Kiwis are said to be among – if not the – biggest ice cream eaters in the world, with each of us packing away an estimated 22 to 23 litres a year. So it’s little wonder many of us consider ourselves experts on the subject.

Stuff Travel’s recent article on where to find the best ice creams in New Zealand prompted a flurry of alternative suggestions from readers, a selection of which we have presented here. It seems pretty fair to say that wherever you wander in Aotearoa this summer, you won’t have to go far for quality ice cream.

Darfield Dairy, Darfield

This rural Canterbury dairy has developed a reputation for serving scoops of ice cream about twice the size of those offered at most dairies. Up to 600 customers a month pour into the store on summer afternoons for owner Errol Barnes’ supersized cones and ultra-thick milkshakes.

One reader said they knew of no other ice cream vendor in the country offering better value for money, while another said the challenge of eating a whole one had beaten them a number of times. Even those who ramraided the dairy, located on Darfield’s main drag, about 48km west of Christchurch, last May couldn’t resist the ice creams, with Barnes telling Stuff at the time that all the took were “ice creams and a donation box”.

Island Gelato, Auckland

The Pics Peanut Butter Caramel gelato with toffee Brittle is “hands down one of the best” ice creams in the country, one reader claimed. They’re not alone in thinking so – the gelato won gold in the 2022 and 2023 NZ Ice Cream and Gelato Awards.

Founded on Waiheke Island in 2014, Island Gelato offers more than 70 flavours across its five Auckland stores – in Mission Bay, Newmarket, Ponsonby, Waiheke’s Oneroa and the Ferry Building in the CBD. Made in-store daily, other award-winning flavours include dulce de leche, rich chocolate, tamarillo, rhubarb, grapefruit gin and yuzu, feijoa coconut swirl, and espresso martini.

Mount Made, Mount Maunganui

If this downtown Mount store has a signature ice cream it would have to be the black hokey pokey flavour created for the Rugby World Cup. Run by local couple Deb and Glenn Stubbs, the couple specialise in creative, seasonally inspired flavour combos, often using fruit grown in friends’, family members’ and neighbours’ gardens.

Lick This, Napier

Located along Marine Parade, this long-running family-owned store typically has more than 40 flavours of ice cream, gelato, sorbet and ice-blocks to choose from.

Made on-site using their own recipes, flavours include the Kiwi as Moro Bar-inspired More Oh, pineapple lump, chocolate fish, feijoa, and hokey pokey. One reader highly recommended the liquorice ice cream. Try them in a standard or waffle cone, or with house-made Belgian-style waffles.

Duck Island, Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington

Starting out in an old underwear factory in 2015, these Hamilton-based ice cream makers have a Willy Wonka-like talent for creative sweet treats.

From flavours inspired by childhood favourites such as fairy bread, toasted marshmallows and chocolate chip cookie dough to the sophisticated-sounding coconut sticky rice and mango curd, there’s bound to be something to suit. One reader reckons the place is “simply the best”.

Bocky Boo Gelato, Whangarei and Rangiora

With imaginative flavours such as ‘The Grinch’ (sour apple with sherbet fizz) and ‘Sour Hubba Bubba’, inspired by the popular chewing gum, along with old favourites such as rum n raison, boysenberry and cookies n cream, Bocky Boo is a crowd pleaser.

If you like the idea of pavlova, tiramisu or cheesecake in gelato form, this is your place, while other popular flavours include coconut salted caramel, and raspberry choc tip.

Pacific Coast Macadamias, Whanarua Bay

Nestled between the Raukūmara Ranges and the sea, this hidden East Cape gem sells ice cream made with nuts grown on its small plantation. One reader said they were the best he’d ever eaten. Located along SH35, one of New Zealand’s best summer road trip routes, Pacific Coast Macadamias makes for a perfect pit stop – grab an ice cream to enjoy at the pretty beach across the road.

Motueka Creamery, Motueka

Aiming to create ice creams which reflect the essence of their little slice of Nelson Tasman paradise, Motueka Creamery turn out flavours such as Kaiteriteri Daybreak Peach and Yuzu, Moutere Fields Strawberry and Cream Meringue, Bark Bay Belgian Chocolate, and Mt Arthur Snowfall Vanilla.

Kaffee Eis, Wellington

These Wellington gelato wizards have picked up multiple awards for their Italian-style confections, which include a frozen version of Ferrero Rocher chocolate (Bon Bon Rocher), biscotti (a fancier version of cookies ‘n cream) and the yoghurt-based “Indian Summer” lightly spiced with cardamom, ginger and turmeric. Find them in Cuba Street, Courtney Place and the TSB Bank Arena.

Iona Dairy, New Plymouth

Renowned for its supersized scoops, this New Plymouth dairy has “been keeping generations of Naki boys and girls happy since ages ago,” one reader said.

Even as the cost of living has risen, Iona’s prices have remained consistent – Stuff tester Stephanie Ockhuysen reckons they offer “almost too much bag for your buck”, with adult-sized kiddie cones costing $3, singles $4, doubles $5, triples $6, and quadruples $7.

Iona ice creams are about quality as well as quality though. Ockhuysen determined “there was no denying the deliciousness of the flavours”.

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