Aucklanders already seem to know about one of Kerikeri’s key delights – it’s a haven for epicureans!
For a small town, Kerikeri punches well over its weight with offerings of fine restaurants featuring our local organic produce, as well as a great selection of boutique wineries. International guests are often overwhelmed with choice, and have to make some tough decisions on where to spend their evening dining (and maybe a few lunches).
The Pear Tree Restaurant is nestled amongst the historic buildings in the Stone Store basin. Why not combine a tour of the store and mission house, and a stroll to Rainbow Falls with a delightful lunch on the veranda, overlooking the calming waters of Kerikeri Inlet?
Further up the hill, Food at Wharepuka offers fresh modern cuisine with a South East Asian twist; the Thai banquets on Friday night are delicious and excellent value. Over at Ake Ake Vineyard, the restaurant overlooks the vineyards and the delicious seasonal menus are designed to match their beautiful wines. Their Chambourcin (a red varietal that grows perfectly in our sub-tropical climate) is a personal favourite, highly recommended to match with their venison if it’s on the menu.
Among our ethnic options, Kerikeri boasts Japanese, Thai, Indian and Italian; and are of a standard you’d expect to find in a cosmopolitan city and are highly recommended.
Finally, the ‘French chateaux’ inspired Marsden Estate winery (designed by the same architect as Moon Gate Villa) overlooks a water lily pond you could well imagine Monet himself inspired to paint beside, and is a personal favourite! A sunny day, lunching al fresco with a glass or two of their Pinot Gris is as an absolute delight.
Kerikeri hosts two foodie favourites during its calendar year. The annual and FREE Kerikeri Street Party is held each year after the Kerikeri Half Marathon event in November, and sees all the local wineries and restaurants break out the finest foods into street stalls lining Kerikeri Main Street. And the Ocean and Orchard Festival held at the end of February features local chefs and restaurateurs holding demonstration and talks, amidst great local musical entertainment, competitions, and local food & wine stalls.
So there you have it; and we haven’t even talked about the small cafes that dot our main little shopping village! So if good food and wine is on your selection criteria for where to stay in the Bay of Islands, then Kerikeri is the place for you!