Treat mum, pamper her and show her how special she is, writes Anna King Shahab
This Mother's Day, whether you're treating your mum, the mother of your children, patting yourself on the back for doing the mum thing, or perhaps seeking a treat to perk you up on a day that gives rise to some heavy emotions, there are plenty of deliciously fitting culinary experiences up and down the country.
Dunedin's Larnach Castle is a classic spot for afternoon tea, and next Sunday it's hosting a special package, with tea in the ballroom, entry to the castle, a glass of bubbles, and live music from The Harbour Tones. Treat the family to the city's best icecream at Patti's and Cream Scoop Shop and let the little ones burn some energy at Mornington Playground. A set lunch at tītī is a beautiful way to treat yourself – such elegant, in-touch-with-nature cuisine in the bright and airy dining room overlooking St Clare – follow it up with a rejuvenating stroll on the beach ... ocean air works wonders.
If you're in Queenstown, you may as well make the most of it with Pavlova on a Peak – Over The Top's helicopter ride across Lake Wakatipu and up to Cecil Peak, where you'll enjoy your pav (or pie, if you prefer savoury) with drinks and a knockout view. Or stay on terra firma but still get a view with high tea at Eichardt's on the lakefront. Over in Wānaka, get an eyeful of the lake and taste wines made at a boutique family vineyard at Maude.
If a mooch around a market is your thing (as it is mine) head to Christchurch's Riverside Market – being undercover means you don't need a rain plan. Book into Midnight Shanghai there, where you can choose from yum cha or high tea. An easy hour's drive from the city, escape to North Canterbury wine country for the day – plenty of cellar doors are open Sundays, including Greystone, Terrace Edge, and The Bone Line, and Black Estate, where booking in for lunch is a wise idea.
Reefton's Little Biddy runs distillery tours at 4pm each day followed by a gin tasting – a good way to get a feel for your favourite from their lineup of gins made using local native botanicals, which means you can start a new tradition of Little Biddy G&Ts each Mother's Day (nothing ruinous about that).
Popular Nelson wine bar Arden is putting on a special "feed me" menu, accompanied by brunch-friendly cocktails. Take mum for a Sunday roast in the Moutere Hills, at winery restaurant Forsters. Styx is shouting mums a glass of bubbles or a coffee on arrival for bookings, and owner Dana Hanson (who'll be enjoying her first Mother's Day as a mum this year) reckons their warm antipasto platter is just the ticket for a nice casual celebration.
The capital city has the event to make any Bridgerton fan swoon: high tea, served 1 o'clock sharp at The Library on Courtenay Place – as much tea as one can imbibe and there's a cocktail option, too. Or here's one for the non-conformists: Double Vision Brewery present a special event – a guided tasting of their beers matched with classic Kiwi baking by Home Baked (they held this same gig last Father's Day).
Literary types are well catered for in Wairarapa. At Tarureka Estate, Palliser Estate presents Rajorshi Chakraborti moderating a discussion between esteemed writers including Nicky Pellegrino and Rose Lu, while guests enjoy a "butter-rich homebaked afternoon tea". And Mrs Blackwell's Village Bookshop in Greytown has several hour-long slots in which you can book the whole place for mum (or for yourself). Not only an hour of lounging in a comfy armchair by a fire, surrounded by books, but also proprietor Mrs Blackwell herself on hand to serve your preferred refreshments, and – if you like, offer conversation.
Escape the occasion at Cape Kidnappers, which is offering a Lap of Luxury special until the end of the month. The accommodation package includes lunch, pre-dinner drinks and canapes, tasting menu or a la carte dinner, and breakfast daily. Stays of two nights or more earn a bonus chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
Tauranga's Trinity Wharf three-tiered high tea with T2 tea is hugely popular and great value – $30 and just another $9 to add a glass of bubbles – plus they're doing two-for-one glasses of prosecco on Friday to Sunday. Leveret Estate is offering complimentary wine tastings for mums over that weekend. Pizzaroma is a Mount Maunganui must-do, and chef Marco Fabrin's menu has a pizza dedicated to his mother, Bella Susy, and one to his grandmother, Nonna Teresa. Afterwards, don't miss the tiramisu. in the Waikato, Hamilton's gorgeous Gothenburg is opening especially for the occasion.
Soak up the waterfront tranquility while being treated to the most sophisticated afternoon tea in Auckland at Park Hyatt – chef Callum Liddicoat puts a huge amount of research into every item on the menu, five courses each with a savoury and sweet dish, and he's created a special, one day only edition for May 9.
You can always trust Giapo not to let an occasion pass without fanfare, and this year's creation is blooming fabulous: a bouquet of flowers in icecream form.
Chase the autumn sun in Northland – check out Whangārei's newest hot spot, Loco, serving up cocktails and tapas in the town basin, or call into Russell's Omata Estate for a wine tasting and platter. Or whisk yourself away from all the fuss to peaceful Helena Bay Cafe. Perched high on the hill on the old road to Russell, it's a great solo spot with shared high tables and stunning views.