Cream of the crop: New Zealand’s top spots for dairy delights

Blessed with an abundance of top-quality dairy produce, New Zealand knows how to satisfy fans of cream, butter and ice cream.

Blessed with an abundance of top-quality dairy produce, New Zealand knows how to satisfy fans of cream, butter and ice cream.

Thanks to rolling, verdant pastures and top-notch farming practices, New Zealand is never short of premium butter, cream and milk. And this bounty is turned into inventive, delicious, and Instagram-worthy creations all around the country. Take your tastebuds on a journey through New Zealand, one dairy delicacy at a time.

All scream for ice cream

New Zealanders love their ice cream; in fact locals consume more ice cream per capita than anywhere else in the world. And the country does a great line in gourmet ice cream, made in small batches, using premium milk, cream and flavoured with all-natural, seasonal ingredients. Giapo Haute Ice Cream in Auckland is world-famous. Once you select your flavour, it’s adorned with intricate toppings, and if want a photo, and flavour, opportunity that’s hard to beat, go for Giapo's signature selfie cone. 

Forty minutes from Auckland by ferry, one of the many marvellous things about Waiheke Island is visiting Island Gelato and strolling down to Oneroa Beach to enjoy your spoils and choose from over 70 plus flavours. Hamilton’s best kept secret is Duck Island Ice Cream, where flavours include cinnamon smoked apple pie, and in Wanaka, the sumptuous gelato at Black Peak is made to a 70-year-old Italian recipe. If you’re driving through the countryside, keep an eye out for berry farms and fruit orchards, some of which offer ice cream or frozen yoghurt churned with freshly picked produce. Juicy New Zealand Strawberries in Auckland’s “fruit bowl” of Kumeu is a good example.

Shake it up 

The humble milkshake is having a moment under the spotlight and there are plenty of places to enjoy them. In Auckland, Grills & Shakes in Kingsland tempts visitors with a whopping 69 flavours, all made with organic milk and natural syrups. At Fred’s in Ponsonby, if you can’t decide between a cup of tea and a milkshake, there’s an easy answer: order their Earl Grey shake. At the three branches of Burger Burger in Auckland the thickshakes are made with premium Lewis Road Creamery milk and Little Paddock ice cream and are perfect for washing down a burger and fries. 

And it doesn’t get much more decadent than a liquor-laced “hardshake” and Wellington’s Burger Liquor does them beautifully, blending Kapiti Ice Cream, fresh milk and cream with liquor. The Death by Chocolate is a favourite. 

A date with dessert

Sweet tooths needn’t be ashamed of skipping the savoury courses at New Zealand’s specialist dessert restaurants, where multi-course sweet feasts are encouraged and come with matching wines. Milse in Auckland’s Britomart is a beautiful, intimate setting in which to try some creative desserts – their gelato sticks are a sophisticated take on a classic, and they offer dessert and tasting menus. Also in downtown Auckland, Miann, owned by Scottish-born chef Brian Campbell boasts gateaux and buttery shortbread.

Pop into the dairy

Milk, butter and cream are so important to New Zealanders that their version of a corner-store is known as a “dairy”. These stores are dotted all over the place and are great for popping into for supplies. If you spot Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk ( in the refrigerator grab it quickly. This velvety full-cream milk enriched with local Whittaker’s chocolate was launched in 2014 and caused an absolute frenzy – it sells out in a flash. Another very local treat you can buy from dairies and supermarkets is Piako feijoa yoghurt. Feijoa is a subtropical fruit that grows in everyone’s gardens in New Zealand, and its unique tangy flavour marries beautifully with this thick creamy yoghurt. 

Crazy for chocolate 

It’s no surprise that premium dairy makes for excellent chocolate, and there’s plenty of that to be had in New Zealand. At Queenstown’s Patagonia Chocolates (, the pinot noir and cherry truffle is an education in regional flavour, while in nearby Wanaka, Koa craft their chocolate from local cream and manuka honey. Not far from the centre of Christchurch, you might like to book in for a chocolatey high tea complete with views out to Lyttleton Harbour at the one-of-a-kind She Universe.

Imbuing the real tastes of New Zealand’s history, culture, and environment, the Seriously Good Chocolate Company is an Invercargill-based business in the Southland region of New Zealand that make quality handmade gourmet chocolates on site. Also renowned for their succulent hot chocolates, there’s guaranteed to be a treat to suit all palettes.

Just north of Wellington in charming Greytown, Schoc Chocolatiers were pioneers of wondrous filled chocolates and their list of delights is a chocolate-lover's dream come true. At Schoc, and in Auckland’s history-filled seaside suburb of Devonport at Devonport Chocolates, you’ll see the chocolatiers at work behind the counter. 

Head further north from Auckland and you’ll come across Chocolate Brown chocolatier in Warkworth, where the chocolates are all handmade in store and where the adjoining café makes hands-down the most marvellous hot chocolate.