Top things to do

Top Choice Wildlife Reserve in Leigh

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Only 3km from Leigh, this 547-hectare aquatic area was established in 1975 as the country’s first marine reserve. In less than 40 years the sea has reverted to a giant aquarium, giving an impression of what the NZ c…
Top Choice Microbrewery in Matakana

Sawmill Brewery

Sawmill is recognised as one of the Auckland region's best craft breweries. Relax with a tasting rack of brews amid the rustic but hip decor, and order up a storm from the share-plates menu. It's all good, but we're…
Top Choice Pub in Puhoi

Puhoi Pub

There’s character and then some in this 1879 pub, with walls completely covered in old photos, animal heads and vintage household goods.
Beach in Matakana

Tawharanui Regional Park

A partly unsealed road leads to this 588-hectare reserve at the end of a peninsula. This special place is an open sanctuary for native birds, protected by a pest-proof fence, while the northern coast is a marine par…
Market in Matakana

Matakana Village Farmers Market

This excellent farmers market lures plenty of Aucklanders up the highway.
Park in Mahurangi & Scandrett Regional Parks

Mahurangi Regional Park

Straddling the head of Mahurangi Harbour, Mahurangi Regional Park is a boater's paradise incorporating areas of coastal forest, pā sites and a historic homestead and cemetery. Its sheltered beaches offer prime sandy…
Pub in Leigh

Leigh Sawmill Cafe

This spunky little venue is a regular stop on the summer rock circuit, sometimes attracting surprisingly big names. The pizzas ($25) are thin and crunchy like they should be, and best enjoyed in the garden on a lazy…
Park in Waiwera

Wenderholm Regional Park

Squeezed between the Waiwera and Puhoi Rivers, the exquisite 134-hectare Wenderholm Regional Park has a diverse ecology, abundant bird life, beaches and walks (30 minutes to 2½ hours). The Couldrey family were the o…
Pub Food in Matakana

Matakana

Matakana's heritage pub features stylish decor, local wines and craft beers, and decent bistro food, sometimes including Mahurangi oysters. An American-style smoker turns out good low 'n' slow barbecue – try the por…
Gardens in Matakana

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

After taking an hour-long artistic ramble through the beautiful grounds and native bush of Brick Bay Wines, recuperate with a wine tasting at the architecturally impressive cafe. Ask about the annual 'Folly' competi…