An Australian visitor to New Zealand recently told us she was very impressed with the high standard of hospitality service here. This was echoed soon after by another international traveller. It’s great that we’re doing so well, and we realised that it’s easy to take our welcoming Kiwi service for granted!
In Nelson region we have loads of friendly cafés that cater for families, and some are even national award winners. Check out our top picks and try them for yourself…
TOAD Hall won a prize for the most kid-friendly café in New Zealand (2012). We think it’s just as adult-friendly, and since its award it’s only gotten better. The food is made from top-quality ingredients, and is healthy and delicious with a great range to choose from. There are plenty of options for those with dietary requirements and for kids – including those divine real fruit ice creams we’ve already mentioned!
With lots of room to run around, a great playground and the recent addition of the Townshend top-end brewery on site (plus lots of summer evening entertainment), everyone is catered for at the TOAD.
Eels and meals – what’s not to love about Jester House? On the Coastal Highway between Richmond and Motueka, Jester House was voted best café in New Zealand (2013). And like TOAD Hall, they haven’t coasted since their award, either.
The stream, tame eels to feed, intriguing grounds, giant chess set, one of New Zealand’s most unique (and fun) playgrounds and their delicious food mean you and the kids can make an afternoon of it. Explore the grounds, relax in the shade and relish the food and the company of the eels! Did you know longfin eels are endangered, and swim all the way to Tonga to breed? Respect!
Riverside Community is the café’s setting, which features another neat kids’ playground, tiny stream running through the café grounds, fishpond (ask for some food to feed them) and a stunning succulent and cactus house, gated for the safety of little ones. There’s an art gallery next door featuring sculptural works by Ché Vincent (who landscaped the café, which also features his enchanting bonsai).
The café is family run, the food is fresh, locally sourced where possible and totally mouthwatering, and kids will find some yummy options. At over 70, Riverside is New Zealand’s (and some say the world’s) oldest intentional community, built on principles of pacifism. You can also buy their farm gate milk next to the café.
Right near Nelson’s famous beach, the café’s outdoor seating borders on the playground, where the kids can frolic once they’ve finished their food. And grownups can sip a leisurely coffee while the kids ride and slide on the equipment.
Then you can all wander the short boardwalk to the beach, or try one of the other activities available in Tahunanui – from the hydroslide to the skating rink…and many more!
Animal Farm – Upper Moutere
We know they’re biased, but our goats think Animal Farm has the most kid-friendly café around! Just watch the baby goats race to get hand-fed from their bottles. If you’re hungry too (and milk, hay, veges and pellets aren’t quite what you had in mind), then have a snack, drink or coffee yourself from our food cart for humans. Or, you’re welcome to bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy on the grass or under our shade sail.
Mix ’em up!
Experience our gorgeous region’s friendly hospitality by combining a trip to one of Nelson’s kid-friendly cafés with a visit to Animal Farm.
Help bottle-feed our kid goats at 11am and 3pm, then visit the rest of our rare breeds and petting zoo, sandpit and stream-dipping for native freshwater species. We have about 30 different types of animals at the farm who look forward to greeting you!