Child friendly eating places around NZ

Vanessa and I are always on the lookout for cafes and eating places where the kids can eat healthy, keep occupied and most importantly let us drink a great tasting latte/ wine!!/ beer!! without it turning into a cat and mouse affair. We are always saying, if you had the money and space to set up a modern, CLEAN, family friendly cafe/ bar, you would be onto a goldmine. These are some places that deserve a visit with young 'ins' in tow.

I know we are not alone in our quest for great kid friendly cafes so please send us your recommendations for other places around the country so we can update our list. Either make a comment below or email us with your recommendation - don't forget to say why - it's always more interesting to get a first hand recommendation.

Bay of Islands/ Paihia/ Kerikeri
35 Degrees South Restaurant and Bar + Aquarium, Paihia 
Unique dining and bar experience for families over the water in Paihia with a central 60 000 litre Salt water Aquarium, filled with local fish species caught in the waters of The Bay of Islands. "they have a great view over the water and the kids love the Aquarium." 
69 Marsden Road

09 4026220

Waikokopu Cafe, Paihia 
"has great food and the kids love the fish pond with the eels and the tree and bush to play in which is fully fenced off and safe so that adults can sit back and relax."
Treaty Grounds

09 402 6275

The Pear Tree Restaurant and Bar, Kerikeri
"across the road from the stone store it has a nice outside area for the kids to play in."
215 Kerikeri Road,
Stone Store Basin
0508 732 787
7 days from 10 a.m. until late

Warkworth/ Rodney/ Matakana/ Leigh
Art of Cheese cafe (Cheese Shop) , Puhoi
Freshly renovated last year and with a fabulous kids' playground with a sandspit, playhouse, so parents can relax and enjoy while the children are entertained."
275 Ahuroa Road 
09 422 0670

Farmers Table Cafe (Sheep World), Warkworth
Live action sheepdog display, sheep-shearing, bottle feeding lambs and more. On-site café , enjoy the sunshine outside on the deck or in the garden. Outside tables overlook the children's playground. Relax over a drink while the kids let off some steam! Good idea for a kids birthday party $12 per child including entrance, food + drink
324 State Highway One,  
4kms North of Warkworth
09 425 9444

The Honey Cafe (Honey Centre), Warkworth
 Live bee display, honey tastings, freshly baked food, "Good for older kids and a good place to stop, buy some honey for your camping trip up north"
7 Perry Road
RD 3 Warkworth 
09 425 8003

The Leigh Sawmill Cafe
"great wood fired pizzas and the outdoor space, has a seesaw, swings and sawmill relics for kids to explore, a good sunny afternoon option"
142 Pakiri Rd,
09 422 6019

Matakana Country Park (County Kitchen Cafe), Matakana
Train rides, pony rides, a huge adventure playground, and farm animals to feed and a good cafe in the old woodshed. Also caters for kids parties. Will keep kids entertained for a couple of hours.
1151 Leigh Road,
Matakana, 0985
09 422 7437
Monday to Friday and Sunday 9am - 3.30pm
Saturday 7.30am - 3.30pm
*Check website for times for trains and pony rides

Dragonfly Cafe and Gallery, Matakana
"awesome playground and kids area" 
615 Matakana Rd
09 422 7330

Mitre Ten Mega Cafe, Albany
"Good rainy day option. Decent sized cafe. Food and Columbus coffee pretty good. Fenced indoor play area right beside the cafe, so you can sit, eat and watch your kids. Quite relaxing"
260 Oteha Valley Road
09 442 6130

Whitcoulls, Albany (nee Borders) FOODOPERA RECOMMENDS
"a bookstore come toyshop with a Gloria Jeans Cafe, coffee and food is ok however scattered within the store is a Thomas train table, a huge T-Rex, big box of Duplo, a rocket, and model castle. If you trust your kids, grab a seat and let them roam, if not, grab a takeout coffee and watch them play. The only catch is amongst these toys to play with, is a whole lot of cool toys to buy!"
Shop 214, 
Don McKinnon Drive , 
09 984 6353

Cafe Windsor, Mairangi Bay
Great child friendly atmosphere and safe outside play area. "this place really is made for mums and kids. Big playground, lots of room for prams and reasonable priced coffee and food. "
542 East Coast Rd
Mairangi Bay
North Shore City
09 477 2876

Mitre Ten Mega Cafe, Wairau 
"My husband is a big fan of the Mitre 10 Mega (Wairau) play area (the free bouncy castle is a hit with our boys) and the cafe is right next door."
15 Poland Road
Wairau Valley
09 440 5100

Pillini's Cafe, Milford Shopping Centre
"Several highchairs, couple of boxes of toys, wooden playpen you can put up for the little 
ones. "
24 Milford Rd
(Milford Shopping Centre) , Milford

09 489 3113 

Takapuna Beach Cafe, Takapuna 
Top 50 Cafe - 2011 - METRO 
"the cafe itself is not great to take kids, but to grab a coffee, homemade ice-cream, gelato or cafe food and take onto the beach or rock pools opposite the cafe, this is a great option for coffee groups, and families as the beach is the ultimate kids playground"
22 The Promenade
Takapuna 0622
09 484 0002

Jam Organic Cafe, Takapuna
"Jam is pretty good as the food and coffee are great.  They have a toy box that always seems to entertain my kids for a while.  Plus it's next to a little 'green' area that the kids can run around."
33-45 Hurstmere Rd, 
09 4861600

Massimo, Takapuna
"High chairs, kids menu and a great courtyard that little kids can run around that has a little wooden playhouse and a few toys to play with. Perfect on a sunny day." Next to the library and a few minutes walk to the beach.
1/3 The Strand
09 4865550
Tuesday to Saturday 6:30 a.m to Late. Sunday and Monday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Light, bright and funky, this cafe has kids toys, a kids table with 4 mini chairs right next to a big comfy couch, and high chairs and a few tables out the front - if you need to escape if the babies are making loads of noise (we had too!) Cute fluffys and naturally flavoured, bright macaroons, it was a hit with my three year old. Enough toys to keep wee ones amused whilst you have a coffee and a cake.
38 Barrys Point Road 
09 488 0910
Monday to Friday 7-4 Saturday/ Sunday 9-4 

Bella-Monte, Belmont
"Bella-Monte is the best cafe - Gated so children can't run out, play area for kids and they even sell baby clothes and toys. "
"Very kid friendly. All fenced off for kids with a small play area outside and inside - great food and coffee too!! Stone oven is in need of an upgrade but my very busy 20 month old son still loves all the toys in there and it is very hard to get him to leave! One of the few places he actually stays in one place! Can get very busy in there so quite full in the small play area in the weekend!
13 Williamson Ave

Stone Oven Bakery, Devonport
"Has a large kids play pen out back, however a few reviews stated the place was in need of an upgrade." 
FOODOPERA REVIEW: We had to agree, the place is definitely in need of an upgrade, and a clean, I even asked one of the staff if they could come and clean around our table, and no one came, our food took an hour (Saturday) (although the kids meal came quickly, but the toastie was untoasted! however it was popular, the food was ok, and with not too many other options for kids, it served it's purpose. It could be amazing though, so we will let them know, and hopefully see an improvement soon.
Have you had a different experience? Let us know in the comments box below
5 Clarence Street  
Devonport 0624
09 445 3185
Mon – Sun 6.30am – 4.30pm

Dutch Delight Restaurant, Highbury, Birkenhead
FOODOPERA REVIEW: favorite of Vanessa's as she lives just down the road. She has often popped in for a beer or wine after a stressful day, as there is a dedicated kids room with tv/ dvd's and toys. It's kid friendly, has a great family atmosphere and the owners (We heart Willem) are super accommodating. Highly recommend! Oh and try the pancakes, or even better, have a kid's party there, and the kids get to make their own pancakes. How neat!
3-5 Birkenhead Ave
09 418 1390
Tuesday - Sunday
9/10a.m - 9/10p.m

Catalina Cafe, Hobsonville Point
"Large open spaces, with big tables outside and a short walk to the kids playground, so eat, or grab a coffee and move to the playground. This cafe has great food and a casual ambience. Busy in the weekends, so get there early e.g 9 a.m for brunch. Sunday they also have a farmers market next door thats worth a look-see. " There is also a big room attached to the cafe that can be hired out for kids parties (catered or self catered) and its very affordable. 

Check out Vanessa's photo's of the market and the local delicacies 

Corner of Buckley Ave and Hastings Crescent
Hobsonville Point
Open daily 8am to 4pm and until 9pm on Wednesdays
09 950 6551

Fernielea Cafe, Riverhead
"good little playground and trampoline out there" 
Wooden train set and books inside, highchairs and changing table, kids menu with wholesome options, sunny garden with outdoor dining. "Awesome muffins, good playground and a trampoline"
302 Coatesville,
Riverhead HWY.
09 4156442

Wed - Sun: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant, Riverhead
"Spacious inside with an lounge area with comfy couches and toy boxes, perfect for littlies, good sized playground outside, in summer you could sit on the tables outside and watch the kids play, or play tag team and take turns to go outside and watch, great kids menu, beautiful food and the best boutique beer around"
Just 20 minutes drive from the city along State Highway 16.
1171 Coatesville Riverhead Hwy, 
09 412 5555
11am – Midnight 

The Luscious Food Store, Te Atatu Peninsula
"They have a fully fenced 500sqmtr outdoor area with large sandpit and various toys and books,The biggest black board in the country, a change table and high chairs, plenty of room for buggys so long as it is not raining,  A simple but healthy kids menu and of course fluffys."
547 Te Atatu Rd
Te Atatu Peninsula
09 834 8499
Mon-Fri: 7.30am-4pm, Sat:8am-4pm, Sun:8am-3pm

Kohu Road Creamery and Cafe, New Lynn FOODOPERA RECOMMENDS
"They have a caravan in store with toys and DVDs for kids!" 
 By far, one of the best places for a coffee group, or weekend brunch with the kids. Vanessa and I took four year old Jake, three year old Rhys + 2 babies mid week, and we managed 2 hours ! The food, coffee and ice cream is incredible. A++++
Click here for our review
44 Portage Road, 
New Lynn
09 827 9990
Monday to Saturday from 8am to 4:30pm

Humbug cafe, Glen Eden
"Spacious with retro decor – staff always really friendly and theres a great play area for the kids too."
32 Rua Road
Glen Eden
09 827 5124 

Siren Cafe, Titirangi
Outdoor area and sandpit
521 South Titirangi Rd
09 8179790

The Library Cafe, Onehunga
"kids menus, parents bathroom with baby change table, room for buggys, inside play area with books, toys and large blackboard, outside fully fenced play area with spring-free trampoline and climbing equipment plus a bouncy castle in the weekends (weather permitting).  Great for kids birthday parties!"
55 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland.
Mon-Fri 8-5,Sat &Sun 8.30-5

Frolic, Royal Oak (Cornwall Park) 
Top 50 Cafe - 2011 - METRO 
"A very popular café, right across the road from the entrance to Cornwall Park. Dine out the back in the covered deck area with kids toy box and blackboard. A kids menu, plenty of highchairs, bathroom with a change table, kids books and of course magazines for mum and dad all help keep the entire family happy!" "Will keep the under two's happy, however a better idea for the over two's is to grab a takeout coffee and go across the road to the playground in Cornwall Park" "Toy box could do with an upgrade!"
653 Manukau Road
Royal Oak
09 624 4566

Columbus, Mitre 10 Mega, Mt Wellington
Another great cafe is Columbus in Mitre 10 Mega in Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington. I have a wonderful coffee group and we used to meet there on Monday mornings (before most of us went back to work). The staff are so lovely and they make great coffee. There was always plenty of room for our buggies. There is also an indoor playground for toddlers.
72 Lunn Ave,
Mt Wellington
(09) 570 9766

Catroux, Westmere
"New kid on the block and proving to be a very popular stylish cafe with innovative fresh food. Friendly owner, kids menu. Pink lamingtons, plum tarts and scones with the added bonus of a sandpit out back." 
129 West End Rd
09 376 3590 
Mon–Fri: 6.45am–4pm,Sat 7.30am–4pm,Sun 8am–4pm

Mamata Bakehouse, Grey Lynn
"Specialises in bagels, gluten free, wheat free and dairy free food, organic meat pies, organic breads and great $13 pizzas to take home for dinner. Really affordable and a nice homely environment. Popular with mums and bubs and has a toy corner that entertains my 2.5 year old son for quite a bit of time. Always other kids playing there as well."
401 Richmond Road  
Grey Lynn
09 376 3191

One 2 One Cafe, Ponsonby
"Has a sheltered area out back with a sandpit and blackboard. Gets very busy in the weekends but during the week its perfect for preschoolers"
121 Ponsonby Rd
09 376 4954

Bambina, Newmarket and Ponsonby 
"have crayons and colouring in things. Ponsonby has high chairs but Newmarket doesn't. Food and coffee awesome."
25 Teed St,Newmarket, 
09 524 4126

268 Ponsonby Rd
09 360 4000

Rabbit Hole, Jervois Road
"they have a great sandpit out the back (a friend recently told me she and her husband had to tell the kids they were ready to go home!!)"
203 Jervois Rd, 
Herne Bay
09 360 0755 

Auckland Fish Market, Freemans Bay
"Various options for food (sushi, coffee and cafe food from the Market Cafe, or fresh fish and chips, or grab a beer in the afternoon and sit in the large courtyard whilst the kids play in the huge sandpit." Great innovative playground just across the road at Wynyard Quarter too!
22 - 32 Jellicoe Street, 
Freemans Bay,
09 379 1490 

Browns Espresso, Remuera
"have a toy corner, fab coffee, cabinet food....and is a clothes shop. Dangerous combination! I can also get my double buggy in!"
409 Remuera Rd
09 524 5966

Mecca Stonehouse, Mission Bay
"Right on the beach, with an open deck cafe and covered area, plenty of space for children, with an indoor playhouse and plastic swing for under two's, highchairs and room for buggy's" "Great idea is to grab a muffin and a coffee and go to the playground right in front of the cafe or the beach for the over two's" "Very popular with coffee groups"
44 Tamaki Drive
Mission Bay
09 578 1112

Waiheke Island
Wild on Waiheke, Onetangi
"Absolutely awesome for littlies - playground, sandpit, trampoline, heaps of grass to kick a ball around + yummy kids menu. It's on the way to Onetangi beach."
82 Onetangi Road
Waiheke Island
09 372 3434 

Bosco's, Te Kuiti
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
"Play corner and massive fluffies"
57 Te Kumi Rd
Te Kuiti, Waitomo
07-878 3633
Mon – Sat 8am – 5pm Sun 9am – 5pm

Cafe Agora, Hamilton
Mum and Dad, your kids are going to love coming to Café Agora! Agora was designed with them in mind. Our huge playroom, free fluffys and kid-sized menu (and parent-sized budget) make time at Café Agora fun, safe and affordable.
13b Kent Street
Mon – Fri 8.30 - 3.30p.m

Julian's Berry Farm - Whakatane
  • Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
  • Julians Berry Farm and Cafe is a unique New Zealand experience. We have freshly picked, frozen and pick-your-own berries. We have a beautiful outdoor sheltered cafe overlooking our farm and serve delicious home cooked meals and berry baking. There's also a playground and animal farm for children.
     Julians Berry Farm & Cafe 
    12 Huna Road, RD1 
     07 308 4253 
     Open 8am to 6pm daily from October to February

Hawkes Bay / Napier / Havelock North / Hastings
Off The Track, Havelock North
Havelock North's largest all day a la carte menu with over 100 dishes to suit all budgets and tastes. Large outside children's play area. 
114 Havelock Road, Havelock North
06 877 0008

Tuki Kitchen, Havelock North
Playground and grass areas
393 Te Mata Road
Havelock North
Open 7 days: Sun- Wed 8a.m to 4p.m & Thurs-Sat 8a.m to 10p.m

Clearview Winery, Hastings
Playgrounds and grass areas
194 Clifton Road,
Te Awanga
06 875 0150

The Southern Cross, Wellington
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine 
Pop in on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning they dedicate the lovely Guest Room to parents and little ones. This is the perfect space – a large enclosed area with comfy couches (toys, games and coloring activities) and carpet to crawl around on! They also have wonderful Amy on hand – she’ll help to keep your wee one happy while you kick back with a coffee and relax. OMG!!! On Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 10am-12pm they have a professional massage therapist, offering up some relief for all of you hard-working parents! Enjoy a FREE 10 minute back, neck and shoulder massage while our lovely staff member Amy takes your baby off your hands… heaven! Did we mention this is free?!
39 Abel Smith St,
(off Cuba St)
Te Aro
04 384 9085

Benedict's Cafe General Store and Post, Lower Hutt
Playpen to amuse toddlers. Large traditional rocking horse available and ample room in the cafe and store for push chairs. Free parking outside and easy access
141 Dowse Drive
Lower Hutt
04 589 9852
Mon - Sat: 7a.m - 5p.m

The Short Straw Cafe, Upper Hutt
Rural setting, the cafe is made from bales of straw. Great for families with a playground and outside play area, giant blocks for children, inside play area, parents room, ample parking. Pukeko birthdays parties designed especially for kids. 
50 Johnsons Road
Whitemans Valley
Upper Hutt
Wed - Sun 10a.m - 4-5p.m

Janus Bakkerij Lt, Lower Hutt
Kids Menu, Fluffies, High Chairs, Baby Change Table,  Customer Parking, Toy Box & Novelty Children’s Baked Products. Friendly and Helpful Staff.
700 High Street
Lower Hutt
04 577 3326
Monday – Saturday 7.30am - 4.30pm and Sunday 8.30am – 4.30pm

Beach Babylon, Oriental Parade
"Retro beachside cafe with toys, kids lunch and dinner menus which can be coloured in, high chair, free parking for two hours - and friendly staff that really like kids which is always a good thing!" Dine outside or in, byo or fully licensed.
232 Oriental Parade
04 801 7717

The Jester House - Tasman
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
A country garden cafe famous with families and with kids for the tame eels that you can feed. It also has an extensive playful organic garden for the kids to roam.
320 Aporo Road
Tasman 7173
Open 7 days 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed public holidays and August
03 526 6742

North Canterbury
Artisan Cafe - Rangiora
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
In designing Artisan, we were also mindful of the customer who wants the total cafe experience. We managed to incorporate theatre baking, chef zone and cake decorating so people can see behind the scenes. The attention to detail is everywhere with themed seating areas that can accommodate up to 160 customers over two floors. So parent groups can relax and enjoy their coffee, we built a separated play area for children as well as parents changing room, both located on the second floor.
18 High Street
Rangiora 7400
03 311 8633
Open daily: 7a.m - 5.30

Ditto - Parklands Library

Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
Serves great coffee and tasty snacks throughout the day. As well as a dedicated seating area, library customers can enjoy their drinks and food anywhere in the library. Parkland's has a ground-breaking layout that allows the relatively small space to be used for a range of different activities, for different customers, at different times of the day. 'Play' (Mon, Tue 1-3 and Thu, Fri 10-12 noon) is pre-schoolers time, when children and their parents/caregivers can have a great time in a child-friendly environment. There'll be small furniture, music and plenty of space to have some fun.
46 Queenspark Dr
Christchurch 8083
03 383 4774

Beach Cafe - Waimari Beach
Child friendly (kids menu) (and dog friendly! dog menu!!!) Great secure kids area.
Waimari Beach
03 382 8599

The Shearer's Quarters - Timaru
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
Has a tranquil, uncrowded space with a nostalgic country flavour for every season. The cafe uses ingredients just like our grandmothers used  - eggs, cream , butter. They have a fabulous kids menu - are proud to have no deep fryer in the kitchen, create great kids platters for "grazing" as there is so much for the kids to do, that they like to be able to come and go from the table and the playgrounds. The farmyard is very popular complete with Daisy the deer and Alice and Popcorn, the donkeys. Kids parties a speciality!
932 Seadown Road
Temuka 7973
03 615 9043
Open 7 days

Queenstown/ Arrowtown
Walnut Cottage - Arrowtown 
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine
Bring the whole family to Walnut Cottage. There's plenty of room for them to run around, plus a sandpit and play area out back. Snack baskets are always a hit with kids.
265 Lake Hayes Road
Arrowtown 9371
03 442 1090

North Otago

Riverstone Kitchen - Waitaki Plains
Recommended by Little Treasures Magazine and Cuisine Best Casual Dining 2011
Outside has a great children’s play area. It had a large fort, flying fox and everything else to keep your children happy for hours, in a safe environment. 
1431 State Highway 1,
RD 5H, Oamaru
03 431 3505
thurs - mon 9am - 5pm
thurs - sun 6pm - late
closed tues/wed

Compiled by Vanessa and Ingrid Opera

This is in no way a complete list - we need your help. If you know of any great cafes (not average ones that kinda do the job, let us know in the comments below. We will add them to our list and of course check them out not a bad job huh! - also let us know if you think a cafe we have listed needs to up their game, we will let them know! )Check out our review


  1. A child-friendly cafe/restaurant worth mentioning is Wild on Waiheke on Waiheke island near Onetangi. Absolutely awesome for littlies - playground, sandpit, trampoline, heaps of grass to kick a ball around + yummy kids menu. It's on the way to Onetangi beach..

  2. Another great cafe is Columbus in Mitre 10 Mega in Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington. I have a wonderful coffee group and we used to meet there on Monday mornings (before most of us went back to work). The staff are so lovely and they make great coffee. There was always plenty of room for our buggies. There is also an indoor playground for toddlers.

  3. Yes agree about Mitre 10 and also Bunnings - very easy and the kids seem to love it. Mitre 10 Wairau has a bouncy castle my son loves, its right next to the play area and Coulmbus - so suits everyone!

  4. Great new cafe in Belmont, Auckland called Bella Monte. Very kid friendly. All fenced off for kids with a small play area outside and inside- great food and coffee too!!

    Stone oven is in need of an upgrade but my very busy 20 month old son still loves all the toys in there and it is very hard to get him to leave! One of the few places he actually stays in one place! Can get very busy in there so quite full in the small play area in the weekend!