With a shed load of rural settlements and a penchant for a cold pint, it’s no wonder New Zealand does a great line in country pubs.Here’s a thirst-quenching selection of pretty spots to imbibe the amber nectar.
Leigh Sawmill, Northland
Once a stalwart of the local logging industry, this historic sawmill an hour north of Auckland now cuts a sophisticated dash as a pub with a microbrewery and lawn beer garden. Pizza and a citrusy pale ale are a fine way to round off a day snorkelling at nearby Goat Island marine reserve, as is the live music that surfaces during the summer gig season. The Sawmill also offers accommodation.
Hallertau, Riverhead, Auckland region
Riding the craft beer wave that’s washing over New Zealand, Hallertau is brewing exciting ales such as wine-barrel-aged porter and the tongue-twisting hop-bomb, Maximus Humulus Lupulus. Located in West Auckland’s main wine-producing area, the brewbar and restaurant attracts beer aficionados from near and far with tastings, locally grown food, a vine-strewn terrace, DJs and occasional live music.
Te Puka Tavern, Tokomaru Bay, East Cape
One of the most picturesque spots along the Pacific Coast Highway – remote and rich in Maori history – Tokomaru Bay is a broad beach northeast of Gisborne, framed by sweeping cliffs. Te Puka Tavernperches alongside the waterfront, boasting perhaps the most inspiring ocean view of any pub in the land. The pub is the cornerstone of the community, keeping everyone fed and watered. Fish and chips, a beer, and the possibility of bingo? Kei te pai Te Puka Tav! (the Te Puka pub is great!)
Whangamomona Hotel, Whangamomona, Taranaki
About halfway along the Forgotten World Highway – a serpentine 155km road through hilly Taranaki bush country west of Lake Taupo – you’ll come across Whangamomona, famous for declaring itself an independent republic after a spat with the local council. Despite an itsy-bitsy population of around 30, the town retains its honourable position on the country-pub map courtesy of Whangamonoma Hotel, a grand old establishment offering generous home-cooked meals, simple accommodation and a place to tie up your horse.