I had a brilliant 3-week holiday in New Zealand and Australia with my girlfriend recently. I thought I’d list some of the decent coffee shops we visited, similarly to how I’ve done it before with New York and Zagreb. This is far from comprehensive; we only went to a few cities, and didn’t try specifically to seek out the best cafés, they were more just those we came across in our wanderings. In summary I was very impressed with the quality of coffee shops in both New Zealand and Australia.
We were briefly in Auckland, then the rest of the time in the South Island, including a couple of visits to Christchurch.
1 Wellesley Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010 (map)
A quirky little place with lots of things to keep you distracted in the cafe, like books, board games and an arcade machine, making it a fun place to hang out. But the important thing is the coffee, which was good.
42 Douglas Street, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011 (map)
Slightly off the main Ponsonby Road, down what is otherwise mostly a residential street, tucked away in a small light industrial unit. It’s worth discovering though; it’s a decent size inside with plenty of seating areas. A huge collection of National Geographics provides some colour in keeping with their yellow theme.
25 New Regent Street, Christchurch (map)
Crafted Coffee Company
Re:Start Container Mall, Cashel Street, Christchurch (map)
In the centre of Christchurch, following the devastating earthquake of 2011, they’ve constructed a pop-up space of shops and cafes made from shipping containers, ‘Re:Start‘, very similar to the Boxpark in Shoreditch, London. In one of those units is Crafted Coffee, in a two-storey affair (although the upper area was closed when we were there). It’s a decent little cafe, and I thought they displayed good customer service.
Robert Harris, Christchurch
YMCA Building, 12 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013 (map)
In the ground floor of the YMCA youth hostel is a decent sized Robert Harris cafe, doing reasonable coffees and teas and food. Not quite pure artisan coffee, but a step up from global chains like Starbucks.
225 High Street, Christchurch (map)
The original Vespa Bar got destroyed in the earthquake, but has been able to re-open in a new building nearby to their original location. It was more of a bar than a coffee shop, but the food and coffee we had was perfectly fine.
23 Beach Street, Queenstown 9197 (map)
In Queenstown there are two Vudu’s, presumably reasonably similar… don’t confuse this Vudu Cafe with Vudu Cafe & Larder round the corner! We only went to this one, twice. The coffees were good, and the food was beautifully presented yumminess. It was quite popular and busy, although there was a semi-covered side-area which didn’t seem to get so crowded.
Post Office Cafe
19 Ballarat Street, Queenstown 9348 (map)
Relishes cafe, Wanaka
1/99 Ardmore Street, Wanaka 9305 (map)
There seemed to be several decent looking places along the lakeside in Wanaka; we just chanced on this one. I had a delicious ‘free range pulled pork shoulder in a Turkish bun with apple slaw‘. Never heard of Turkish bun before, but it just turned out to be a big soft roll, I think with some herbs and spices.
Cafe Mondo, Arrowtown
4/14 Buckingham Street, Arrowtown 9196 (map)
Arrowtown is an interesting little place near Queenstown where the town centre looks like something from the Wild West, having been an old gold mining settlement. Not sure how much of that is genuinely old and how much is retro-fitted. Cafe Mondo looked like about the best spot for coffee. Friendly service.
We were in Melbourne for a few days, but less than 48 hours in Sydney.
89A Swan Street, Richmond VIC 3121 (map)
Melbourne as a whole is full of good coffee shops, although there didn’t seem to be that many around this area; I recall walking down Swan Street looking for anywhere decent, then finding Cheeky Monkey and opposite it was Book Talk Cafe (a ‘cafebreria‘) which also looked good.
Sacred Alley espresso bar
12 Equitable Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000 (map)
Stall 105, 163 Commercial Road, Prahran, Victoria 3181 (map)
Prahran has a large indoor market full of fresh meat, fish, fruit + veg stalls. Towards the back is this little coffee stand, with an impressive selection of beans available for purchase. Quite busy, at least at the weekend, but good coffee.
Market Lane is another coffee shop in the Prahran Market that looks very good.
538 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, Victoria (map)
157 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065 (map)
This was in the Fitzroy area, towards the southern end of Brunswick Street. They had an open fire in the back, a sort of long narrow affair with different seating areas. I had some ‘baked eggs in spicy napoli sauce with chorizo & feta’ which was quite nice, and the coffees were very good. It was indeed nice inside.
Miss Frank cafe
200 Through Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124 (map)
This coffee shop was out in Camberwell, luckily quite close to where we were staying. It’s a good size inside, with friendly service. Nice food, good coffees, much better than I would expect to typically find out in the suburbs.
297 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 (map)
Based in the ground floor of department store David Jones. They seemed to know what they were doing.
Ground Control cafe
Alfred Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 (map)
Social Brew cafe, Sydney
Harris Street, Pyrmont, NSW 2009 (map)
This coffee shop is near the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont (which is worth a visit). We went there on a Saturday lunch time, and it was very busy with people enjoying brunch, but we were only having coffees, which were good.
4/266 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026 (map)
On a wet and windy day we took refuge here at the far end of Bondi Beach. There were about three cafes here all grouped together. The coffee was ok, and I had a delicious ‘Mediterranean Eggs‘ (poached eggs, lime-infused zatar, feta, pine nuts, Israeli salad with sourdough).