Brunch is the perfect meal for travellers on a budget. Unlike breakfast it means you can enjoy a lie in, and if you time it right you can often survive quite comfortably on just one meal a day if that meal is a hearty brunch. Brunch is also the perfect meal to stock up on protein, often hard to come by when backpacking as carbs are typically the cheapest easiest food group to get your hands on.

What gets our vote? There are many elements to the perfect brunch – some of the factors that lead to us awarding a higher score include the following:

– making sure any rogue baked beans are served in a separate container so can be avoided
– The addition of extra items that show somewhere is going above and beyond – inclusions like black pudding, spinach and mushrooms are always appreciated
– Not too many greasy carbs – too hard to resist and only appropriate when hungover, the best brunches go easy on the toast and hash browns
– Perfectly poached eggs, because nothing’s worse than a shit poached egg.

Here are the very best places to go for brunch in New Zealand… enjoy!

North Island

Tauranga

Bach Cafe – this sleepy town in the North East has a great little street of cafes and restaurants catering to all tastes. The best brunch spot is Bach – a healthy and quite hipsterish small cafe with outdoor seating to enjoy the sunshine. The baked eggs are particularly tasty.

Napier

Mojo Cafe – on the corner opposite The Rose Irish Pub (close enough for you to steal their wifi which is one of the best we’ve found) this Cafe is awesome. Friendly service from handsome beardy men and a great spread. The coffee is also brilliant here. Perfect for a lazy weekend morning with the papers.

Wellington

Olive Cafe – possibly my favourite brunch in the whole of New Zealand, this cafe is very small but serves amazing food. Everything is organic, free range, clean etc so it’s definitely classified as another hipstery kind of place – a common theme with brunch we’ve discovered. At $20 for a full English with a coffee you can’t really get better than this in central Wellington.

Zealandia – not sure if this one fully counts as you have to go to the Zealandia eco sanctuary to visit, but it’s definitely worth stopping for some food at the cafe if you do take a trip here. The outdoors terrace is a suntrap that gives great views over the surrounding parkland, and the service is super friendly. Poached eggs were less than perfect here sadly but the rest of the plate did just about make up for it and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt as it was very busy. Also it’s for a good cause so even more reason to go.

zealandia-brunch

havana-coffee

olive-cafe-wellington

tongariro-coffee

South Island

Blenheim

The Cornerstone – the first place we stopped off in South Island, we had an early brunch here that probably classifies more as a breakfast but was still very good.

Queenstown

Pub on the Wharf – all the more hipster places were heaving as we ventured out for our daily brunch so we found ourselves in this cosy wharfside pub. Friendly service, comfy sofas and a very decent full English.

Red Rock – not the best but an awesome bargain $10 all day breakfast is available here. Heavy on the carbs so perfect for a hangover, less perfect for a diet.

Timaru

Replenish – another surprising favourite, we spotted this whole food cafe and decided to give it a go. It’s not cheap but offers a menu with a bit more variety than some – including protein pancakes with fresh fruit and some super tasty looking smoothies and juices. Top marks for a pretty healthy full fry up as well – spinach and mushrooms both included as well as some random potato wedges with a nice tomato salsa.

mojo-napier-brunch

wellington-coffee

replenish-timaru-brunch

Finally, we even found a song about brunch on our travels – you’re welcome.

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