The Craypot, Jackson Bay: A Trip to New Zealand’s Most Picturesque Fish and Chip Shop

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If the Kiwis have a national dish, it’s probably fish and chips. But how dedicated are you to the cause? Would you travel to the end of the world to taste spectacular fry?

Since most of Earth is off-limits due to Covid-19 border restrictions, the ‘ends of the earth’ – in the New Zealand sense – is a small place called Jackson Bay, home to an exceptional fish and chips by the seaside.

You will find this little slice of wild paradise on the west coast of the South Island; it is the southernmost village before the road stops.

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The fish from The Craypot comes from the end of the dock.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

The fish from The Craypot comes from the end of the dock.

To get there you need to travel to Haast, perhaps the most isolated town in mainland New Zealand – it’s four hours south of Greymouth. Then you need to take the 15 minute coastal road south to Jackson Bay.

You are sure to stop on the way; the area is a nursery for Hector’s rare dolphins – the smallest in the world and they are generally easy to spot.

After a short drive you reach the village of Jackson Bay. It’s immediately obvious why the fish and chips are so good; there is a small flotilla of fishing boats anchored in the bay. Forget “from paddock to plate”, it’s “water to the waiter”.

The Craypot serves some of the freshest fish you can find.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

The Craypot serves some of the freshest fish you can find.

The busiest place in town is still The Craypot, a bright orange food cart with an equally colorful history.

It was originally used as a pie shop in Timaru and was moved to Cromwell during the construction of the town dam. Over 20 years ago it was towed behind a tractor across the Haast Pass to where it is today.

As the name suggests, the restaurant is famous for crayfish. However, fish and chips, white baits and seafood chowders are also legendary.

There are a number of short bush walks around Jackson Bay to work on your fish and chips.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

There are a number of short bush walks around Jackson Bay to work on your fish and chips.

And, while you eat, the entertainment is free. It is not uncommon to see dolphins playing in the bay.

Information sheet

Where to eat: The Craypot is a 15 minute drive from Haast, which is three hours from Queenstown or four hours from Greymouth. The boutique is open from September to Easter.

Stay Safe: New Zealand is currently subject to restrictions related to Covid-19. For the latest travel rules, see covid19.govt.nz.


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