An innovative new business on State Highway 1 north of Whangārei is helping travellers keep their cool.

While traffic has been heavy along the main north route, no one seems to mind being in one queue - at an icecream shop operating out of refrigerated shipping container at Whakapara.

Andrew Walker, owner of vegetarian and vegan cafe Gopals Whangārei, and his wife Marija Walker started the summer trial business two weeks ago.

''There are a lot of tourists coming in. Every day custom has been steady, but weekends are busier,'' Walker said. ''It's definitely been worth it.''


The business is also well placed for traffic taking the turn-off to Oakura and the coastal route to Russell.

Walker hopes to keep Gopals Icecream running until April, and opening up again in October.

Although the icecream business will share the same Gopals name, it is a separate operation to the cafe.

At present, Walker sells only the Tip Top brand but he is considering adding to the range with his own icecream next summer. That news will please Whangārei cafe customers who already enjoy his avocado icecream.

The container is parked on a property the Walkers own with plenty of off-road parking, about 100m north of the Oakura turnoff.