So, after a few months, I am back! I could not be more excited to start writing again and of course exploring. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to tell you the truth. I think the last time I journaled, we were in lock-down and now I look back on it and it feels like a lifetime ago! In this time we have had jobs, lost jobs, interviewed for jobs, watched the news religiously and then cut it off completely (it was getting just a little too much)… it’s been a crazy time.
Now, of course unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, COVID-19 is still a thing, so for the foreseeable future we will be spending time journaling about our local explorations in our ‘backyard’ … luckily this is New Zealand and it is one of the most picturesque, if not thee most beautiful country in the world.
For our first adventure, I wanted to write about our recent weekend away in Matakana. Driving only 1 hour away from Auckland you will be whisked into the picturesque scenery of Matakana Coast wine country. We have visited this idyllic village many times in the past few years but this time round we decided to make a night of it.
Upon arrival we visited the Farmers Market which to be honest is a must do. There is an absolute showcase of artisans, growers and farmers from the Matakana Coast region, who have a passion for what they do and produce. There is so much amazing yummies to choose from like fruit, vegetables, delicious artisan baking, Italian sausages, organic chocolate, flowers, and olive oil. Oh, and the honey bourbon was unreal!
After chowing down on a croque monsieur we jumped back in the car and made our way to Leigh to the Ti Point coastal walkway. The pictures really speak for themselves but what they don’t show is that if it has been raining then it is muddy and slippery as fuck, so be prepared to get really dirty (I had to bleach my shoes when we got home)
The walk itself takes about 2 hours return and is 100% worth it. This stunning coastline is edged with large pohutukawa trees, large boulders and you can check out Omaha Bay, Tawharanui Regional Park, Coromandel Peninsula, Little Barrier (Hauturu) and Great Barrier (Aotea) islands. Apparently, dolphins, orca and whales are regularly seen from the coast…but of course we didn’t see any.
The next stop on the itinerary was ‘’Sculptureum’’ and to be honest this was my highlight. If you are artsy, creative or just love interesting places then this is the place for you. The owners have spent 25 years collecting weird and wonderful gallery and environmental art from all over the world and now they have exhibited it here for us all to check out. Now, I have been to Brick Bay and it is also pretty wonderful so I didn’t know what to expect but I can honestly say, it blew us away.
"People should take the time to reflect on things that make life better in non-material ways, on things that make life more interesting, more enriching and more enjoyable."
Anthony Grant, Founder
The best parts for me were the giant pink snails and the meercats… really, if you are there, GO! It’s worth the $29 entrance fee which at first, I thought was mega pricey (but it’s post COVID and we are all poor)
We ended the day by having the best burgers at the Tramcar diner located in the centre of the village and I can tell you now, value for money was 10/10, portion size was huge, the burgers were super tasty and the staff are really friendly. Our accommodation was actually one of the coolest we have stayed in recently … yes, I know we haven’t been away for a while but this one was really awesome as we finally stayed in a TINY HOUSE!!
The Fantail retreat is a cosy, tiny house with the best views. I was so excited, and I am so happy this wee house lived up to my expectations as it was a little pricey for one night - $135 .
Overall, for our first mini staycation it was wonderful and we both loved it. A fab mixture of culture, amazing food, great weather, picturesque walks and the best of company…Matakana is by far one of my fav places close to Auckland to escape to.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. For the past year we explored the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and now we are back in NZ dealing with the ''new normal'' and life currently in the COVID-19 Pandemic.