You're on the way to the family holiday spot and it's been a long drive. You've rolled down the car windows to let the evening sun in as you drive through seaside towns and the salty air is making you hungry. You crave nothing more than golden batter, juicy fish and chips slathered in tomato sauce.
Where should you pull over? Fairfax reporters hunted down the nation's top 10 stops for fish and chips.
1. Mangonui Fish Shop & Takeaways
Tourists and locals alike describe this Far North shop as the best in New Zealand. It is located at the end of a wharf overlooking Mangonui Harbour and Doubtless Bay. Make sure you arrive in time for the sunset. Worth checking to see if it lives up to its "world famous" reputation.
Where: Beach Rd, Far North
2. Hine's Takeaways, Kaikoura
Kaikoura might be known for its dolphins and whales, but tour company Kiwi Experience recently deemed it the best town in New Zealand to eat fish and chips. The town's very name translates to "crayfish meal", so it would be rude not to pass through without tucking into some seafood. As far as classic fish and chips go, locals say Hine's is the best.
Where: West End, Kaikoura
3. Victory Square Fish & Chips, Nelson
Mainlanders consider Nelson to be one of the top holiday locations, and this fish and chip shop has been named the best in the region twice. It's a perfect union. The Chip Group said Victory Square's hot chips were the tastiest in the region, and people come from all over Nelson to buy them. Head down to Tahuna Beach to enjoy them.
Where: 176 St Vincent St, Toi Toi, Nelson
4. Oppies, Rotorua
The eggy aroma of Rotorua's mud pools may not seem the logical place to enjoy fish and chips, but this buzzing shop on the tourist drag is a firm favourite. Keep your F&Cs wrapped up and take them to a quiet spot on the cool, clear shores of Lake Rotorua.
Where: Corner Fenton St and Malfory Rd, Rotorua
5. Akaroa Fish and Chips, Banks Peninsula
The only French settlement in New Zealand, this picturesque town has a distinctly foreign feel - many of the street signs and placenames are French. Its takeaway shop reopened last summer after a fire, to the delight of those who enjoy a slightly more Kiwi fare. Eat them on benches overlooking the turquoise harbour.
Where: 59 Beach Rd, Akaroa
6. Seaside Cafe and Restaurant, Maketu
This small town near Tauranga has been linked with fish and chips since it was immortalised in a famous oil painting by Robin White (http://www.aucklandartgallery.com/the-collection/browse-artwork/4244/fish-and-chips,-maketu). For a more classy experience, take yourself to the Seaside Cafe. You couldn't get closer to the beach, and you can sit on the deck with a cheeky wine looking out to sweeping views across the Bay of Plenty.
Where: 2 Townpoint Rd, Maketu
7. Kaiaua Fisheries, Firth of Thames
Driving alongside East Coast Rd with a view of the sea out your window, what better place to stop for fish and chips than this wee town? Restaurant dining is available, or lap up the sunshine on picnic tables outside, with a view of the Firth of Thames. Beware of seagulls, they'll know you're coming.
Where: 939 East Coast Rd, Kaiaua
8. Fish Inn, Waikouaiti
In this sleepy town north of Dunedin lies an unassuming hive of fish and chip activity. Watch the long lines of cars and trucks outside this Otago institution around lunch and tea time. The fish and chips come in individual boxes, perfect for enjoying at the car park overlooking the beach.
Where: 176 Main Rd, Waikouaiti
9. Shippey's, Paihia
Known as the jewel of the Bay of Islands, Paihia is right alongside where it all happened at Waitangi in 1840, when New Zealand became a British colony. It's thanks to this we have fish and chips, undoubtedly the best English export. Pay tribute at this 19th century ship docked on the beach, which has been converted into a fish and chip restaurant and bar.
Where: Next to Waitangi bridge on the way to the Treaty grounds
10. Oceanz Seafood Silverdale, Hibiscus Coast
City slickers looking for a feed on their way out of Auckland needn't go further than Oceanz Seafood in Silverdale. The fish and chip shop scooped the Best Chip Shop competition for 2013.
Where: Corner Hibiscus Coast Highway and East Coast Rd.
- The Press