This elegant old villa sits serenely in an olive grove on the Simunovich Estate, just 40 minutes south of Auckland in the Bombays. Whether you are seated in the gracious arched interior, or bag a table on the generous white-wicker clad veranda, take time to enjoy the old-time charm of this lovely, refined homestead. The menu tends towards the traditional, beautifully presented and very appealing: you might start with a chicken and pork hock soup packed with vegetables and the ultimate comfort of little cheesy dumplings, then move onto duck breast flavoured with a rainbow of chard, beetroot and cherries. A wide-ranging cheese selection is a welcome sight at the end of the experience, and the whole is supported by an extensive wine list. Who doesn’t love meandering through the countryside on the way to a good meal?

IN BRIEF A perfect destination after a drive in the country