Pick up fresh local and organic produce at the Matakana Village Farmers Market on Saturdays. Find delicious cheeses, artisan breads, gourmet spreads, olive oils, craft beers and more, and munch on a fresh paua fritter by the river’s edge. Sample award-winning wines at some of Matakana’s boutique vineyards. Indulge in a leisurely lunch overlooking the vines or join a small group tour for that personal touch.
Browse the art and craft galleries and find everything from paintings by local artists to the renowned Morris & James Pottery. Don’t miss Matakana’s fantastic outdoor sculpture trail at Brick Bay Wine & Sculpture, and then dine at the award-winning Rothko at Sculptureum. Visit some of the beautiful white-sand beaches along Matakana’s stunning coastline. Walk along a deserted bay or plan a winter picnic under a tree with your treats from the farmers’ market. Don't forget the extra blankets to bundle up and stay warm.
This peaceful historic village sits at the edge of the tranquil Mahurangi River. Grab a bite to eat at one of Warkworth’s cafés then make your way to Parry Kauri Park. Wander the boardwalks and see the towering 800-year old kauri trees that more than live up to their reputation as ‘the kings of the forest’. You can also get a fascinating insight into the lives of pioneering families at the historical buildings and regularly changing displays at Warkworth Museum.
If you want to see some of the local scenery from a different perspective, go horseback riding – it’s suited for all ages and abilities.
Visit the historic Bohemian village of Puhoi for a taste of village life in rural Auckland. It’s just a 25-minute drive from the city and is a perfect stop off for those heading north (especially if you’re hungry).
Indulge in some of New Zealand’s best cheeses at the boutique café and cheese store, try a beer and a hearty meal at the traditional pub or enjoy Devonshire tea at the cottage tearooms. Puhoi Valley was founded in 1863 by two cheese makers – visit the Puhoi Bohemian Museum in the old convent school to learn more about the village’s history.
If you’ve got more time, hire a kayak and head up Puhoi River to peaceful Wenderholm Regional Park. Take in the scenery along the way and enjoy a picnic or barbecue at the park.
Spend a few nights in a holiday home at Omaha, relaxing in your own space at this much-loved beachside town.
Bring your surfboard to Omaha’s beautiful white-sand surf beach, take a dip at Anchor Bay, or spend the day with the family at Whangateau Harbour, with safe swimming for children. Go bird watching at the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary, a haven for threatened native birds and wildlife, or grab a snorkel and explore the 400 hectare marine reserve on the northern side of Tāwharanui Peninsula.
Head to Goat Island Marine Reserve to get up close to masses of colourful fish in crystal clear waters. Goat Island is New Zealand’s first and most accessible marine reserve and an amazing spot for snorkelling and diving. After a day in the water, stop in at the nearby community of Leigh for a bite to eat and a craft beer.
And if you need to stay dry, hop on the glass bottom boat.
A long, very beautiful and more secluded beach than those closer to the city. Reliable waves, plenty of space and a chilled out vibe make this a popular surf spot year round. Watch for whales and dolphins on the horizon too, or spot rare seabirds on the shore. Make some holiday memories with a horse ride along the beach and over the dunes.
Most of the beaches on the Matakana Coast are unpatrolled. Stay safe – never swim or surf alone. Find out more.
To learn more about the Matakana Coast, click here.