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The best of the Bay of Islands

It was home to New Zealand’s first capital and it remains one of its top holiday destinations. We’re talking, of course, about the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Golden sands and emerald blue waters dotted with seemingly hundreds of islands; it really is little wonder this part of the country is so popular with locals and tourists alike. You’re never far from something to see and do – and the backdrop is simply stunning.

Whether you’re heading to the Bay of Islands for a holiday or you’re thinking about it, these are some of the best restaurants, bars and cafes in the area.

Tuk-Tuk Bangkok, Russell

For an authentic taste of Thailand in the heart of the Bay of Islands, Tuk-Tuk Bangkok is the place to go. In fact, it’s the only Thai restaurant that we know of in Russell!

The restaurant’s authentic, varied menu is sure to satisfy. Whether you’re looking for tried-and-true dishes such as Pad Thai or something a little bit different – scotch fillet of steak with Thai herbs, perhaps? – Tuk-Tuk Bangkok has got you sorted.

It’s open for lunch and dinner. Look for the tuk-tuk parked outside.

Food at Wharepuke Restaurant, Kerikeri

This award-winning restaurant and café in Kerikeri is worth seeking out, if only to see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Food at Wharepuke Restaurant has been named Northland’s best café at least twice and it won numerous awards – including most innovative chef – at this year’s Matariki Hospitality Awards. And the restaurant itself is pretty nice, too, set amongst a lush subtropical garden.

It serves European- and Thai-inspired cuisine as well as fair trade and organic coffee. Most remarkable of all, the service matches the high quality of food.

35 Degrees South Aquarium, Paihia

This Paihia restaurant must surely be the most unique dining experience in the Bay of Islands.

35 Degrees South, Aquarium, Restaurant and Bar does what it says on the tin: it’s a restaurant and an aquarium and bar. Watch hundreds of fish swim around in the 60,000-litre aquarium as you eat or dine alfresco and enjoy the view outside on the deck.

Unsurprisingly, this restaurant specialises in seafood.

The Pear Tree, Kerikeri

How about a bit of history with your meal or drinks? The Pear Tree is situated beside the Kerikeri River inside the picturesque Stone Store Basin.

Enjoy a wonderful brunch, lunch, dinner or coffee and then go and soak up the history at the Stone Store – New Zealand’s oldest stone building – or take a stroll through The Pear Tree’s park-like surroundings.

Hansen's Café, Paihia

Watch the boats as you enjoy a big breakfast, lunch or coffee. Hansen’s Café boasts a beautiful spot along the waterfront and a great range of breakfasts, savouries, cakes and drinks.

A popular café but one with the feel of a laid-back local, Hansen’s Café is well worth a look next time you’re in the area.

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  1. 19 York Street, Russell, Northland
  2. B
  3. 190 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri, Far North, Northland
  4. C
  5. 69 Marsden Road, Paihia, Far North.Bay Of Islands, Northland

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