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Raise a glass to toast the coast

On Friday afternoons savvy Aucklanders pack their jute shopping bags and designer gumboots to head north, bound for the picturesque Matakana coast.

The going is slow and the traffic heavy (Sydneysiders will experience a distinct deja vu) but all is well once you clear the burbs and the verdant New Zealand bush puts in an appearance, sequinned here and there with sea-green tree ferns. The northeastern road rolls through softly rounded hills threaded with remnant forest, dips now and then to the sea and, nearer Matakana, NZ's first town to embrace the cittaslow (slow city) movement, skirts paddocks planted with vines.

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