Ascension Wine Estate, Matakana ©

Matakana Coast: markets, beaches and vineyards

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Matakana has gone crazy in the last decade or so: leaps and bounds barely describes it.

Already spoiled with a million great activities and natural attractions and close enough to Auckland that it’s a great day trip, latterly so much has sprung up here you start wondering what they put in the water. Wine, you might think, driving around.

Yep, a bunch of vineyards have truly taken hold here in the last ten to 15 years. While a few brave viticultural souls were already established when the millennium turned over, it’s Wine Central up this way now. There is a heap of great places that offer a taste and a tasty treat, fab food, good views and a delightful environment to put your loafers up in.

Likely they’ll serve local produce, too: the whole area is throbbing with honey producers (over and above the bees themselves, clearly), cheese-makers, folk who make killer jams and preserves, and that’s before we take a sunny stroll through the olive groves.

All of these goodies and more are available at one of the country’s best farmers’ markets; totally worth checking out, even if it’s just to see the Aucklanders trying to wedge their SUVs into too small a parking space. You’re not going to get in there, Maaaartiiiiiinnnnnnnnnn!!

Need a bit more action? Goat Island at Leigh is legendary for snorkelling, a protectorate of all things pure and natural — birdlife, fish life, wildlife — and for nightlife the nearby Leigh Sawmill hosts bands and brews its own beers as well. Pakiri is a beautiful, wild beach, a stretch of coastline that encompasses dunes, woodland and endless surf.

It’s all good, it’s all close to the big smoke, but it feels a million miles away. Wake up and smell the (artisanal) coffee.

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Where to stay in Matakana

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Whangateau Holiday Park

Whangateau Holiday Park, located at the gateway to the north and 5 minutes to Matakana Village. This tranquil, award-winning waterfront holiday par...

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Matakana Motel

Quiet accommodation in the heart of Matakana Village. Matakana House Motel is across the road from the Farmers Markets, the Matakana Village shops,...

Sugarloaf Lodge

Sugarloaf Lodge is an impeccably stylish B&B Retreat, right in the centre of the magical Matakana Coast Wine Country. This really is 'a special pl...