Another rainy Spring weekend meant our exploration options were slightly limited. We ventured North to Matakana to check out the culinary scene: a famous farmer’s market, wineries, and a brewpub with wood-fired pizza.
About an hour drive from Devonport, Matakana is a small wine region and popular place to spend a weekend. Here’s what we were able to check out on our day trip:
Matakana Village Farmer’s Market: Billed as a destination in itself, the market is open each Saturday from 8:00am – 2:00pm. The Village has plenty of little shops and cafes outside the market area, so we grabbed coffee at one of the local cafes. (Side note – have you ever had a blueberry muffin with white chocolate chips baked in? Game-changing.) We didn’t know, but you can actually purchase coffee inside as well at a stall called The Love Shack. After inventorying all the crafts, produce, homemade jams, and more, we settled on purchasing a green smoothie from Go Raw – delicious! More info about the Market here.
Overall, it was very enjoyable, but a pretty standard market as compared to the US. The most unique aspect (and of course my favorite!) was the Dog Minder’s station.
Wineries: The Matakana Wine Trail is home to 30+ vineyards, but we only ventured to two:
- Ascension Wine Estate: We stopped here mainly because it was beautiful and reminded us of two of our frequent haunts in Sonoma (Jacuzzi & Viansa) – built to resemble a beautiful Italian villa. We shared a tasting and loved all the wines, bringing home a bottle of The Bell Ringer Pinotage. They have a small tasting room, but the focus seems to be on their restaurant. I’d love to come back for a meal!
- Brick Bay: While the wine wasn’t our favorite, this place was truly unique. The winery is built across a creek in a narrow glass house. They have a (paid) Sculpture Trail to walk, but due to the rain, we skipped it.
Leigh Sawmill Cafe: This came as a recommendation for wood-fired pizza, and was a highlight of our day. We’d been warned that pizza definitely wasn’t up to US standards – don’t get me started on the strange combinations of ingredients they put on pizza over here – but this was pretty delicious! (You can see their menu here.) This place has a rich history (which you can read about here), but more importantly, the had our new favorite beer on tap: 8 Wired’s Flat White Coffee Milk Stout.
Goat Island: We were able to walk off some of our treats on the trail at Goat Island. We were hoping to do a glass bottom boat tour to see the sea life, but the sails were cancelled for the day due to rain and low visibility of the usually clear water. More on that another time!