A summer holiday in Aotearoa is not complete without a few key elements - dad's terrible music on the long road trip, piping hot sun and sand burning your skin, and of course, delicious food on the road.
Whether it's fish and chips on the beach, ice cream dripping into the back seat or that one cafe in the village that does really good coffee - food is a crucial element of any getaway. This can lead to a certain protective pride over the hidden gems our families have been frequenting for years - or that hot-weather hotspot which attracts lines around the block.
I put the word out on social media asking friends and followers for their absolute favourite must-stop food spot, and boy did they deliver in spades. Here is a list of the most suggested options from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, whether you're wanting a quick stop-and-grab on the go or a palace to sit and lazily watch the world go by.
"Mangonui fish shop is a legendary fish and chips shop - maybe the best in the whole North Island. And Cafe Eutopia is an absolute must-stop on the way up north. It's an eccentric mosaic wonderland" - Mon
"Waitak Country Store en route to Tauranga and the Coromandel does bomb real fruit ice cream" - Matt
"Ice cream from the Kuaotunu store in the Coromandel - it's called the 'Kuaotunu killer cone' and I'm pretty sure it's the biggest ice cream in NZ - five scoops!" - Sophie. Editor's note: There were several suggestions for this store.
"Colenso Cafe in the Coromandel - in my opinion, one of the very best in the peninsula" - Emily
"Waihi Beach Bakery - they have the best everything but the Thai chicken-noodle rice paper rolls are outrageous. And the Portuguese tarts. And Waihi Beach Secret Garden Cafe is super rad and they make a great green smoothie and raw treats for the healthier side" - Kelsey
"Ohiwa Oyster Farm in Ohope is great. It's a fish and chip shop that has fresh oysters and you sit on the side of the harbour and eat" - Mark
"The Piopio orchard has literally the best berries in the world and the best ice creams as well. Hands down cannot be beaten. It's right on the state highway from Hamilton to New Plymouth too, so there are no excuses" - Erin
"There is a little shop with handmade chocolate in Takaka and the chocolate is just wow" - Jelka
"Fairlie Bakehouse for pies while driving from Chrsitcrhuch to Wanaka or Queenstown. Those pies are out of this world" - Alex
"There is this random real fruit ice cream store on the drive from Christchurch to Dunedin. I haven't had it for years but think about it a freakish amount" - Bri
"I liked Fleurs Place on the way to Dunedin, there were seals outside" - Rebecca