It's 10am on a crisp Saturday morning. A couple relax at a rustic table at the Matakana Village Farmers Market, enjoying hot coffee and a pile of freshly cooked waffles. Nearby, people mill around the attractive stalls laden with local artisan produce.
Once just a quiet area of coastal countryside, Matakana has become known as an idyllic place to come to switch off and rejuvenate. For Aucklanders in need of a micro break from everyday city stresses but without the usual holiday hassle, Matakana is the perfect escape.
People come for its scenery, a landscape of softly rumpled hills studded with white sand jewels - the stunning beaches of Omaha, Leigh, Pakiri and TÄwharanui. Take your surfboards or just enjoy a peaceful coastal walk under the Pohutakawa trees at TÄwharanui Regional Park. Marine Reserves like Goat Island lie just off the coast so be sure to pack your snorkelling gear.
People also flock here for the region's food and wine which is a real joy. There are award winning wineries to tour, as well as breweries, bistros, cafes, pubs, roadside stalls and even a gelato garden. And of course, there's the extraordinarily popular Saturday Farmers Market where you can source everything from organic fruit and vegetables, handmade sausages, and local oysters to Italian style cheeses and bottles of award winning olive oils.
In between indulging in foodie heaven, there are numerous crafts and collectibles stores to browse and artists’ studios to visit, from ceramic works and antiques to contemporary art. The more adventurous can hire a bicycle to explore the art and wine trails.
After a day out, head back to the village for a lazy evening at the cute, boutique cinema complex before settling in for the night at your lovely accommodation. Matakana offers some memorable places to stay - Takatu Vineyard and Lodge has been called one of the best places to lay your head in the world. They also happen to create exceptional, crafted wines that sell to Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe.
With all this just an hour from Auckland, Matakana has the makings for the perfect break away, any time of the year.