MATAKANA ESCAPE – ONE DAY TOUR
“Looking for things to do around Auckland? A day trip to the Matakana Coast is a must”
An hour north and a world away from Auckland is the Matakana coast. Once the ‘fruit bowl of Auckland’ its landscape is now home to thriving wineries, artists’ enclaves and unique cottage industries.
Matakana Coast Day Tour
An hour north and a world away from Auckland is the Matakana coast. Matakana is where Aucklanders go to escape the bustle of the city. If you’d like to spend a day marvelling at unspoilt countryside, browsing boutique shops and galleries, indulging in wonderful food and wine, exploring riverside towns, walking tranquil beaches and enjoying the special things to do around Auckland, then this tour is for you. Our small group tours have a distinctly local flavour. We have hand-picked our day tours to ensure you see the ‘best of the best’ of Matakana. Come with us on a truly memorable day trip from Auckland.
Driving north, we cross the Harbour Bridge, leave the city behind and watch the scenery become increasingly rural, as the city suburbs yield to farms, countryside and coastline.
The Honey Centre, has New Zealand’s largest display of live bees and a huge range of native honeys to taste and buy. Discover the medicinal and beautifying powers of unique manuka honey, browse skincare and giftware, or simply enjoy a drink beside the pretty ornamental pond.
Following an easy boardwalk – guarded by two huge, ancient Kauri trees – we explore a stand of regenerating native bush to experience the sights, sounds and scent of our forests, as they were before European settlement. While standing among New Zealand’s famous trees and vegetation your guide will explain how plants were used by past generations of European and Maori.
Matakana Village and Market
In Matakana Village we discover how local entrepreneurs have turned a sleepy country hamlet in to a thriving artisan community. Matakana boasts boutique shopping, art galleries, local crafts, food and wine and vibrant Saturday markets. Then the nearby Morris and James pottery beckons us. During an informative and enjoyable 30-minute tour you’ll learn how local clay is used to create beautiful, handcrafted pots, wall art and sculptures, many with a uniquely New Zealand theme. We have lunch at a Cafe in Matakana or at our next stop at Warkworth.
Warkworth Town and Chocolate Shop
Our next stop is the picturesque town of Warkworth, have fish and chips by the river or take a stroll along the river-side boardwalk of this historic town. The rivers and waterways in this area were important in colonial times when transport was easier by water than by road. We visit Chocolate Brown, Warkworth’s award-winning boutique chocolate maker. Sample the many hand-crafted chocolates made from quality ingredients, and choose gifts to take home.
It is hard to miss the candy floss pink sheep of the SheepWorld Farm and Nature Park, the next stop on our itinerary. Here you′ll enjoy an entertaining live-action sheepdog display hosted by one of SheepWorld′s professional shearers. During the display you can test your hand–eye coordination by sorting sheep at the drafting gates, try your hand at sheep shearing or bottle-feed the delightful newborn lambs.
In the NZ Farmyard area you can feed snacks to the friendly animals, meeting favourites like calves, pigs, lambs and goats plus more exotic species such as alpacas, emus and possums.
Mahurangi Countryside and Coastline
Our journey takes us past well established vineyards, evidence of the region’s emergence as a major wine producer. If you like we can arrange an optional wine tasting. We go off the beaten track to visit the picturesque beaches and inlets of the Mahurangi area. We stop at clifftop lookout to enjoy views of the coastal inlets and peninsulas that make up this area. We visit beautiful Mahurangi Beach, a pretty little beach well away from the crowds despite being only an hour out of Auckland.
We leave State Highway 1 and follow a meandering river valley to the tiny hamlet of Puhoi. Colonised in 1863 by Bohemian settlers, the village has retained its cosy atmosphere as home to some historical settler buildings, including the famous Puhoi pub, and what may be the world’s smallest library!
From Puhoi it is an easy drive back to downtown Auckland.
Matakana Coast Day Trip – Highlights
- Auckland Harbour Bridge
- The Honey Centre
- Kauri Park and native forest
- Matakana Village
- Matakana Markets (Saturday only)
- Morris & James Pottery tour
- Warkworth town and heritage buildings
- Visit to the Chocolate Shop
- SheepWorld Farm & live action sheepdog display
- Bottle feeding lambs
- Premium NZ products at the EcoWool Store
- Optional Wine Tasting
- Mahurangi Beaches
- Bohemian Puhoi village
Operates: Daily except 25th & 26th December
Price: $265 per person
(Children 3-12 years: $155)
All prices in New Zealand dollars
Times: Central Auckland pick up, approximately 9am and return 5pm
Bring: Your swimming togs & a towel in summer
Consider: Resetting your watch. Matakana time is a bit slower than the rest of the country