Score The Inside Scoop On New Zealand’s Best Ice Cream And Gelato Spots

Two ice creams in holder at Utopia Ice, Christchurch.

Licking back an ice cream on a sweltering hot day is a Kiwi pastime we all know and love. As far as summer favourites go, it's up there with long balmy nights, beach days and sausage sizzles. Whether your vice is hokey pokey, mint choc chip or cookies and cream, the list goes on. 

So it's only fair we save you the hassle of scouting out the best spots to pick up a scoop (or three) when the temperature rises. From North to South, these are the best ice cream and gelato shops in New Zealand.

Because ice cream is categorically the best thing about summer.


Charlie's Gelato + Giapo + Island Gelato Company


There are few better things than trekking up to the Matakana farmers market and indulging in a cone from Charlie's Gelato. Take a seat in the cosy garden setting and order up some small-batch gelato and sorbet. Pair this with one of their classic Italian wood-fired pizzas for the ultimate summer moment.  

But if you're after somewhere more central head to Giapo. Giapo's motto says it all—’normal ice cream is boring.' You can't really call Giapo a typical gelato shop; it's more like an immersive foodie experience. Bringing together art and flavour, you'll need both hands to handle this one. While the flavours are seriously tasty, the presentation takes the cake. Expect eye-catching creations like a doughnut-topped cone, a squid shaped with chocolate or even selfie-themed ice cream.  

And finally, from humble beginnings on Waiheke Island, Island Gelato Company have made their mark on the local gelato scene. With more than 70 chef-inspired flavours available at their four locations, there's sure to be something that tickles your tastebuds. Packed with the good stuff; locally picked fruit, and premium natural ingredients, this is the place to smash back a triple scoop.


Little Liberty Creamery

Inglewood, Taranaki

Heroing natural ingredients are at the heart of what plant-based spot Little Liberty Creamery do. They're all about making ice cream more accessible for people with food intolerances so that everyone can enjoy a scoop on a hot day. The signature base of cashew nuts, cacao butter and coconut milk makes for a decadently creamy treat that suits dairy, gluten, soy and egg-free diets.


Kaffee Eis + Zelati


Kaffee Eis has been dishing up delicious treats since 2004, so it's safe to say they know a thing or two when it comes to gelato. 'Kaffee Eis' means coffee and ice cream in German, so you can indulge in both at the Wellington locations. And as they say, you can't beat Welly on a good day—especially with a serving of gelato in hand. 


Another top choice in the capital is Zelati. From stacked waffles to vegan cookies to Spanish-style hot chocolate and, of course, gelato, Zelati is where the locals get their sweet fix. Their goods are crafted close by at their Tawa freezeria and offer a slew of tempting flavours. Lick your lips and dive into gluten-free chocolate fondant, Fix & Fogg peanut butter and their award-winning tangy Passionatta.

Nelson Tasman

Hand holding a real fruit ice cream.

TOAD Hall Café

Motueka, Tasman

If you find yourself in Motueka, it's a no-brainer to check out the charming TOAD Hall Café. Pull up a seat in one of their many outdoor nooks and while away the afternoon with ease. Plus, their vegan real fruit ice creams are a cut above the rest, made with smooth coconut ice cream and fresh fruit.


Utopia Ice + Rollickin' Gelato + Gelato Lab


Refresh your palate with Utopia Ice's imaginative take on ice cream flavours. This ain't your average French vanilla—get among the likes of white chocolate and olive oil, Vietnamese coffee or sea salt caramel, cashew and popcorn. With classic and vegan options galore, you can't go wrong. 

Situated along both the beloved New Regent Street and Cashel Street, Rollickin' Gelato delivers an extra burst of vibrance to this colourful 'hood. Handcrafted fresh each morning for lucky punters, you'll dig into a flavour-filled menu sporting gelato, dairy-free and sorbet options. Grab yourself a choc waffle cone and consider your sweet tooth sorted. 

Transport yourself to Italy with authentic gelato spun up by the legends over at Gelato Lab in Opawa. Slathered into your cone or cup with a traditional spatula, you'll be enticed by the science meets creativity theme. Add in a drop of seasonal flavours, and you've got yourself a winner. 


Black Peak Gelato


Your biggest problem when heading to Black Peak Gelato will be deciding which flavours to choose. Luckily, their gelato is designed to pair well with other scoops, so you have every excuse to order up an extra-large cone. Here, the magic is in the making. The recipe comes from a tried and tested method passed down to owner Jon by an Italian friend. Long story short, you know it's the real deal.


Rob Roy Dairy + Patti's & Cream


For a real hit of Kiwi nostalgia, make a beeline for Dunedin institution Rob Roy Dairy. You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the classics. Think soft-serve bedazzled with hundreds and thousands, or Tip Top cones stacked high with scoops. And if that's not enough, they also dish up real fruit ice cream. What don't these guys do?

Be sure to try Patti's & Cream. What started out as a humble food truck bringing together the best of both worlds - burgers and ice cream - Patti's & Cream now have a dedicated Scoop Shop. They do small-batch ice cream at its finest, with everything (even the waffle cones) handcrafted to perfection. With specialty and seasonal flavours on rotation, drop by to scope out the latest treat on offer or take a pint of ice-cream home for later.  


Appleby Farms + Duck Island + Little Lato

Various locations

You know it's going to be a good day when you spot Appleby Farms on the shelf at your local grocer or café. These colourful flavours embody the sunny vibes of their Nelson origins, backed up by the richness of A2 milk. With flavours ranging from berry delights to a spicy take on Hakanoa ginger syrup, it's the definition of Kiwi summer in a pint.

There's a reason Duck Island always springs to mind when thinking of New Zealand's best ice cream. It might have something to do with the iconic millennial-pink interiors or the quirky flavour line-up. Thankfully, those in the North Island have easy access to their shops in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. But don't despair, if you're further afield you can grab a tub at supermarkets across the country. Because the truth is, you need to try Fairy Bread ice cream at least once in your life.  

And finally, they say good things come in small packages. Little Lato is a true testament to this. As a boutique gelato company, they source the best ingredients, dream up whimsical new flavours and craft your scoop with care. You can pick up a pint online, at Farro or hit up one of their shops across the North Island.