You’re hungry, you need to eat, and you don’t want to scoff a burger sitting in your car on the side of the road like a Nigel No-Mates. You need a view. We scoured the country to find the best spots in Aotearoa to indulge in an in-vehicle feast.
Brackens Lookout, Dunedin
I spent four of the best years of my life in Dunedin in my early 20s, and a large number of those hours were spent parked up at Brackens Lookout that peeks across a relatively quiet part of the city to the harbour. What it lacks in inspiring view it compensates for in privacy, mystique and general buzziness – it’s down a narrow road flanked by the Dunedin Northern Cemetery. And it has great access to the underrated Botanic Gardens. It was also a good place to park up and study – although it could occasionally lead to being invited into an accidental hotbox.
– Simon Day
Princes Wharf, Auckland
The end of Princes Wharf is a gorgeous, plaintive end to any great night out. Grab a McChicken down at the Britomart Maccas, or if you’re feeling fancy, a burger from Burger Boy, wander down the wharf past the Hilton, and shack up there, watching the twinkling lights of Devonport and various boats, and feel the harbour air chill you down to your very drunk bones. Can’t beat it.
– Sam Brooks
Greta Point, Wellington
Wellington’s Greta Point is the perfect quiet place for a takeaway lunch. The kids can safely run around, you can watch the ferries and sailboats and sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll see kororā, the littlest and cutest penguins of them all.
– Emily Writes
Pig Out Point, New Plymouth
KFC, McDonald’s and Burger Fuel are just a couple of blocks away. Once you’ve grabbed your goodies, head down the end of Hobson Street and into a cul de sac with stunning views looking out across the ocean. I spent nine months in New Plymouth on my own and loved to eat at this spot, as the sun set, the water glistening off the rocks below (it’s not as depressing as it sounds, promise). With Fitzroy Beach one way and the Coastal Walkway the other, there are plenty of options to go work off that chocolate shake and king-sized fries afterwards.
– Chris Schulz
John Wilson Drive, South Dunedin
Dunedinites are spoiled for choice when it comes to vehicular dining vistas. For a daytime option, it’s hard to go past John Wilson Drive or “Johnny’s”. Just a stone’s throw from the South D takeaway strip, the long stretch above St Kilda beach offers ample parking and the opportunity to dine with a vast, uninterrupted view of the southern horizon. Also popular with dog walkers and loud car enthusiasts.
– Calum Henderson
Miramar Peninsula, Wellington
The pleasures of ingesting greasy food in a car have nothing on consuming food after a bike ride. As one of the happily car free, I recommend getting your burger of choice in Kilbirnie or Miramar then biking to one of the many pebbly beaches along the Miramar Peninsula. Watching windsurfers and weekend sailors slide across Evans Bay while a procession of fries goes down your gullet? Great stuff. This does require some receptacle planning: if you don’t want to think about KFC every time you open your snazzy panier/practical windproof backpack for the rest of your life, bring a plastic bag to hold the food while you pedal to a panoramic place to stop.
– Shanti Mathias
Fred Ambler Lookout, Parnell
I’ve eaten many a car-burger from many a vantage point, but I always go back to Fred Ambler Lookout in Parnell, Auckland. The carpark overlooks the Auckland ports, which are bustling with activity 24/7. When you’re smashing your nuggies at 2am and the rest of the city is asleep, there’s something comforting about seeing the big container machines moving about with their blinking lights, just bloody getting on with it. The lookout is a one-minute drive from the 24-hour McD’s drive-thru on Quay St, which sits next to KFC, for chicken connoisseurs. In the same block you’ll also find a Domino’s, Pizza Hut and several noodle joints. A smorgasbord of options for your sad little car feast (I may be projecting).
– Jane Yee
Scenic Lookout Airport Runway, Auckland
When I watch my twin boys stare in awe at planes and helicopters as they wonder how these giant steel contraptions fly through the air, I’m reminded of how great this spot was for the munchies. There’s a range of drive-through options on George Bolt Memorial Drive as you approach the airport. Grab something and park up at the end of the runway, then lie on the windscreen of your car Wayne’s World style and remind yourself how little you understand about how flight, jet engines and globalisation work as you smash a Zinger burger.
– Simon Day