Great coffee for Mum (and Dad) and a playground for the kids has got to be the holy grail of a good café for families. We’ve found eight Auckland family cafes with playgrounds we think you’ll want to try out, even if they’re not local.
Where? 1171 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Riverhead
Why? Hallertau (pictured above) is a handmade paradise. Beer is hand brewed, fresh fruit and vegetables are handpicked for your plate, the eggs are free range and hand plucked from the chickens that roam the grounds. If you really listen the fam can have a little giggle, as the chickens don’t cluck — they hiccup! The Little Hoppers kids’ menu comes with a colouring kit and a toy box, but that’s just for dinner. Hallertau is surrounded by a kids’ outdoor area, which has a giant Jenga and Connect Four, a climbing wall, and a playground with bridges and slides. We love the kids’ desserts on offer — such as ‘build your own fabulous sundaes’ — and we will be super good for Santa so we get one too!
2. Café Windsor (Windsor Park Baptist Church Playground)
Where? 550 East Coast Road, Mairangi Bay
Why? Café Windsor has been placed on a pedestal by North Shore mums and we are happy to report it’s worth the hype. The playground is fully fenced, but the kids have no boundaries in what they can do: there’s a playground, large field and scrumptious kid-friendly menu. We love the picnic plate, it’s ready to go with a sandwich, fruit skewer and choice of spread — nothing says ‘kiwi summer’ quite like this. This café goes above and beyond for the inclusion of all ages and stages. Café Windsor won the Best Breast Feeding Café in New Zealand, and they are very proud to support it.
3. Whoa! Studios
Where? 8-14 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson
Why? This international-standard playground is truly of epic proportions. The Whoa! playground is lit up at night, and there’s a rocket ship, dragon’s castle and pirates’ cove, also with mini trampolines and climbing webs. It’s a creative space for the young ones to roam, and an invitation of adventure for the teens. While usually $10 to use the playground, it’s free for kids in the evenings, so make sure you stick around for a snack or two. Top chefs Mike Shatura and Ben Bayly (king of My Kitchen Rules) are ready to serve up a feast that’s not too fancy for the kids to relish as well. Pop into the tuck shop on your way out and lick your way through white chocolate or fresh strawberry-flavoured heaven. An extra bonus for those non-quitters is the live music and dance floor set up every Saturday night to keep the fun going for longer.
4. Puhoi Cheese Café
Where? 275 Ahuroa Road, Puhoi
Why? There’s a perfect road trip stop-off or afternoon destination hidden in Puhoi. The Cheese Café is in perfect view of everything, but you can keep your feet up. Have one eye on the kids, and the other on the cheesemongers hard at work to prepare masterpieces for your tastebuds. There is a grassy area to run around on, a big playground, a large deck and oodles of inside seating. Everything milk-based is on offer here to the highest standard, from cheeses to gelato. Rain or shine, this is the easiest-breeziest-tastiest place to be.
5. Cornwall Park Eateries
Where? Cornwall Park, Pohutukawa Drive, Epsom
Why? Burrowed within the charming Cornwell Park is Frolic Café. The food feels just like home at this venue which prides itself on homemade delights. There’s freshly ground coffee, seasonal menus, fresh produce and, of course, the one thing the kids will be begging for: sweet treats. Grab anything to take away and go exploring with the kids in this vast patch of green in the city. They’ve got parents covered here, get either a caffeine or an antioxidant kick with fresh smoothies or coffees. Right across the road is an awesome playground and there’s plenty of room for the kids to have a ball (so remind dad to pack the football).
6. Boric Food Market
Where? Boric Food Market, 1404 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Kumeu
Why? Kids can have hours of playtime at the Boric Food Market. The playground is full of mini grocery stations fitted with vintage tills for play-pretend customers, has tractors to climb on and go for an imaginary adventure, and dotted with apple trees to snag yourself a snack. There’s also artisan food to match the specialty playground. Fresh fruit and vegetables, organic products, counter products (including gluten and dairy free options), and always great coffee. Make sure you check out the Kohu Road kids’ cones (only $3) and set yourself up for the arvo while the kids play the day away.
7. Circus Circus Café
Where? 447 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden
Why? This carnival-themed café is a wonderland to behold! Lion statues stand guard at the door and the décor is themed right down to the bathrooms. This restaurant is friendly for everyone: kids, pets and vegetarians alike. Mixing the greatest flavours with the best local produce, this café is your new place to try. We are particularly fond of the cake in a jar, the kids’ classic crunchie bar cheesecake and the fondue for two (or three!). Circus Circus is right across from a cute, colourful little playground. If you want the full quaint experience, check out the Mount Eden Craft Market just across the road (the next one is Saturday the 14th of October).
8. Columbus Café
Where? Mitre 10 Mega, Takanini
Why? One of our Mumterns has let us in on the latest hot-spot for mums and kids at Columbus! Mitre 10 is so much more than a hardware store at this location, here it offers a great café, and a playground. There’s even a bouncy castle for the littlies; and a fence around the playground to rein in the fun and keep everyone safe. The café is housed in a garden, perfect for those relaxing vibes without having to leave the city. An absolute favourite all-round are the fluffies paired with a marshmallow fish. We are always down for fluffy, mellow goodness.
BY OLIVIA STANLEY