Northeast of Warkworth, the bustling market village of Matakana offers a slice of rural community life, with its craft outlets, markets and country cafes. Matakana forms the heart of a burgeoning wine area, and there are plenty of choices for a lazy long lunch. Many of the wineries and country cafés offer delightful rural and al fresco settings, and most of the vineyards open their cellar doors for tastings. The Saturday Farmers Market in the village is a great way to meet the locals, and you can stock up on farm fresh eggs, Puhoi cheeses, tasty jams and relishes and a range of local arts and crafts. Try the spiced hot chocolate and freshly baked Danishes, sample the fine wines and boutique olive oils or sip on a glass of the locally-brewed beer.

Craft lovers can visit the local art studios and galleries or shop for a souvenir at the local pottery. The pottery is famous for its colourful handpainted ceramics and you can enjoy lunch at the courtyard cafe. Matakana is also handy to beautiful Tawharanui Regional Park, the pristine surf beach at Pakiri, the marine reserve at Goat Island, near Leigh, and peaceful Kawau Island with its bushwalks, secluded bays and historic mansion house.

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