The wine trail begins south of Warkworth, where a vineyard is located near the highway. The trail then takes in several vineyards on Matakana Road and others clustered around the Matakana township. The region’s slogan ‘It’s Where We Are That Makes The Difference’ is apt because the beautiful green pastures and sweeping views over Kawau Bay give a special feeling of rural ambience. Nearby are orchards, market gardens, potteries, sculpture gardens and a marine reserve.

The region has long summers, warm temperatures and a lower humidity than Northland. The diverse community of winemakers has gained a reputation for producing robust, rich, deep-flavoured red wines particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-styles. The vineyards are on clay soils with well-drained slopes. The warmth and relatively low rainfall is good for red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Merlot, but whites like Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are showing excellent consistency.

Several of the vineyards have modern cafés where you can relax and enjoy local cuisine and taste classic wines. Upmarket restaurants in the area offer fine dining with personalised dinner menus, and a wide choice of wines. Matakana and Warkworth have a quaint, old world, laid back atmosphere that lends itself to wine sampling and relaxed al fresco dining. Package tours are available incorporating the wine trail.

Don’t miss the superb beaches of Omaha, Pakiri, Tawharanui Regional Park, Goat Island Marine Reserve, or the scenic boat cruises around Kawau Island. The cruises visit Mansion House, the former residence of Governor, Sir George Grey.

Take a one hour drive from Auckland City and embark on a fascinating journey of discovery on the Matakana wine trail.