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Northland's top cafes: best places to eat, sleep and RELAX!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we know plenty of families will be looking for Northland’s top cafés as that perfect way to say, ‘thanks mum’. It’s not an easy job, raising a family: often it’s non-stop and exhausting to boot! While a box of choccies and a cup of tea in bed are all well and good, we know what mum really wants this Mother’s Day… A special escape to a gorgeous destination – and, of course, a Mother’s Day brunch, lunch or dinner at a spectacular Northland café in a spectacular location.

We know you’re busy, and it sounds like a lot to organise. Don’t worry! We’ve done all the digging for you: here are our top picks of where to eat and special holiday homes to stay in, nice and close by. Give the special mum in your life a treat she won’t forget!

Sally's Restaurant, Russell

Sallys Restaurant, Russell, Bay of IslandsWhere: 25 The Strand, Russell, Bay of Islands, 0255, New Zealand
Contact: 09 403 7652
Opening hours: 7 days for lunch from 10am, 5 nights for dinner from 5pm, closed for dinner Sunday & Monday

Rest your toes in the sand and watch the sun set over spectacular Kororareka Bay, in the gorgeous historical waterfront village of Russell. You won’t find a more unique setting for a restaurant than that of Sally’s Restaurant – alfresco dining has never looked so good, and for those mums who enjoy a little romance (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?!) then Sally’s is the place to be. The menu features fresh local delights, while the setting and ambiance do the rest. Treat your mum or the mother of your children to a truly wonderful evening by the water at Sally’s Restaurant.

Places to stay nearby...

Helena Bay Café and Gallery

Helena Bay Cafe and GalleryWhere: 1392 Old Russell Road, RD 4 Hikurangi, Northland 0184
Contact: 09 433 9934
Opening hours: Gallery Hours: Open seven days, 10am to 5pm, Cafe Summer Hours: Open seven days 10am to 5pm, Cafe Winter Hours: Open Wed – Sun 10am to 4pm

A long-time favourite for locals and travellers alike, the Helena Bay Café and Gallery is a destination in it’s own right. With outstanding cuisine, truly mouthwatering café treats and views that go on for miles, this hilltop café is ideal for getting away from it all. Treat the special mum in your life to a stroll through the sculpted garden, and take your time exploring one of the most unique art, craft and jewellery galleries in New Zealand. Situated on a scenic coastal route surrounded by Northland’s most stunning beach destinations, the Helena Bay Gallery & Café offers the ideal surprise brunch destination for your special lady.

Places to stay nearby...

Schnappa Rock

Schnappa Rock Restaurant, Tutukaka MarinaWhere: Marina Road, Whangarei 0173
Contact: 09 434 3774
Opening hours: Open 7 Days from 8am, closed Sunday nights; June 1st - October 1st

The stunning Tutukaka Coast is known for it’s white sandy beaches, it’s picture-perfect postcard scenery, and it’s breath-taking nature reserves. Schnappa Rock fits in perfectly with the vibe of this spectacular location, exuding an effortlessly laid-back atmosphere while delivering some of the best cuisine in Northland. Fresh, locally-sourced produce is served to your choice of sheltered alfresco dining across from the boat moorings, or indoors under the island-style thatched roofing and funky, pacific décor. This restaurant delivers on style and taste: not to be missed!

Places to stay nearby...

The Quay

The Quay Restaurant, WhangareiWhere: 31 Quayside, Whangarei, Northland
Contact: 09 430 2628
Opening hours: brunch menu 9-2pm and a full menu 11-close

The Quay is one of Whangarei’s newest and most vibrant eateries, located at the Town Basin and offering absolute waterfront dining. There’s a lot to be said for eating fresh seafood while overlooking the lights of Whangarei’s busiest marina, watching the yachts come and go and relaxing in the afternoon sun. The Quay has built a strong reputation in a very short time, and is continuing to delight patrons with their large range of local and international wines, their extensive craft beer selection, and – of course – their outstanding cuisine. Delight your special lady on Mother’s Day with a classy brunch at this upmarket location.

Places to stay nearby...

Parua Bay Tavern

Parua Bay Tavern, Whangarei HeadsWhere: 1034 Whangarei Heads Road, Parua Bay 0174
Contact: 09 436 5856
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am – Late

The iconic Parua Bay Tavern is located on the water’s edge of the Whangarei harbour, with outdoor dining and absolute waterfront views. Renowned as Whangarei’s foremost gastro-pub, the Parua Bay Tavern has received glowing reviews for it’s fresh seafood and old-world style charm. There’s simply no better place to relax on a Sunday afternoon than on the sunny front lawn of the PBT: and while the atmosphere may be chilled, the food maintains a very high standard indeed. This is also a popular family eating destination, with a dedicated kids menu (wait till your nippers see the kid’s cocktail list!) making it perfect for the family-oriented Mother’s Day celebration.

Places to stay nearby...