Located in New Zealand's North Island, the tropical paradise of the Bay of Islands is known for its fresh, locally sourced produce, making it the place to be for a happy mind, soul and belly.
What are you waiting for? We've put together the most drool-worthy restaurants for you to sink your teeth into.
The Gables Restaurant
If you’re after a spot of fine dining then head to New Zealand's oldest operating restaurant, The Gables, where you’ll be wined and dined in luxury and fed the finest cuts of meat and freshest fish in town. Built originally in 1847, the iconic building holds heaps of history—you’ll not only leave with a satisfied belly, but a satisfied mind too. Sink your teeth into the fish of the day or indulge in the lamb ribs—they’re melt in your mouth perfection. Sit back, beer in hand and let the sound of the ocean waves lull you into relaxation. In the summer this little haven is heaving, so be sure to bag yourself a waterfront view seat asap.
Omata Estate Vineyard
Did someone say wine? It would be a crime not to visit one of the beautiful vineyards in the Bay Of Islands—after all, it is the birthplace of winemaking in Northland, New Zealand. Omata Estate offers panoramic views of the bay and a unique wine-tasting experience at their cellar door. With over 8000 vines made up of Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes, we think it’s safe to say they won’t be running out of wine anytime soon. With wine comes delicious food, and the Omata kitchen certainly doesn’t disappoint. The homemade platters are the perfect lunchtime treat, stacked with mouthwatering local cheeses and cured meats.
Most people know Hone’s Garden for its top-notch authentic wood-fired pizzas, but what they don’t know is that they do a bangin fish ‘n’ chips. Wash down all that grub with a local craft tap beer or two, and unwind in the tropical garden. Once you’ve been here once, trust us, you’ll want to keep on coming back to your favourite backyard bar.
Duke of Marlborough
Nothing beats a bit of good old fashioned pub grub by the beach and although the Duke of Marlborough’s food is more than your average bar snack, it’s dishing out those pub vibes that makes you feel right at home. But if you like the finer things in life, then you can still indulge at The Duke—half a dozen oysters in a sauce of your choice or wrap your chops around the seared scallops served with bok choy and crispy shallots. With picturesque views of the bay on offer, pull up a pew and enjoy a tipple or two as you watch the sunset on the glorious Russell.
For the bay’s most unique dining experience, head straight to Charlotte's Kitchen. Located right at the end of the wharf in Paihia, it’s the best spot for a sip and a bite with an epic view. Brought to you by the guys behind Duke of Marlborough, this hotspot brings something fun and funky to the Bay of Islands. Think steamed pork bao buns, slow-roasted pork knuckle and smoked paprika calamari. Wash it down with one of their stellar cocktails—we love their rum-filled pina colada.
After a morning swim in the ocean, head to Zane Grey’s for a breakfast of dreams. The Baked Belgium Waffles, with caramelized bananas, bacon and maple syrup will certainly hit the spot. If breakfast isn’t really your thing, come lunch you can munch on chicken wraps, burgers, salads—you name it Zane’s got it. Named after legendary fisherman, Zane Grey, it’s fair to say that the fresh fish here is going to be some of the island's best. Set up shop on the dock, where Instagram-worthy shots await you.
Treat your taste buds to something new at Cafe Jerusalem. Serving up traditional and authentic Israeli food made the old fashioned way. One bite of their falafel with dukkah dip and you’ll be transported to the holy land itself. Sharing is caring and the Mezze Platter is perfect for this, made up of a selection of four different mains, we promise you won’t go hungry. For those with a sweet tooth, the traditional Israeli desserts like Turkish delight and halva are sure to suffice.
Walk off all that food with a stroll along one of the Bay of Islands most beautiful beaches
Image Credit: Zane Grey’s, Charlotte’s Kitchen, Duke of Marlborough, Omata Estate Vineyard, Darren Muir