Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review

Rating: 5/10

Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review

The Manaia Lounge Christchurch – what’s this lounge I hear some of you ask? I asked this question myself when I booked to fly out of Christchurch on Emirates and was wondering which lounge options they had. The Manaia Lounge Christchurch is the only lounge in the international terminal (other than an Air New Lounge) and so is used by Qantas, Emirates, Fiji Airways and Jetstar, along with Priority Pass and Lounge Key. So an important lounge considering that most airlines flying internationally use it.

It was fairly busy when I visited as a couple of Qantas flights were leaving just before my flight – so it got a little squeezy. But the food continued to flow with the dishes replaced regularly. As many of you know I love a lounge that serves up snacks of vegetables (below) – but don’t worry if you are looking for something more substantial or sweeter there were a range of foods on offer. Let’s explore the food in the Manaia Lounge Christchurch.

A view of the Manaia Lounge Christchurch with a salad snack
A colourful snack in the Manaia Lounge Christchurch

What’s healthy?

  • I love it when I see a garden salad in an airport lounge buffet. While some people think they might be boring, I see possibilities. Garden salads are a great way of boosting your vegetable intake as it usually is a good side dish and goes with practically anything. I will have a plate of garden salad no matter what I am eating.
  • It is also good to see a cheese board offering both hard and soft cheeses. Now some people might be surprised to hear this. But cheese is a nutritious food, high in protein and vitamins and minerals. Adding some cheese to a high fibre cracker can be a healthy snack. Just watch out for portion sizes – be mindful when eating cheese so as to not overeat.
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Cold buffet
  • Vegetarian chilli was served with the option to make it into nachos (sour cream, cheese and corn chips were on offer too). And while nachos can end up being quite high in calories, the chilli itself can be a good dish to help boost your fibre and plant fibre intake.
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Vegetarian chilli
  • Vegetable sticks and antipasto were available which is good for people wanting just a small snack before a flight.
Antipasto Manaia Lounge Christchurch
  • Peanuts were served as bar snacks – a nice little nutritious bundle. Peanuts are a source of monounsaturated fats (the healthy fats) and folate and niacin. The small serving dishes are a perfect size for a small snack of peanuts.
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Pretzels and peanuts

Not so great. Caution.

  • Pies and sausage rolls – usually high in calories without being nutritious. Try not to eat these often and if you would like to have these before your flight then choose just one.
Pies and sausage rolls manaia lounge christchurch
Pies and sausage rolls
  • Cheesy pasta – one of the cheesiest pastas I have ever tasted! Seemed like there was nothing else in this dish other than pasta and cheese. Now some of you may be thinking cheesy pasta is delicious so what’s wrong with it. Cheesy pasta can be high in calories and fat (and this one was fairly greasy), and so if you just eat a large plate of it then it isn’t such a great choice. But if you like it then have a spoonful to enjoy the flavour and add some salad or other vegetables to your dish.
  • There was a vegetable lasagne available too which was also cheesy with pasta but had a range of vegetables added too including pumpkin, corn, spinach and capsicum. The vegetables not only added a nice flavour but also more nutrients – a great bonus!
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Cheese pasta and vegetable lasagne
  • Sometimes people are surprised when I put sandwiches in the caution section. Now I have nothing against sandwiches – sandwiches can be a great option. But it all depends on the filling and the type of bread. Unfortunately here the sandwiches were mainly made from white bread and did not have much filling in them. There was an egg and lettuce variety (but barely any lettuce) and a ham, cheese and lettuce variety.
Sandwiches Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Sweet slices, salmon bilinis and sandwiches
  • Lollies, chocolate slices and the very kiwi chocolates – chocolate fish. Lots of sweet treats on offer in this lounge so try and stay mindful about portions sizes. One suggestion is use the small plates set out for the nuts to help keep portion sizes small.
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
Manaia Lounge Christchurch Food and Nutrition Review - Manaia Lounge Christchurch
  • If you make nachos with the vegetarian chilli then go easy on the corn chips and sour cream.
Sour cream and corn chips
Nachos ingredients to go with the vegetarian chilli

Last word from travel food and nutrition review for Manaia Lounge Christchurch

I was pleasantly surprised considering I don’t hold the bar very high for third party lounges. But the Manaia Lounge Christchurch was a solid offering – nothing fancy, but a small selection of both hot and cold foods. Thinking about it – Christchurch is a fairly small international airport and this lounge is a decent lounge for its size.

For more information on my visits to airport lounges, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Tik Tok. And I always love hearing from you so if you want personalised advice or consultancy services please reach out.

NOTE: All pictures of the Manaia Lounge Christchurch are my own and I review a lounge from the foods and menu I see during my visit. There may be different options available at other times.

If you are flying out of Auckland you might be interested in my review of the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge.

Airport Reviews

Airline Lounge Nutrition Review Rating:
Manaia Lounge
Airline Alliance:
No alliance but accessible through Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, Dragon Pass and Lounge Key. Passengers of Emirates, Qantas, Fiji Airways and Jetstar may also be eligible depending on class and frequent flyer status.
Christchurch, New Zealand
First and Business
Time of Visit/Date:
3pm, 21 April 2023
Lounge Food Serving Style (Self-serve / Al la Carte):
Self- serve buffet
Style/Theme of Food:
Allergy and Intolerance information available:

There were some gluten free and vegetarian signs on the buffet, and also a sign warning foods are not halal.

Manaia Lounge food warning

Gluten free slices Manaia lounge

Is there a limit to the amount of food you can have?:

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