How to spend a Weekend In Matakana – Everything that should be on your agenda for an indulgent getaway!
Located only 45 minutes from Auckland’s CBD is the charming country-side village of Matakana.
There’s something about this quaint and quirky spot, that has locals and visitors alike enthralled, and coming back for more! Perhaps its the artisan food, the fresh rural air, the carefully curated selection of shops, or the myriad of beaches that bless the area. If you enjoy homegrown delicacies, markets, spectacular vineyards, stylish boutiques + galleries and sensational scenery – then you’re in for a treat!
1. All you need to know about the food scene
2. Must visit beaches & activities in the area
3. Vineyards to indulge in
4. Where to stay
1. Food, food & more food!
Opportunities abound to satisfy every foodie craving in this small town. Here’s a list of our favourite foodie spots and restaurants in Matakana that should not be missed.
The famed, and revelled by many Matakana Village Farmers Market. This wonderful market is held every Saturday from 8am – 1pm and has a little something indulgent for everyone – prepare your palettes! Think whitebait fritters, fresh coffee, bacon butties, crepes, wholesome local produce, plentiful pastries, floral bouquets and much more! There’s also live entertainment to guarantee good vibes. Ditch your usual Saturday morning routine and make the pilgrimage out of the city to treat yourself to some moreish treats, whilst perched alongside the river that runs through the village. Soak in the humming energy of this Saturday tradition, or grab some goodies to go and park up at one of the beautiful nearby beaches for an epic picnic!
Many would say this is somewhat of a Matakana institution – and they’re not wrong! Serving up incredible fare for brunch, lunch and dinner you won’t be disappointed. Do yourself a favour and try their crazy garlic fries, whilst sitting next to the roaring fireplace or outside by the river.
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This cruisey spot is ideal for chilling with a craft beer and nibbles out in the courtyard. Gather your friends and park up here for the afternoon, or just drop in for a burger or plate of oysters whilst listening to live music. The historic pub also welcomes dogs (very important), so bring the pooch with you for a change of scenery!
Drool-worthy pizzas are the star of the show at this tasty wee spot. A favourite for connoisseurs of casual dining, The Rusty Pelican provides delicious food and very generous servings – perfect to top off a day spent at the beach. Best served with a vino or two, whilst people watching from the outdoor seating area.
Located in a rustic rural setting just outside of Matakana is where you’ll find this long-standing favourite. Known for their incredible selection of craft beers, classic pizzas, fresh fish, great chat and live entertainment. Park up on the lawn or outdoor courtyard for a long session in the sun. Well worth the short drive for its unbeatable golden drops of beer alone!
For a true summer treat head to Charlies for gelato, sorbet or real fruit ice creams (a kiwi favourite!). They hand make small batches, made fresh daily with the best locally sourced ingredients. Take a break in their garden and devour a fruity, fun and decadent treat!
2. Beach & Activities
You’re blessed with the best in terms of beach choices in this picturesque region. Surrounding Matakana is a myriad of breath-taking surf beaches and bays. Just a 10 minute drive away is Omaha beach; a long stretch of white shoreline and a popular spot for surfing. If you’re after a seaside spot a little more adventurous – check out Tawharanui National Park, about a 20-minute drive away. Not only is the sand as soft as ever, and waters crystal clear, but there are also some great walks to explore the coastline and more of the park.
Pakiri Beach is located about 20 minutes away, which again boasts a long shoreline and often a big swell. Here you can also embark on a horse trek along the beach and through farmland to really experience the freedom of the area. Lastly, Goat Island is a must if you’re partial to some snorkelling! The marine reserve boasts an extensive variety of aquatic life so it would be rude not to dive underwater and say hello. You can hire snorkel gear, or kayaks or even head out on the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. This is a legendary experience in the area, offering a 45 minute commentated tour, allowing you to peer through the glass bottom of the boat and marvel at the underwater eco-system teeming with fish, reefs and other marine life!
Whilst in the area it would be rude not to check out what’s on show at the gorgeous boutique Matakana Cinemas. The cinemas are the perfect spot to pop into and put your feet up after a day of exploring. There’s more than initially meets the eye to this establishment… step inside each theatre to discover themed ceilings – one theatre has a whole ceiling bursting with flowers – one must see it to believe it! The snack selection is reason enough to visit, with mouth-watering organic ice cream on offer, a huge variety of all the treats you desire, as well as craft beers, wines and premier spirits available from The Vintry just next door. Treat your loved one to a date night here, or gather the girls and grab some snacks for an epic treat yourself night!
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Sculpture Trail & Exquisite Cuisine
Brick Bay Sculpture Trail showcases an ever-changing exhibition of approximately 50 large-scale contemporary sculptures, by a variety of leading New Zealand artists. Meander your way through the 2km’s of the trail that weaves through a sublime landscape; taking you past vineyards, farmland, lakes, and a few unexpected views.
Onsite you’ll also find a wonderful restaurant housed in a glasshouse, and aptly named – Glass House. This novel structure is home to Brick Bay Wines and gateway to the trail. Cantilevered over a shimmering lake, The Glass House Kitchen offers relaxed all-day dining showcasing the freshest seasonal produce. Expect to find taste-bud tantalising dishes ranging from epic shared platters to moreish mains. While you’re there enjoy a personalised wine tasting at the bar!
Matakana is well known for its delicious varieties of wine, and small boutique vineyards bursting with character and flavour. A wine tasting tour, or simply a long lunch paired with matching wines is the ultimate way to treat yourself and family or friends to. Relax whilst overlooking rows of vines and sink into a state of indulgent bliss!
Beautifully situated amongst the vines of Matakana, with its distinctive European style and gorgeous gardens is Ascension Wine Estate. Enjoy soul-warming bowls of pasta and risottos whilst sampling excellent wine to suit. Check out their handcrafted wines and improve your knowledge with their trained cellar door staff. This winery is ideal for soaking in some Auckland sun, whilst feeling as if you may have been transported to Tuscany or the likes!
Matakana Estate is rich in history, having been established by descendants of Croatian migrants who settled in and around Auckland more than 100 years ago. Winning a number of awards in international wine competitions, the estate knows how to make a quality drop! The feel of the estate is intimate and authentic, with beautiful views looking out across rolling hills to the rear and across the vines to the front. Stop in to try some beautiful beverages.
4. Where to stay
Its charming vineyards, quirky shops and art galleries, excellent restaurants like the Matakana Market Kitchen, and nearby beaches make it a favourite amongst the whole family. Be sure to plan your trip to coincide with a Saturday morning so you can get amongst the world-famous-in-Auckland Matakana market.
Matakana Magic is an upmarket 2 bedroom 2 bathroom Matakana holiday house with a spa pool and Wi-Fi. Enjoying an elevated position to capture tranquil rural views, this modern home includes everything you need for a refreshing escape, just a 5-minute walk from the village!
This Leigh holiday house includes spacious open plan living that flows onto decking… The front deck is the perfect place to soak up the sun while gazing at the ocean scenery, or relax on the rear deck with the BBQ and spa pool on hand! For relaxed indoor days, unwind in comfort with stunning views from the living areas.
Indulge in all that Matakana has to offer with a weekend away. It’s easy to wish you were staying longer (and we recommend you do!). You’ll be sure to make many memories to treasure for years to come and leave with a warm heart.