When you think of the North Shore you probably automatically think of the well known Takapuna or Devonport. And while we love these ones too we want to tell you about a few little gems over the other side of the shore in Beach Haven, Birkdale and a few of their neighbours that may just have you reconsidering your next day out on the North Shore…
Bernie’s Bar and Eatery at Verrans Corner
Bernie’s Bar and Eatery was less than a week old when we visited and is a very welcome addition to the Birkdale community at Verrans Corner and is worthy of a trip to Birkdale on it’s own merits.
It has a really relaxed and welcoming vibe and the inside is absolutely stunning with natural woods, black walls and gold, all set off to perfection by the stunning floor to ceiling windows that bathe the two dining areas in natural light and create some amazing shadows.
And if al fresco dining is more your thing they have a very cute outdoor area out the back with a range of relaxed dining set ups.
It’s not only that that got us really excited about this place though…. The menu is really well thought out. They have a range of healthy bowls (I had a delicious eggs on roast veggies) as well as some more of the sensationally yummy looking, maybe not so healthy options!
They have three different menus for weekends, weekdays and dinners and best of all they have $5 options for children with not a chicken nugget in sight!
I was talking to the team at Bernie’s Bar and Eatery when I took the kids in for breakfast the Tuesday before school started (hence why it was a lot quieter than it was the other times we drove past over opening weekend!) and they said they were really trying to create a place that was cozy and inviting and catered to all. For me that’s a big tick on all those points.
There aren’t may places that offer a $4.50 half glass of wine! It’s perfect for trying or if you’re driving and for me demonstrates the inclusiveness that they are trying to achieve!
It puts me in the mind of another of our favourite restaurants, The Bistro, who have a mission to deliver great food at reasonable prices and I’m sure that Bernies will gain a place in the locals hearts.
In fact it was so good in fact that James and I went back a second time for dinner later in the week when we had no children. It was filled to the brim and a week in they were still finding their feet and rhythm (and rather sweetly apologising for it all). But you could easily forgive all that with a margarita that packed a punch, live music and what James declared to be the best pork chop he’s ever had! And the chips with truffle butter and parmesan are pretty damn good too!!
So head over and check it out – and if there is a wait there’s plenty of things to do while you wait for your table down below…
Okay, so they aren’t totally undiscovered but it definitely feels like it when compared to some of the beaches over the other side. In Beach Haven you can head to one of many secluded coves and bays and find yourself either by yourself or with only a handful of like minded beach goers. There are loads of spots along the coastline but here’s a few of our favourites…
Hadfield Street Reserve
Just off a quiet little street called Hadfield Street in Beach Haven is an idyllic little picnic spot and safe swimming spot for little ones.
Nothing this good ever comes totally easy so you will need to walk down a steep path to get there (and you know that comes with also walking up a steep path to get back at the end but we promise it is worth it).
Once down the path you will be rewarded with a little bay with calm, shallow water – perfect for the little ones to play in while you set up the picnic blanket next to the very zen and calming waterfall over at the side of the bay. There’s even a tree that dips lazily into the water – perfect for climbing on and into the water!
It’s tidal (as is most of this coastline) so make sure you head there as close to full tide as you can. At full tide it’s shallow for a good stretch – allowing for heaps of play space for the kids before it drops away into cool, deep waters.
It’s a little known fact that this side of the coastline gets the most brilliant sunsets and Island Bay is one of the very best spots to watch the setting sun.
It’s one of my go to spots to head to and grab a few sunset pictures. This one is one of my favourites and was taken by my then 8 year old step daughters (she’s 10 now and pretty amazing – you should follow her on Instagram for some pretty epic shoots coming up)..
Technically Kauri Point is in Chelsea but they are neighbours so I’m hoping you’ll let me off on a technicality for this little beach.
Again, as all hidden beaches are, it’s a bit of a walk to get to Kauri Point but oh boy is it worth it.
Deep, clear water just metres from the shore line with a wonderfully eclectic mix of people that is always changing.
We’ve written loads more about this spot (including how to find it) over here.
And if you need just one more reason – chocolate. In Beach Haven you will find the House of Chocolate Factory shop. Just perfect for handcrafted chocolatey goodness which you know you’ve earned from trekking to all those hidden beaches….
Have fun exploring….