I scream, you scream... well, you know how it goes. Whether it's fresh and fruity or rich and chocolatey, in a cone, on a stick or in a cup, we just can't get enough of the cold stuff. So without further ado, here's our pick of the coolest (yes, we did just do that) ice cream shops in Auckland.
Duck Island Ice Cream
Ponsonby And Newmarket
The pretty little ice cream parlour with the cute name, this one's a must-visit. Originally from Hamilton, Duck Island now has two branches in Auckland and has amassed quite the following since they opened thanks to its fun, often unusual flavours, many of which are also vegan. Indulge your inner child with a cone of sprinkle-filled 'fairy bread'—dig your way through a cup of marshmallow and chocolate-studded 'ambrosia'—or, if you're feeling super adventurous, check out the black sticky rice or raspberry, coconut and coriander offerings (they're actually surprisingly good!). Alternatively, grab yourself a tub of one of Duck Island's core flavours (think peppermint slice and salted caramel with cacao crumb), available from most supermarkets. There is a god.
Kohimarama, Orewa and Wynyard Quarter
If you know your ice cream, you'll know about Little 'Lato—the bespoke gelato buisness whose ice-cold creations can be found at not one but three locations throughout the city. These guys are bringing some seriously incredible flavours to the table, including a few life-changing seasonal offerings (we're looking at you, Christmas Pudding) and even vegan alternatives. And we're not the only ones who love what these guys do—Little 'Lato scooped up a tonne of accolades at the 2020 New Zealand Ice Cream Awards, including the title of country's best gelato for their Speculoos creation (a gorgeous ginger-caramel combo inspired by the European cookie of the same name).
Good Habit Ice Cream
Welcome to the first dedicated vegan ice cream scoop shop in Auckland. Good Habit Ice Cream will turn everything you think you know about vegan ice cream on its head. These guys are bringing their simple, minimally processed dairy-free ice cream to the masses, resulting in next-level, amazingly luscious creations that will get you hooked after one taste. On the short but sweet menu expect the usual suspects of Maple Vanilla—simple yet moreish—and Chocolate Wasted—stuffed with house made gluten-free brownie pieces no less, but that's about as ordinary as it gets. The American influence lies strongly with their PB&J flavour which wouldn't you know, actually tastes like peanut butter and jelly. Their Strawberry Balsamic also comes highly recommended, it’s created from a beetroot-based ice cream then has in-house strawberry jam and balsamic glaze added. If you’re after something a little more leftfield, the coffee and banana flavoured Java Island is the one for you. Not forgetting the mint-chip brownie flavour which is the kind of deliciousness you need to order by the tub.
Takapuna Beach Café
Ice creams and the beach go hand-in-hand, a recipe this waterfront café knows all too well. Takapuna Beach Café's hand-scooped gelatos and sorbets have won numerous awards and come in a range of sophisticated flavours including espresso, lemon curd yoghurt and vanilla and peppermint. No surprises that the same team behind Milse also run this establishment—in fact, you can often get some of the gelatos-on-a-stick mentioned below here as well.
If Willy Wonka were to open an ice cream shop, we imagine it'd be something like Giapo. This inner-city outfit definitely sets the bar for originality, serving up epic creations that are known just as much for their looks as they are for their taste. Yes, you've no doubt seen its edible masterpieces popping up in your Instagram feed—perhaps the ice cream in the shape of the Sky Tower, or maybe the one that looks like a giant squid. The flavours, however, are far from secondary—largely inspired by the owners' Italian heritage and ranging from a delicious 'bueno' offering made with caramel, hazelnut praline and amaretti, through to 'Cher's chocolate'—a decadent scoop named after the American superstar who famously visited the store in 2018.
Britomart, Fort Street And Morningside
It comes as no surprise that a restaurant specialising in desserts also produces some pretty outstanding gelato. The cabinets at Miann are bursting with experimental flavours, often themed around other sweet treats (case in point, the pavlova—featuring berries, burnt vanilla and chunks of the beloved Kiwi dish with which it shares its name). And while the menu is ever-changing, one thing remains the same–delicious, one-of-a-kind gelato that will definitely have you coming back for more.
Ollies Burgers & Ice Cream
If you're in the mood for no-nonsense ice cream, Ollies Burgers & Ice Cream is where you'll find it. The retro fit-out (we're talking chequered floors, arcade games and a shiny red countertop) is reminiscent of the ice cream parlours of old, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a scoop of classic, Tip Top goodness—think hokey pokey, orange chocolate chip, goody goody gum drops, gold rush and all the other fabulous flavours this iconic Kiwi brand has introduced to us over the years. Alternatively, order yourself one of the eatery's super-nostalgic banana splits, complete with all the trimmings.
Kumeu, Mission bay
We'd gladly make the trip out west for a cup (or cone) of something cool from Juicy. Their real-fruit strawberry ice creams are some of the most generously-sized in Auckland, while their fridges are home to a vibrant selection of handcrafted gelatos and sorbets. Some of the more novelty flavours on offer include pineapple lump, and Smurf (you can tell this one by the vivid blue colour, offest by tiny pink and white marshmallows). What you might not know is that these guys also have a shop in Mission Bay, albeit under a different name (Gelato New Zealand)—where you'll find the same epic range of ice creams, gelatos and sorbets. Could there be a more perfect way to cool off after a day at the beach? We think not.
Ben & Jerry's
Commercial Bay, Mission Bay and Ponsonby
What started out as a venture between two friends (named—you guessed it—Ben and Jerry) in America more than 40 years ago is now one of the biggest and most recognised ice cream brands in the world. We for one can't get enough of their ridiculously decadent style of ice cream, which you'll find at their dedicated Scoop Shops around Auckland (while some flavours are also available at select supermarkets and other retailers). Take your pick of seriously drool-inducing options including a number of store exclusives, loaded with the likes of cookie dough, caramel sauce, brownie chunks, peanut butter, pretzel pieces... this is certified sugar territory, and we love it. Their hugely popular cookie dough range is hard to beat (because the only thing better than cookie dough is cookie dough ice cream, right?), but TBH, anything from here is going to knock your ice cream-loving socks right the hell off. For the ultimate Ben & Jerry's experience, ditch the cup or cone and opt for a sundae instead.
Can't get enough of the sweet stuff? Here's where to find Auckland's best doughnuts.
Image credit: Duck Island Ice Cream by Jaiden Bhaga, Good Habit Ice Cream, Giapo, Miann, Juicy, Ben & Jerry's