For the most creative cuisine in New Zealand, head to the Matakana Coast, one hour northeast of Auckland. This laid-back area is home to artisan food shops and more than 32 vineyards that produce Bordeaux-style varietals such as malbec, merlot, and pinot gris. Stop for blue cheese at Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company and order the lamb-and-mint sausages at Stubbs Village Butchery. Between meals, hike forest trails or hit the beach to surf, snorkel, and sail.
Where to stay
64/(0) 9-423-0299, takatulodge.co.nz
Built amid a hillside vineyard, Takatu Lodge features seamless indoor-outdoor living entire walls slide away, and meals can be enjoyed by the patio fire. Each of the four guest rooms has a spacious terrace and a two-person bathtub with views of the mountains or the bay.
Where to hike
64/(0) 9-425-4690, brickbaysculpture.co.nz
From Brick Bay Winery, walk the mile-long sculpture trail, which meanders past native fern trees, lakes, and rows of pinot gris vines. The rotating exhibit displays roughly 50 pieces by emerging and established Kiwi artists. Watch for Phil Price’s large-scale mobile sculptures and Richard Wedekind’s steel figures (pictured here: Conversation Piece).
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