Ruakaka is a small township approximately 30 kilometres south of Whangarei, on New Zealand’s North Island.

The area of Ruakaka is located in Bream Bay and it is said that Captain Cook named the bay during his first voyage to New Zealand in November 1769, when the crew easily captured 90-100 bream fish soon after anchoring in the bay.

Calm before the storm (Cyclone Pam)The bay has beautiful, white sand beaches that look out over the sea towards Bream Head, the Hen & Chicken islands and Sail Rock.

Ruakaka is a combination of the two words rua and kaka; rua is a Maori word for “two” and kaka is a native parrot. So a direct translation into English would probably be something like “the place of two parrots”.

IMG_5579.JPGThere’s plenty to explore and see around Ruakaka and lots of spce for long walks on the beach. We’d been told that Pizza Barn in Waipu was a great place for awesome pizza but, unfortunately, when we arrived at Pizza Barn, they were really busy and there was a 10 – 20 minute wait before takeaway orders would be taken, so we chose to go somewhere else and try Pizza Barn on another night.

We’d driven passed a café earlier in the day, so we headed back to The Cove Café in Waipu Cove. It has a nice location, right across the road from the beach parking lot. The clear roller blinds on the outdoor seating area provide some protection is the wind picks up or if weather gets bad, without blocking the view.

The Cove Café is a family run business with locally made food, really friendly staff and great atmosphere. Hubby had their Bangers & garlic mash, while I had the Gnocchi with mushrooms, asparagus, roasted tomatoes and pesto. The food was really good!

IMG_5595.JPGThe next day we headed back to Pizza Barn in Waipu for lunch and now understand why it was so full last night. The restaurant and takeaway is situated in a gorgeous, old building with a solid wood interior that gives this place a very unique atmosphere. There is ample indoor and outdoor seating, as well as cozy nooks surrounding the bar that have taller tables with “bar-style” seating (small rectangular tables with bar stools).

Well, it was definitely worth the wait! The pizza was awesome and well worth the (expensive) price of $27. The thin base was loaded with lots of topping and it had a definite smokey, wood-fired pizza oven taste.

If you’re in Ruakaka or Waipu for a short time and want to experience Pizza Barn in Waipu, I do recommend booking a table in advance to avoid disappointment.