Sunday Mirror UK

New Zealand: Wine tasting on the magnificient Matakana Coast

Takatu Lodge wouldn't look out of place in Grand Designs. It's a five star ultra-modern B&B with floor-to-ceiling windows so you're not quite sure where the rooms leave off and the Great Outdoors begins.

But there's a great deal more to the Matakana Coast than wineries. You can easily spend two weeks pottering around this area - which is a much better idea than trying to cram the entire country into a single holiday. Focusing on one region means you can do plenty of sightseeing but also relax and laze about on what this country in the Pacific does best - beaches.

From Takatu Lodge, you're only a few minutes drive to Omaha Beach, a jaw-dropping stretch of white sand with patrolled areas for swimmers and kids but also choppier stretches for windsurfers and surfers. Omaha is a weekend resort for Aucklanders, townies who come here to surf, sunbathe and play golf. They have the cheek to grumble about the visitor green fees at Omaha's championship course - a whopping £13 per day. At six mile long Pakiri Beach you can go horse riding along the sand or hire a kayak to paddle into tiny coves for a picnic.

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