Just a note before we begin- All photos on this post were taken using my iPhone6s as I wanted to travel light. You could click on the images to have a better view.
We’ve been in Auckland, New Zealand for quite a while now and this is my first travel blog post about our journeys around Auckland. For this post, I’ll take you on a trip to Matakana, located about one hour away by car from Central Auckland. En route to Matakana Village, there are countless spots for sightseeing, trekking, local produce stores and beautiful vineyards to stop at. We were a little pressed for time as the sun sets at 5 during winter and we wanted to get to our Airbnb accommodation before we the darkness set in.
The next morning, we headed straight for Matakana Village Farmers’ Market for breakfast and some shopping. The market is open every Saturday morning till 1 pm, come rain or shine and is a great spot to get some local produce such as wine, artisan bread, cheese, produce and tons of edible souvenirs.
The location of the market could not be more idyllic as it is just next to the river. You could have your breakfast right by the river and watch kids feeding the mischievous mallard and grey ducks as the local band plays nearby. What a lovely way to kickstart the weekend, right?
The range of locally made jams, spreads, beer, wine, cheese, coffee etc. and locally grown produce is quite extensive and I was told by my Airbnb host that there are more stalls in summer (also way more people!). There’s a large carpark right next to the market but in summer it might be next to impossible to get any lots(as with anywhere in Auckland) so it would be wise to come very early or book an accommodation very close by.
My favourite winter produce has to be beetroot. They are amazingly sweet when roasted and New Zealand grows the best tasting beetroot in the world. The orange/yellow beetroot are my current obsession as I buy them every week!
Adjacent to the fresh produce market area is the craft market that sells anything from hand-woven scarves, sweaters, antiques, handmade silver jewellery and native plants and succulents. Fantastic for buying locally made souvenirs and presents.
And if you get tired and hungry, there are numerous stalls selling French and Sicilian pastries, mussel fritters, NZ Angus steak burgers, award-winning sausages and warm PIE!
Apart from the farmers’ market, Matakana has several wineries that have an open cellar door and restaurants, a beautiful indie cinema with tastefully opulent halls and dozens of eateries and cute little shops selling unique pottery, sculptures and clothes. If you’re planning to stay longer, I highly recommend the Matakana Cinemas as each cinema hall is individually styled and you can enjoy your movie in their luxurious seats with a glass of wine.
Just 40 minutes away from Matakana, in Warkworth, is a delightful café and shop- Chocolate Brown, specialising in locally made chocolate and sweet treats. They use Callebaut chocolate for their pralines and chocolate squares and they are all melt-in-your-mouth sensational. Be warned as you will be tempted to buy the entire shop! Their fudge is also very good but they are only meant for the serious sweet tooths.
After all the indulging on Saturday, we tried to redeem ourselves the next day by going on a short hike at Scandrett Regional Park, on the northeastern tip of the Mahurangi Peninsula. It is the site for a historic homestead built in the mid-nineteenth century and is surrounded by protected coastal forests, headlands and beaches.
The tip of the peninsula – Mullet Point, is a pa site known as Purahurawai “the expansive, sparkling waters”, can be reached by a short uphill hike through a working sheep farm. The sheep and native fantail birds are very friendly as they come very close to you but be ware of the stinky ‘landmines’ the innocent-looking sheep leave behind.
We reached Mullet’s Point just as the sun started to set and were rewarded with the beautiful coastal view of the sun setting over the Hauraki Gulf. Gorgeous and definitely worth the trip out from Auckland!