I may be biased, but there are plenty of good reasons why a Matakana summer is something special. Here’s my pick of what to do in Matakana when the sun is shining, the tuis are singing and the days endless…
1. Get in the water at Goat Island Marine Reserve
No matter how many summer days we’ve spent here, every time my family and I go back, we find a new reason to fall in love with it. Its crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and swimming – especially when the waters warm up in summer! The fishes are fearless and plentiful, making the trip totally worthwhile every time. It’s probably why Goat Island Marine Reserve is among the top day trips from Auckland. In typical Matakana style, enjoying fish & chips or a local craft brew at the Leigh Sawmill Cafe that is enroute the reserve is a staple.
Lesser known but no less stunning, Tawharanui Regional Park further north is also among the popular things to do from Auckland in summer. Not only can you dive here, but also fish, camp and kayak – everything that makes summer so much fun!
2. Summer concerts
Local wines, vineyard setting, live music and balmy breezes … best summer fun recipe ever and among the top things to do in Auckland. We’re lucky to have some of the best international and local gigs rock our region every year, including The Winery Tour at Ascension Wine Estate.
In fact Matakana wineries are renowned to offer more than a great drop; Brick Bay Vineyard has a popular outdoor Sculpture Trail. This 2km trail is an ever-changing exhibition of around 45 contemporary sculptures. We love the sculpture trail so much that we even include it in our Gardens & Art Day Tour (perfect for the ladies!)
3. Enjoying the regional bounty
One of the perks of my job is being able to visit local wineries and producers on our tours and enjoying the best of Matakana’s famous artisan fare, wine and craft beer at source. In summer, this bounty is at its burgeoning best!
Another fantastic place to sample the local flavours is the iconic farmers’ market (held every Saturday) – one of the top things to do from Auckland. Round off your market visit with the ice creams and gelatos made from fresh summer fruits. Take a short drive from the village to Charlies Gelato Garden. A firm family favourite!
4. Relaxing on picture-perfect beaches
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in Matakana. The nearest swimming beach – Omaha – is on top of the list with its long stretch of white sand and good surf. Snells Beach and Algie Bay in Mahurangi Peninsula (also known for its fresh oysters!), and Pakiri Beach north of Matakana village are other popular swim spots. And that’s just the start; drive around and you’ll find tucked away beaches that are perfect to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
5. Getting amidst nature
One of the main reasons we love the Matakana Coast region has got to be the uncrowded landscapes. Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Hop on a cycle, get into your kayak or put on your boots and tackle one of the many trails that abound in the four regional parks (Mahurangi, Tawharanui, Scandrett and Wenderholm) and reserves here. It’s a great way to burn those calories piled on our Matakana food and wine tour!