If you're hitting the open road this summer, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Here are nine essential dining destinations that are well-worth the mileage.
It's surprising what you can stumble across during the annual long-weekend pilgrimage during the Kiwi summer.
From food trucks that are worth their weight in tacos, to hole-in-the-wall hotspots renowned as the local's "best kept secret" – the summer road trip has a lot to offer.
So without further ado, here are the nine holiday dining destinations to keep on your radar.
1. Luke's Kitchen, Kuaotunu, Coromandel
Since it's humble food truck beginnings, Luke's has grown into one of the Coromandel's favourite haunts. In fact, it's safe to say the rest of the world has caught on, too. Boasting live music, steaming hot mussel bowls, wood-fired pizza and unparalleled beachfront views, Luke's will stay with you long after you head home.
2. Murray, Piha Beach
Since this tasty little taco truck rolled in to town, locals and beach-goers alike can't get enough of their delicious offerings. Situated in the "burnt out shell" of the once-famous Piha takeaway shop, Murray are proudly serving up fresh and healthy food options, including bountiful tacos and summer salads alongside delicious ice creams, ice blocks and bevvies. While you won't find hot chips on the menu here, consider Murray the perfect place to fuel up after a surf or park up and enjoy something light on-the-go. Let it be known, the tacos rival the very best of Venice Beach and that's no lie.
3. The Secret Garden, Waihi Beach
Discover a slice of Balinese heaven in the very heart of Waihi Beach. Nestled in the Wilson Road village, The Secret Garden is the ultimate roadie pit-stop. Stretch your legs and enjoy a freshly-brewed Allpress coffee, a smoothie or real fruit ice cream, array of herbal teas, beautiful homebaking, nourishing salad pods and other tasty morsels to enjoy while in transit. If you find you've got a little time to kill, be sure to take a nosey throughout the gorgeous neighbouring boutique, or sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounds. How's the serenity?
4. The Salt and Wood Collective, Waikanae
Waikanae's newest resident, The Salt and Wood Collective, is causing a stir among locals and visitors. This open-plan, casual kitchen boasts everything from classic beef burgers to mouth-watering pancakes to bites on the go. Call in for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. Coromandel Oyster Company
Sitting comfortably in its tidy nook in Coromandel Town, you'll find an unassuming spot with a reputable following. The Coromandel Oyster Company's deep fried oysters are something of a revelation and even more enjoyable when you stop for a nibble en route. Find a perch under the umbrella and watch the sun go down, it doesn't get any better than that.
6. Okere Falls Store, Rotorua Lakes
Resurrected in 2004, the Okere Falls Store is your go-to when in Rotorua. Boasting all the gourmet food store essentials, alongside great coffee, ice cream, take-home meals and easy bites, the store is a verified slice of local history and well worth a visit.
7. Sawmill Brewery, Matakana
Craft beer is having a moment. The team at Matakana's Sawmill Brewery know a thing or two about perfecting a brilliant brew. Having moved from their original site in Leigh, the Sawmill Brewery has been turning out beer from its new premises just out of Matakana since February. Make a day of it and take a tour around the brewery, be sure to finish the day with an ice-cold beer firmly in hand.
8. Sylvia's, Port Waikato
Nestled comfortably on the Port Waikato beachfront, there's something very special about Sylvia's. Boasting a variety of easy, beachy fare, call in for brunch, lunch or a sunset drink. The community feel and stellar home baking on offer, make Sylvia's a destination to remember.
9. Waihi Beach Hotel, Waihi Beach
After receiving a well-earned Hip Group revamp in 2014, the Waihi Beach Hotel has never looked better. The traditional goldmining township is on to a winner with this dining destination, that serves as the ideal party and summer gig venue, catering service and holiday brunch spot.