Weekend Lunch Escapes Totally Worth The Drive

By Sarah Lynch
8th Apr 2016

TGIF. Weekends = adventure and we’re always up for a road trip—even more so when it includes a damn good feed and a vino or two (none for the driver, obvs). So for your weekend inspo, we’ve come up with a list of our favourite restaurants to get in the car, wind down the window and hit the road. They’re all within an hour’s drive from the city, and are guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve made the most of your weekend. 

Puhoi Pub


Just forty minutes north of Auckland, Puhoi is close enough for an afternoon drive but far enough away to be considered a rural pub. The Puhoi Pub was established in 1879 and has been a watering hole for locals and the not-so-local who keep coming back for the relaxed vibes. On a sunny day, the outdoor area is a winner. 

The Tasting Shed


Owned by husband and wife duo Ganesh and Jo, The Tasting Shed offers the freshest ingredients and an extensive wine list in a welcoming environment. It’s an experience for the senses and one best shared with friends and family (that way you can all pitch in for petrol/ shot gun not for a sober driver). Not only will a trip to The Tasting Shed be a physical adventure, it will be one for your taste buds too—now that’s two birds with one stone.

Hallertau Brewery


If you haven’t heard of Hallertau, you’ve managed to escape the micro brewery bubble and you probably don’t live in Auckland. While it’s a go-to brew for hipsters and hop enthusiasts at prominent bars around Ponsonby, you can now experience Hallertau on home soil at their brewery and restaurant in Riverhead. It’s family run, and they are just as passionate about food as they are beer—win, win! No beards required.



Nestled in the olive groves of the Simunovich Estate is Bracu—a unique eatery that offers delicious and accessible food to rival Auckland City’s top restaurants. To say this restaurant is road trip worthy is an understatement, it’s become a South Auckland institution and for good reason. If the menu and wine list isn’t motivation enough – check out the activities, they offer. Heck, you can make a whole day of it with clay bird shooting and archery on site. 

The Matakana


Built in 1903, The Matakana has had a long and colourful history. A noteworthy restaurant in the 80s, it was run by a French man who had a Michelin tattoo in a questionable place. It was then taken over by a few couples and revitalised into the family friendly village pup that it’s famous for today. Fact: The Matakana was built from the timber of a single Kauri tree. Now when you go there, you’ll also have something to talk about. Ticking all the boxes.

Leigh Sawmill


The Leigh Sawmill has become a North Auckland institution for its café culture, delicious feeds and eclectic yet excellent selection of live acts and performances that always pull the crowds. In 2004, the team behind the Sawmill opened their microbrewery and produced their first beers—which is complemented by the on-site accommodation because you’ll struggle to just have one.

The Riverhead


The Riverhead is the oldest riverside tavern on Kiwi soil. It’s celebrated more than 153 years in business and is the proud owner of NZ’s second oldest liquor license. The good news is, they’ve spruced up the place over the years and it has continued to be a destination spot for diners or casual drinkers—the coffee is good too! 

Want to plan a weekend away? Try 8 Weekend Escapes To Plan For Now 

Image credit: The Tasting Shed via Facebook

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