The Top Things to Do and Places to Visit on the Matakana Coast
One of the great things about Auckland is the fact that you can enjoy many varied day trips from the city. One day you can be exploring the Hauraki Gulf, the next you can drive up the Matakana Coast. We’ll help you make the most of the latter with this list of the best things to do on the Matakana Coast.
The Matakana Coast is a section of the North Shore district incorporating both the east and west coast. So whether you’re passing through on your way up north or sticking around Auckland for a while, the Matakana Coast is something fresh and isolated in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the city. Drive through diverse landscapes, from romantic vineyards to stunning beaches. Go on an adventure by diving in a marine reserve or culture yourself at a Maori village. Take a look at the list below to find some great additions to your Auckland bucket list.
1. Experience the Matakana Farmers’ Market
If there is a “best” time to visit the village of Matakana, it has to be on a Saturday morning. The Matakana Farmers’ Market brings the best of the village to life, from colourful products to talkative locals to delicious food. There’s fresh produce, artisan cheeses, homemade spreads, organic foods, craft beer and olive oils to sample and purchase, as well as street food to enjoy.
Location: 2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana.
2. Have a Tipple at the Matakana Wineries
Another aspect of Matakana that makes it such a haven for foodies is its wine region. Treat yourself to a wine tasting experience at the Matakana Estate or pop into their cellar door for lunch accompanied by a glass of wine. Alternatively, Hyperion Wines offers free wine tasting on weekends, public holidays and through summer.
Location: Matakana Estate – 568 Matakana Road. Hyperion Wines – Tongue Farm Road, Matakana.
3. Discover Amazing Marine Life at the Goat Island Marine Reserve
This marine reserve surrounding the tiny Goat Island is one of the most popular snorkelling/diving spots in the Auckland Region. Fish are fearless and plentiful, which makes the whole trip worthwhile. Join snorkelling tours, visit the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre, or see the fish through a clear kayak (more info on the latter is available on Viator or Tripadvisor). Find out how to make the most of your visit with 5 Fun Things to Do at Goat Island Marine Reserve.
Location: Goat Island Marine Reserve, Leigh, approximately 16km (10 miles) north of Matakana.
4. Be Amazed by the Sculptureum
A hub for creativity, Sculptureum offers more than 750 pieces of art found across six galleries and three sculpture gardens. See pieces from around the world from the likes of Picasso, Chagall, Rodin, Chihuly and Cezanne and admire gardens full of fun and thought-provoking pieces. Break up your visit with a relaxing dining experience at their on-site restaurant or even indulge in a wine tasting.
Location: 40 Omaha Flats Road, Matakana.
5. See Kauri Trees and Dive into the History of Warkworth
The town exudes a strong colonial heritage, so any 1900s fan will be served! Aside from heritage architecture, do not leave Warkworth without checking out the huge kauri trees in the Parry Kauri Park (note that park is closed to help stop the spread of kauri dieback) or joining a cruise with Matakana River Tours. For more activities, see the 10 Wonderful Things to Do in Warkworth.
Pro tip: Those on a working holiday will find great fruit picking opportunities in this area, especially towards the end of summer.
Location: Warkworth, approximately 9km (5.5 miles) south of Matakana.
6. Snap a Pic of the Quaint Historic Buildings of Puhoi
More than a simple small village, Puhoi showcases the story of its early settlers: bohemians that came to the country in search of a fresh start. The village is worth a quick stop to admire the cute buildings. Oh, and don’t miss a tasting at the Puhoi Valley Cafe & Cheese Store (275 Ahuroa Road).
Location: Puhoi, State Highway 1, approximately 24km (15km ) south of Matakana.
7. Take a Tour of Te Hana Te Ao Marama
Auckland’s leading Maori cultural centre, Te Hana Te Ao Marama, offers a true Maori experience from a guided village tour to a marae stay. Plus, the village’s lighting work is stunning to see at night! See how the experience compares to the 10 Best Places to Experience Maori Culture in New Zealand.
Location: Te Hana, State Highway 1, approximately 30km (19 miles) from Matakana.
8. Take the Ferry to Kawau Island
For those with a bit of spare cash, hopping on the ferry to Kawau Island leaving from Sandspit is a treat. The island boasts wildlife and walks that rival other islands in the Hauraki Gulf. There are seasonal timetables for the ferry run by Kawau Cruises. They also offer a mail cruise.
Location: Sandspit Wharf, Warkworth, approximately 9km (5.5 miles) south of Matakana.
9. Hit the Beaches of the Mahurangi Peninsula
The peninsula is home to multiple beaches, bays and parks; take your pick! Snells Beach, Martins Bay and Algies Bay are backed by facilities like children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, etc. On the other hand, Scandrett Regional Park offers more secluded beaches and walkways to stretch your legs. See more regional parks worth discovering in the 20 Auckland Parks You Can’t Miss.
Location: Mahurangi East Road, approximately 9km (5.5 miles) south of Matakana.
10. Beachcomb, Fish or Horse Trek at Pakiri Beach
Pakiri Beach is often described in three words: “pristine white sand.” It is a great spot for horse riding, surfing, fishing and even bird watching. Learn more about the horse riding experience here in the 10 Best Horse Treks in New Zealand.
Location: Pakiri Beach, Pakiri Road, approximately 22km (13 miles) north of Matakana.
More Things to Do on the Matakana Coast
That’s it for our list of things to do on the Matakana Coast. For more experiences in the area, check out the following guides: