New Zealand

Embark On A Weekend Foodie Getaway With Northland’s Best Long Lunches

By Natasha Van Der Laan
22nd Dec 2022

A play of oysters

If you’re anything like us, you love nothing more than a long lunch with your nearest and dearest. Get out of town and venture to the sunny north where you’ll discover mouth-watering fare paired with the chilled-out vibes… oh, and breath-taking views to boot. To help you put together a culinary road trip, we’ve teamed up with NorthlandNZ to uncover the best of the best. From unassuming cafes to boutique vineyards, Northland offers something for every vibe and every palate. 

Kerikeri 

Where To Eat

Marsden Estate (241km from Auckland)

Enjoy a romantic lunch for two between the vines of Marsden Estate. Just a few minutes’ drive from Kerikeri village, the estate is famed for its divine food and wine. Dine al fresco on the terrace where you’ll be shaded by grapevines, overlooking the picturesque lake, gardens and vineyard. Graze your way through an antipasto platter before moving on to dishes such as hoisin pork belly, spiced lamb backstrap, and creamy garlic prawn fettuccine.

Plough and Feather (246km from Auckland)

If you’re somewhat of a craft beer connoisseur, pass the afternoon by at Plough & Feather. The English-style gastropub prides itself on having a Northland twist and celebrates the history of the people and land through food and drink. The beer-battered fish is a crowd-favourite with its fresh line-caught fish served alongside crispy steak fries. The taproom boasts 20 locally brewed ales and lagers from the eatery’s sister company, Kainui Brew Co.

Make A Weekend Of It

Paradise Valley Glamping

Travel around the world without leaving Northland. Paradise Valley Glamping has a themed glamping village inspired by different countries and cultures. Pretend like you’re in the Serengeti with the African safari tent or transport yourself to Santorini with the blue and white Greek Island tent. Our pick is the luxury Honolulu tent with its pacific prints, lava lamp, and very own private tiki bar. No passport required.

Treghan Lodge

For a lush getaway nestled in secluded gardens, treat yourself to a stay at Treghan Lodge. Here you’ll get your very own self-contained luxury guesthouse—only minutes away from the best day adventures the Bay Of Islands have to offer. Whether you’re up for a romantic getaway or golf retreat, this is a one stop spot for some serious memory making.  We recommend leaving your weekend plans up to the experts and checking out their packages.

Russell

Where To Eat

Omata Estate (229km from Auckland)

For a relaxed lunch paired with dreamy views, make your way to Omata Estate. The boutique vineyard is located on a sunny peninsula overlooking the tranquil Bay of Islands. Pull up a beanbag and toast to afternoons well-spent as you enjoy gourmet platters and wood-fired pizza. The estate is home to 8000 vines made up of syrah, chardonnay, and pinot gris grapes with wine tastings available at the cellar door.

Sage Restaurant At Paroa Bay Winery (245km from Auckland)

Another vineyard that has our heart is Paroa Bay Winery. The breath-taking venue offers it all with a sprawling vineyard, luxury accommodation, and a world-class restaurant. Sage Restaurant celebrates the ocean and land throughout their menu. Kaimoana is sustainably fished and line-caught, while produce is sourced from local suppliers and the on-site garden. The creamy crayfish risotto is a must-try with fennel, jalapeño crème fraîche, and an abundance of fresh herbs. Pair with their signature chardonnay.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel (234km from Auckland)

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel is nothing short of a national icon. The hotel and restaurant has been “refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827” with a claim to fame as holding New Zealand’s first liquor licence. The historic venue is located right on the Russell waterfront with the menu influenced by the sea and all it has to offer. Think: oysters three ways, kingfish sashimi, beer-battered fish and chips, and creamed paua with truffle chive mascarpone and house-made fried bread.

Make A Weekend Of It

Duke of Marlborough Hotel

You don’t have to venture far to turn your lunch into a weekend escape. In fact, stay right where you are and book into a room at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. The hotel offers a range of accommodation options for every budget. Go all out and book a premium waterfront room with its own private balcony that opens up to views over the Bay of Islands. The Duke is situated in the heart of Russell, allowing you to wander the local village by foot or take a passenger ferry across to Paihia for the day.

Paihia

Where To Eat

Charlotte’s Kitchen (229km from Auckland)

Dine on the water (literally) at Charlotte’s Kitchen. The restaurant-slash-bar is perched right at the end of the Paihia wharf with no shortage of ocean views. The dishes are designed to be shared, making it the perfect place to visit with a group. Naturally, seafood features across the menu with local oysters, chargrilled chilli octopus, kingfish sashimi, and seafood-loaded linguine. There’s also wood-fired pizzas and a slow-roasted pork knuckle that’s developed somewhat of a cult following for its deliciousness.

Make A Weekend Of It

Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands

For a resort-style holiday, experience an island getaway at Paihia’s Scenic Hotel. Like all good tropical resorts, the hotel is surrounded by lush subtropical gardens and an all-important on-site restaurant and pool. Choose to stay right where you are and relax at the hotel or use it as a base for exploring the wider Bay of Islands.

Waipu

Where To Eat

The Cove (118km from Auckland)

Located a hop, step and a jump from Auckland, Waipu is the ultimate day trip. Visit for a leisurely lunch and dine at The Cove before wandering along the long, sandy beach. The Cove ticks all the boxes as a restaurant, cafe and bar, meaning there’s a menu (and a bevvy) for every occasion. Better yet, dietary requirements are catered for with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly dishes. Pull up a table indoors or outdoors and embrace the chilled-back vibes of being away from the Big Smoke.

Make A Weekend Of It

Camp Waipu Cove

Want the experience of a classic Kiwi holiday? Book in at Camp Waipu Cove located on the stunning white sand beach of Bream Bay. There’s accommodation for every level of comfort from powered and unpowered campsites to self-contained cabins. It’s a nature lover’s paradise with the options of swimming, surfing, fishing, diving, bird-watching, and even exploring the local Waipu Caves. Our advice? Get up early to watch the sunrise over the beach—it’s truly spectacular.

Kauri Coast

Where To Eat

Boatshed Cafe (277km from Auckland)

Housed in a corrugated iron boatshed, the aptly named Boatshed Cafe is a humble eatery with a menu that packs a punch. Visit for lunch and choose between the likes of baked camembert with house-made focaccia, king salmon poke bowl, and a Mediterranean salad loaded with free-range bacon, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes. Our pick is the iconic kūtai pie that pairs flaky pastry with a comforting leek and mussel filling. No visit is complete without it.

Make A Weekend Of It

Wild Forest Estate

Get off the grid and book a romantic getaway at Wild Forest Estate. The boutique accommodation is a haven of tranquillity set in a secluded slice of the Kauri Coast. There are three unique types of stays available: a rustic bushman’s cottage, a converted shipping container, or a glamping tent nestled in the native forest. The latter two options both have an outdoor bath, allowing you to truly relax and unwind.

Is that your mouth watering and stomach rumbling? Embark on a foodie road trip and discover all that Northland has to offer.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by NorthlandNZ and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image credit: Charlotte's Kitchen via Instagram

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