Tutukaka Foodie Weekend Itinerary


Tutukaka is home to some of the best beaches in the country. Combine this with  a niche local food scene and tranquil landscape and you’ve got the recipe for a weekend of indulgence.

Kaimoana (seafood) is the local speciality, and whether you’ve caught your own or prefer a spot of fine-dining, you’ll find what you need within close proximity of Lodge 9 and the Tutukaka Marina. Here’s our favourite spots for a weekend of eating:

Day 1 – Seafood and Sundowners

Tutukaka is the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, where underwater caves, arches, tunnels and sheer cliffs provide the perfect habitat for a variety of marine species. Start your day with a dive or snorkelling trip with Dive! Tutukaka. Trips are available to suit all confidence levels.

Afterwards, fill your tank with a meal at Schnappa Rock Restaurant and Bar located in Tutukaka Marina. The restaurant is proud to support the Forest and Bird Good Fish Guide with their fish being fresh and line caught, ensuring they play their part in a sustainable fishery. As kiwis, we love our seafood and can really taste the difference between a fish that was caught that morning, and something that’s been delivered frozen from Sanfords. Schnappa Rock passes the test for fresh! Moreso, they’ll often have live bands in the weekend, creating a great vibe for the long summer nights.

For those into wine, Sailfish Cove Winery offers a humble setting for sundowners. The vineyard sits atop a hill overlooking the world famous Poor Knights Islands, but it’s a boutique operation that skips the pomp of more well-known vineyards. It was started in the garage of Gay Corkin and Harvie Ferguson and on arrival you’ll most likely be greeted by Shelby – the friendly vineyard dog. Let the team show you around, barefoot in true kiwi style before sampling fine vintages that have limited distribution throughout Tutukaka and Whangarei.

Dive at Tutukaka, Northland


Day 2 – Explore the Cheap and Cheerful

Start your morning exploring one of the many walking trails around Tutukaka. The Lighthouse Walkway is a mellow option for those with only an hour to spare, located 600m north past Marina Rd.

Follow the grassy track across the headland planted with natives by the local schoolchildren. Descend the stony steps down to a small beach where a trail of old power poles will lead you across to Kukutauwhao Island – best crossed at low tide. Then tackle the final climb to the lighthouse, where panoramic views will be the reward for your efforts

Five minutes further south is the village of Ngunguru – where the highway from Whangarei meets the sea. Work up your appetite on either the Ngunguru Mangrove Walkway, or the estuary walkway between Te Maika Road and Whangaumu Bay, before lunch at Salt Air Café. Salt Air Café will lure you in with the aroma of fresh baking and hot coffee. They’ve got a great outdoor garden space, and the menu is packed with the flavours of Aotearoa. Be sure to try the steak and oyster pies.

Occasionally in the summer there’s a little market out front too, selling everything from plants to locally crafted soft-toys and knits. Afterwards, enjoy a swim in the estuary across the road, or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront to work off your meal.

For those that have been lucky enough to go fishing during the weekend, take your catch to the Ngunguru Takeaways where they’ll cook your catch for $1.50 a fillet. Northland region is famed for its “fritter culture” so be sure to order a mussel fritter while you’re there.


Events Worth Travelling For

If you’re around in March check out the Fritter Festival – a world-class wine, food and music festival showcasing the best of Northland’s fritter culture. Indulge in a day dedicated to the not-so-humble fritter: from generational whanau recipes to exotic deep fried concoctions, this is a true gourmand’s delight.

In the summer months from October to March you can enjoy the Tutukaka Twilight Market on Saturday nights. Located at the Northern end of the Tutukaka Green, this twilight summer market features Northland artists, artisans, musicians, service providers and curators.

Getting Here

Tutukaka is about two and a half hour’s drive north of Auckland, roadworks notwithstanding. Be sure to stop at Puhoi Valley Cafe and Cheese Store, 30 minutes into the drive, as well as the Matakana Village Farmer’s Market.

Come stay with us

  • We spent two nights at Lodge 9 and it was an absolutely beautiful place to stay after diving in the Poor Knights Marine Reserve. The Lodge is gorgeous, trendy, eco friendly, and such a great space to relax with friends.

    Rach S - TripAdvisor

  • Kate was a warm and welcoming host. The Lodge9 is a fabulous place modern, spacious beautifully decorated. Such a pleasure to have stayed there, fabulous pool and outdoor setup too.

    Melissa I - TripAdvisor

  • This place is just wonderful! The room and living area were beautifully set out and had an amazing aesthetic...The outdoor area and pool were amazing. I had organized to propose to my now-fiance while I was there and the whole team were fully supportive and helped me with organising everything.

    Billy C - TripAdvisor


Eggy muffins, keto and delicious.
Power house start to a relaxed day in Tūtūkākā.
This way……
Nothing like a Tutukaka sunrise.
Back for breakfast and your day starts in a whole new way. ☀️Another local beach to make your heart go mmmmmmmm
Overnight oats. Gluten free and dairy free energy goodness.
Chill tropical vibe.
It’s how we roll. 🧡 
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Happy Easter!! 🐇🐇
Tūtūkākā is the perfect base to explore the North. 
Start your day with healthy goodness and energy.
Fresh from the oven.