Summertime means eating a bottomless supply of ice cream without feeling guilty, hours of lying on the sand and floating in the sea, or (our personal favourite) sharing a newspaper bundle full of Fish & Chips on the beach.
After enjoying all of these Kiwi classics over Christmas and New Years, we've found some truly amazing and iconic Kiwi hot spots that you need to make sure you visit over the next few months.
Charlies Gelato – Matakana
Pack up the kids and enjoy the scenic route to Charlies Gelato for some home-made icy goodness! With unique flavours (which live up to expectations), you will be spoilt for choice with iconic kiwi flavours such as ginger beer and pineapple lump.
If you want something to take away, or even enjoy in the late afternoon sun, Leigh Eat's Fish & Chips are some of the best out there. Freshly caught fish of the day with crispy batter or their toasted sandwiches never go a-miss either!
Nins Bin – Kaikoura
Recently reopened with the state highway after the earthquake in Kaikoura, Nins Bin is the place you want to go for incredible, reasonably priced Crays. Situated slightly out of Kaikoura's town centre, in the most idyllic caravan on the beach, you can go and choose your cray and have it fried up with garlic butter and a side of fries. Trust us – this is not to be missed!
Lukes Kitchen – Kuaotunu
A favourite of both locals and holiday goers, Lukes Kitchen boasts the best woodfire pizzas in the Coromandel (or so we think). It is always packed, but that will not stop the lovely staff from fitting you in somewhere – whether it's on the couches in the café or squeezed at the end of the table by the pizza ovens. Great food, great atmosphere, rustic, amazing.
McLeods Pizza Barn – Waipu
If you like the Scots, tartan and pizza then McLeods Pizza Barn should be your next summertime stop. If you're in the area, make sure to use those pizzas to mop up the tasting round of beer, because they’re just as incredible.
Bennetts Chocolate Café - Mangawhai
The especially French Chocolaterie with their café is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Take the kids on a chocolate tour or sip on a hot chocolate in the sunny courtyard, or simply just visit the shop to stock up your fridge!
Matakana Markets – Matakana
Nestled in the well-loved town of Matakana, are the infamous Matakana Markets. Full of crazed foodies, as well as local and of course some great grub, you'll be spoilt for choice and will most likely leave full and definitely want to return. We recommend the gluten-free crepes, whitebait & muscle fritters and the Tasty Tacos to snack on while listening to the live music. There is also a dog sitting service for a gold coin so feel free to invite your pooch.
The Fat Tui - Nelson
This is the only thing you'll want if you've had a day of exploring Nelson or the Abel Tasman National Park. Sit outside in the iconically Kiwi style picnic bench courtyard, complete with The Fat Tui caravan, with your delicious, juicy (and relatively healthy) burger and fries. The huge, seed-topped buns, home-made patties and family vibes will leave you feeling like your at home, with the added bonus of vegetarian options.
Oob Orchard Shop – Omaha
Only open during Summer folks so make sure you get in quick! Stop in, grab a fresh fruit ice cream (hand-picked by the Oob crew) and relax on a bean bag in the sun. Don't forget to stock up on Oob's NZ famous blueberries while you're there!
Island Gelato – Waiheke
Summers popular hotspot, Waiheke, is the home of the beautiful and delicious Island Gelato. With a vast range of flavours, you can satisfy your sweet, salty, tangy, bitter or even spicy tooth as well as chose from their creative weekly specials (think Thai Basil & Mandarin or Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk and Toasted Marshmallow).
Cable Bay – Waiheke
With a gorgeous view looking over Waiheke, you'll never want to leave Cable Bay's sunny deck. Which is fine because if you've got a glass of wine and an antipasto platter, you won't have to! But before you settle in for a long lunch, take a walk around the vineyard or do a wine tasting (to get your palette ready) and just enjoy the serene vibes that Cable Bay Vineyards radiates.
The Boathouse – Waiheke
While you're on Waiheke, you will want to stop off at the Boathouse. Sit yourself down at a beachfront table, order a Seafood platter (because seafood is their speciality and yes there are oysters included) and grab a drink because its Summer and you deserve it. If seafood is not your thing, their range of delicious dishes, using locally sourced ingredients as well as free range bacon and eggs, will absolutely suffice.
Sawmill Brewery - Matakana
The Sawmill Brewery, with its gorgeous rustic interior and hot hops smell, will instantly put you at ease... And put a beer in your hand. But far from having man cave vibes, its ethereal décor and less than grubby pub food will make your day, whether the weather is fine or fickle.