Ascension Wine Estate, Matakana ©

Matakana Coast: markets, beaches and vineyards

View the map


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.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Out and about

Matakana coast and country: weekend wonderland

It’s not that long ago that Matakana was just a bend in the road between Warkworth and Leigh. Now it’s a byword for gourmet food, top-quality wine and arthouse cinema, writes Sarah Ell. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Auckland's islands: marine playground

Auckland is still known as the City of Sails and this is largely because it has some of the world’s best cruising waters on its doorstep. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Larnach Castle: a vision of past and present

If you missed Larnach Castle on your trip out to wing it with the albatrosses, you must have been on Facebook. It stands proud and bold on the highest point of the entire Otago Peninsula. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Matakana

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 place . . . More . . . 

From $150
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, re . . . More . . . 

From $150
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 park i . . . More . . .