1. Giapo Haute Icecream
It's nothing like your traditional Kiwi icecream experience. The work chef Gianpaolo Grazioli does at this Auckland establishment is next level. A hardworking team does its best to make the hordes happy at this heaving Queen St outlet. Flavours are made fresh daily, mostly from organic local ingredients. You can guarantee they will always be innovative and sometimes surprising. Pick your sweet treat, jazz it up with an array of edible garnishes and get stuck in.
• Giapo Haute Ice cream, 267-287 Queen St, Auckland
2. Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store
Head chef Jo Pearson says the Takapuna Beach Cafe was one of the first boutiques churning its own gelato when it launched six years ago. It has been awarded the supreme title for boutique manufacturers three times and this year took home gold and silver at the NZ Icecream Awards. Pearson says the company works with farms in Waihi and Ohaupo, sources its lemons from Waihi and makes its own curds. Do the coastal walk from Milford and treat yourself to a salted caramel cone at the end.
• 22 The Promenade, Takapuna
3. Rush Munro's Icecream Gardens
New Zealand's oldest icecream parlour, Rush Munro's, is set in cute gardens in Hastings. This year it took out the supreme award for boutique manufacturer in the NZ Icecream Awards - wowing the judges with its maple walnut icecream. It has an array of natural fruity flavours on offer, as well as some superb Manuka honey and classic vanilla, mostly made from Hawke's Bay ingredients. Well worth a visit if you're in the area.
• 704 Heretaunga St West, Hastings
4. Copenhagen Cones
This parlour at The Mount is popular one with beachgoers, seen bursting sandy-footed out the doors of this iconic spot all summer. These guys have been known to roll out a colossal 101,000 cones (or more) each year, making it one of the top 10 places in the country to get a scoop. Things were getting so busy they were forced to unlist their number so the phone would stop ringing. They've been operating for 30 years so get in the queue that snakes out the door - it's worth it.
• 14 Adams Ave, Mt Maunganui
Head 30 minutes south of Auckland and take the Pokeno off-ramp to double icecream bliss. There are two stores - right next-door to each other - selling scrumptious icecream, as well as other food-on-the-go. The two shops are just as popular as each other, so take your pick. Come with an empty stomach, or icecream-loving friends, though. One of them, Pokeno Takeaways, sells 15-scoop monster cones for $18. Most people opt for more manageable version.
• Pokeno Takeaways, 57 Great South Rd, Pokeno.