New Zealand isn’t a place where you encounter many on-the-road frustrations: buses and trains generally run on time; main roads are in good nick; ATMs proliferate; pickpockets, scam merchants and bedbug-ridden hostels are few and far between; and the food is unlikely to send you running for the nearest public toilets (usually clean and stocked with the requisite paper). And there are no snakes, and only one poisonous spider – the endangered katipo.
British-influenced classics like fish and chips aren’t going anywhere, but NZ gastronomy has come a long way, baby. Chefs in Auckland, Wellington and Napier borrow influences from as far afield as South Pacific islands and Western Europe for creative takes on locally sourced lamb and seafood like abalone, oysters and scallops. Meanwhile, the vegetarian and vegan food scenes grow evermore prominent and inventive. Wash it all down with coffee culture, an edgy craft-beer scene and legendary cool-climate wines (like sublime sauvignon blanc and pinot noir).