: February 22 2021
First published: Nov 2014

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