Breaking up the annual Kiwi road trip with a real fruit ice cream is a rite of passage for many come holiday season – and for good reason.
There are few pleasures in life that rival that very first lick of a freshly-made blueberry or strawberry ice cream, before the inevitable melting begins.
In a bid to ensure you're well and truly covered this Waitangi weekend – rumour has it we're in for another scorcher – we've scouted out the country's seven best real fruit ice cream must-tries. From road stops in transit to the sunny Coromandel to the new ice cream spot that's recently rolled into your neighbourhood, we guarantee you'll be licking your lips by the time you're through with this tasty round-up.
1. Real Fruit Strawberry Ice Cream, Mangere, Auckland
Long-favoured by Aucklanders and visitors alike, no trip out south is complete without a big ol' scoop of real fruit strawberry ice cream. This delicious road stop boasts an impressive fresh produce farmers' market and strawberry fields. On a sunny day, pull up a chair and enjoy your ice cream on-site, or treat yourself to a plate of pancakes, topped with cream and fresh strawberries. If you're opting for a scoop, be warned, the portions are generous and a kiddie cone is plenty.
2. Tairua, Coromandel
With the Thames Coast Road a little worse for wear, many travellers will inevitably be passing through Tairua this long weekend. If you're Coromandel bound, you'll be delighted to discover Tairua can lay claim to one of the best real fruit ice cream spots around. This unassuming little local sits proudly on Main Road and has been keeping sweettooths well and truly satisfied for ages.
3. Blueberry Country, Ngatea
As its namesake might suggest, Blueberry Country is dedicated to all things blueberries. Based in Ohaupo in the beautiful and fertile Waikato, Blueberry Country have established Orchards in Ohaupo and Ngatea, with a site currently under development in Otautau (Southland).
If you're paying a visit between December through to late February, you can pick your own blueberries, devour a real fruit ice cream or stay a while and enjoy a scrumptious snack from the on-site cafe.
4. Walt's Real Fruit Ice Cream, Mt Eden, Auckland
The newest real fruit offering in town, Walt's is our favourite summer pop-up to date. What started as a side project for student Walter Todd, Walt's is now a thriving little business that'll keep you coming back for more, time and time again. Set to be open until April, watch this space, ice cream lovers.
5. Charlie's Gelato, Matakana
Arguably one of the best scoops you'll enjoy all summer, at Charlie's, everything is handmade in small batches, from gelato to sorbet, using only the best locally-sourced ingredients. With more than 40 delectable flavours to choose from, whether you're gluten or dairy-free, Charlie's have you covered.
During the warmer months, Charlie's pick their own new-season summer berries, grapes and citrus fruit daily, to create inspired new flavour combinations that will delight your senses.
6. Berry Tasty, Napier City
Self-proclaimed as "the best real fruit ice cream in the Bay" prepare to be wowed by the fruity offerings available here. Conveniently located on Napier's Main North Road, swing by and pick up some fresh local produce or a homemade sammie while you're at it. If you have a penchant for sweet treats, the homemade fudge and toffee is also pretty hard to look past.
7. Fuse Real Fruit Ice Cream, Christchurch
Holding pride of place in Christchurch, Fuse is a real fruit ice cream trailer sitting opposite the playground at Cashmere Road. They've quite literally thought of everything – from real nut ice creams to peanut butter blends, Nutella and real fruit frozen yogurt – you'll be spoiled for choice. What's more, Fuse make their own ice cream toppings and sauces on site. Perfection in a cone, or a cup, whatever you're into, really.
8. Sylvia's, Omaha
Make a beeline North of Auckland and you'll discover one of Omaha's favourite real fruit ice cream trucks and coffee carts. Sylvia's is a roaming caravan that boasts a whole line-up of delicious vegan and dairy-free sweet treats, including unique flavour combinations like Charcoal and Coconut. No trip to Omaha is complete without a fly-by visit to Sylvia's.
Have we missed your favourite real fruit ice cream spot? Please let us know in the comments below.