Sawmill Brewery
Cove Eatery
Cove Eatery
Tantalus Estate
Rothko at Sculptureum

The Best Eateries Further Afield

With the long weekend well on its way, marking what (vaguely) looks to be the beginning of summer, we’re keen to hit the road and soak up the pre-holiday vibes. Needing little more excuse than a hands-down delicious meal, the following out-of-town destinations are all under two hours’ drive (or thereabouts) from downtown Auckland. So, no matter which direction takes your fancy, we’ve got you covered with good food and drink.

Sylvia’s  Port Waikato
While Port Waikato is not a place we imagine to be a gastronomic hot spot, this seasonal eatery has reopened its doors for the sunnier season. Ex-River Cottage chef Sylvia Dwen has successfully garnered our attention with the promise of great food by the beach (Sunset Beach to be exact) adhering to an ethos of providing ‘honest food’. You won’t be disappointed. (240 Maunsell Road, Port Waikato)

Hayes Common — Hamilton
The award-winning fit-out is reason enough to visit this cult Hamilton eatery. With a fresh take on breakfast, lunch and dinner, and steaming hot Atomic Coffee at the ready, a detour to the Waikato metropolis doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all. (33 Jellicoe Drive, Hamilton)

Tantalus Estate — Waiheke
Having just reopened its doors after a brief winter hiatus, there can be no doubt that this Waiheke winery is just as good as ever. A worthy stop in whether for a wine, meal or pint (the downstairs brewery, Alibi, is not to be missed), if you’re heading over to the rock we strongly suggest booking in advance. (72 Onetangi Road)

Hallertau  Riverhead
Riverhead’s Hallertau Brewery — known for its exceptional craft beer — is luring us out to the rolling farmlands with the promise of meat-loving and vegetarian pizzas, plates of pulled lamb shoulder and, of course, plenty of cold brews on tap. (1171 Coatesville Riverhead Hwy)

The Tasting Shed  Kumeu
The pride of Kumeu, conveniently located en route to Muriwai Beach, remains this unrelentingly good eatery. It’s a perfect place to stop in and grab a glass of wine over some elevated yet earthy dishes, so don’t miss out if you’re thinking of heading West. (609 State Highway 16)

Sculptureum  Matakana
A trip out to Sculptureum should really be a full-day affair. First on the itinerary will, of course, be a wander through the immense sculpture park and galleries, followed by a meal at the aptly named bar and restaurant Rothko, where award-winning wine and inventive fare await. (40 Omaha Flats Road)

The Annex — Waiheke Island
While you’re surely aware of the innumerable wineries, the finest food, and wine on the island, what you might not be aware of is this bona fide slice of Waihetian heaven. The Ostend tea and cakery will charm the pants off any townie and is arguably the island’s best-kept secret to date. (10 Putiki Rd, Ostend)

Cove Eatery  Whangaparoa
Drive along the Whangaparaoa peninsula to Stanmore Bay where earlier this year, we discovered this unassuming gem. Here you can settle into a booth and bask in the finesse of the Cove’s delectably modern bistro dishes morning, noon or night, as well as the Hibiscus Coast’s underrated beaches. (570-588 Whangaparaoa Rd)

McLeod’s Pizza Barn — Waipu Cove
Dishing up incredible pizzas, burgers and bites alongside house-brewed McLeod’s beer, this casual pizza barn is one the whole family can enjoy. A local stalwart that knows how to put on a good night, if your travels take you North this weekend, a rest stop here would be wise.



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