explore New Zealand

What to drink in New Zealand

New Zealanders have a reputation for enjoying their beer. Although there are now only three major breweries, there are many regional brands, each with their own distinctive taste and staunch supporters.

The New Zealand wine industry has developed into a significant export industry. New Zealand is now known as one of the top producers of Sauvignon Blanc. The Hawkes Bay region is well known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and more recently Viognier varieties. Marlborough is the largest wine producing region and famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. Waipara in North Canterbury specialises in Riesling and Pinot Gris. Further south in Central Otago, Pinot Noir is produced in the most concentrated of styles. Many vineyards now offer winery tours, wine tasting and sales from the vineyard.

The minimum legal purchase age for alcohol in New Zealand is 18, and can only be supplied to under-18s via a parent or legal guardian.

Coffee houses are a daytime venue in many of the larger cities and tourist destinations. The cafe culture is notable in the CBD of Wellington, where many office workers have their tea breaks. Most coffee styles, cappuccino, latte, espresso/short black, long black, flat white, Vienna etc., are usually available. Flat whites are probably the most popular. Cappuccinos are usually served with a choice of cinnamon or chocolate powder sprinkled on top. Its usual to request which one you want. Fluffies are small frothed milk for children, sprinkled with chocolate powder.

Bottled water, both flavored and unflavored, is available in most shops. Not that there is anything wrong with the tap water, it is just that some town supplies are drawn from river water and chlorinated. Most town supplies are fluoridated. If you do not want to pour your money down the drain, fill your own water bottle from the tap, unless you find it is too heavily chlorinated for your taste.

Tap water in New Zealand is regarded as some of the cleanest in the world; it is safe to drink from in all cities, most come from artesian wells or freshwater reservoirs – however, some are from rivers which can be chlorinated to be made safe but do not taste very nice. Some of the water in Auckland comes from the Waikato River, a long river that has its source in Lake Taupo in the centre of the North Island. But by the time it reaches Auckland, it has been treated so that the quality is no worse than that of the Thames in London or the Hudson in New York. Auckland water is also drawn from run-off reservoirs in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges. Tap water in places such as Christchurch and Hastings is not chlorinated at all as it is drawn from the pure artesian aquifers of the Canterbury and Heretaunga plains.

L & P or Lemon & Paeroa is a sweet carbonated lemonade style drink said to be “world famous in New Zealand”. It is a sold in a brown plastic bottle with a yellow label similar to the traditional brown glass bottles it used to be sold in. Generally one for the kids or parties as it mixes quite well with whisky. It is now manufactured in Auckland by Coca-Cola.