New Zealand’s quirkiest cafes

Top Cafes in New Zealand

There’s no need to put up with a bog standard cafe if you’re in New Zealand as this is the place to find eateries that do things just a little differently. Once you’ve discovered these, you won’t ever want to go back to a chain cafe again.

Top Cafes in New Zealand

Cakes n Ladders

Opened around a year ago after a Kickstarter project and modelled on a concept that’s been successful in London and Toronto amongst other places, Auckland’s Cakes n Ladders cafe offers you the opportunity to play board games while you sip your latte. From staples like Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, you’ll find all your favourites to keep you occupied. And if it turns into a marathon, there are plenty of cakes and cookies to nibble on to stave off any hunger pangs.

Mainline Station cafe

You might wonder what a station cafe is doing in a quirky top cafes in New Zealand blog, as there’s nothing unusual about those. Domett railway station, located midway between Christchurch and Kaikoura, was closed in 1982 and after a spell as a farm building, was pretty much derelict by 1996. As a building with a history dating back to 1907, the owners decided to step in and save it. After careful restoration, it was turned into a popular cafe and now you can enjoy your lunch at Mainline Station Cafe amidst a whole load of railway memorabilia.

L’Arte Mosaic cafe

This cafe and art gallery situated just outside Taupo showcases artist Judi Brennan’s work. A riot of colour, the beautifully landscaped gardens of L’Arte Mosaic Cafe feature an outdoor living room created from mosaics, with outdoor cafe tables blending the two seamlessly. If you love what you see, you’ll be pleased to note that there’s a shop for you to take a piece of artwork home as a souvenir. The food’s not bad either.


The name’s a giveaway, of course. You’ll find Airspresso airside at New Plymouth and Queenstown airports and these aviation-themed cafes are dedicated to local heroes, including Jim Hickey, World War Two pilot who flew in Burma and just happens to be the father of one of the owners. The food and the coffee are great, but it’s the authentic aviation memorabilia which sets this pair apart.

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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