TRAVEL GUIDE: NEW ZEALAND MATAKANA WINE REGION
Updated: Jan 25, 2018
I'm changing it up a bit and writing my first travel post of the year. I had written many of these in the past, in an old blog I had created back in 2009. I was into blogging back in the day, however this all came to a halt when I became a mom in 2011. I just couldn't juggle my new life, my career, and all the other extra curriculum activities I had on my plate. Despite of everything I had on my plate, I never stopped traveling - and this continued after I had my kids (Mama always needs a break!)
So here is my first travel post of 2018 - and I am cheating because this is really a repost from the past. However, I still think it is very useful and I would hate to see all this info go to waste. I am starting with the place that changed my and Mr. Avila's life; New Zealand. Back when I wrote my travel post on New Zealand, I had split it into two sections. I think I will do the same here (and possibly add a section on Auckland because I love that city).
Let's explore the Matakana Region of New Zealand!
The Matakana region is 42 miles north of Auckland, approximately a 50-minute car ride. It is known for it's vineyards, farmer's markets, cinema, cafes, restaurants and boutique food-shops. Due to its proximity to Auckland, the region has become a trendy getaway spot for foodie Aucklanders.
In Matakana we stayed at Waimana Point Lodge, a Bed & Breakfast owned by Gloria and Geoff. This place is incredible (and this word is still not enough to describe the beauty of this place), and the views leave you nothing but speechless! Luckily for us we had the whole place to ourselves due to the low season. Every morning we did not fail to watch the sunrise; it was so spectacular, you just couldn’t miss it. Our deck led to the backyard and the view was green pastures that faded into the blue marine of the sea. There were sheep and cows that roamed the land of this property - making this truly a New Zealand experience!
In Matakana we visited many wineries and none of these disappointed us! Here are my favorites:
Heron’s Flight Vineyard Café – Mr. Avila and I had lunch at this winery and it was DELICIOUS! Honestly, every place we ate at in New Zealand did not fail to impress us. The décor of this place was one of my favorite, Spanish-Mediterranean architecture with a hint of Rustic touches…I am all for this! At this place we had an amazing Sangiovese (which means ‘Blood of Jupiter’ in Italian) and if you are there I recommend you try it.
Brick Bay Wines – This place is amazing for taking a hike and finishing off with a good glass of wine. It is known for having a trail through a sculpture garden with very modern outdoor art - it is really a pleasure to look at! After the hike you can enjoy a glass of fine wine at the Glass House which is a stunning building that overlooks the outdoor art! From this very modern building you can relax as you look out into the vineyard while enjoying the zenful atmosphere of this wonderful place.
Ransom Wines – This winery is a MUST! First of all they have the most amazing cheese platter I have ever had, period. The presentation is exquisite; it comes with a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, fruits, and nuts. It was soooo good! Second, their wine was lovely. Third, they have a wonderful story that brings chills to my body every time I tell it…a little too long for this post but it has to do with their Carmenere grapes. We ended up buying a bottle of this and this is the bottle we opened as we celebrated our one year anniversary.
Lastly, we visited The Vintry, Wine Centre and Lounge Bar located in the Matakana Village Complex. This is a wonderful wine bar that only carries local wines and craft beers. Because of the low season, the owner sat with us and gave us a private lesson about wine and the history of the area. The service we got here was impeccable. The tasting was very different from other places; the bottles were wrapped in paper bags to make sure we did not get influenced by the label. Some of the labels that we liked were Hinchco Family Vineyard and Hyperion.
If you ever visit the Matakana Region of New Zealand, please leave me a note with some of your recommendations.
All images are mine unless noted.