We headed north on Easter Saturday to Matakana.
It's only an hour's drive from Auckland and within ten minutes of leaving home you hit the countryside.
We had lots of eye spy in the car spotting cows and sheep and trees and clouds. Eye spy with a learning- to-read five year old can be a little hit and miss!
First stop Matakana Market it was so crowded we didn't take any pictures... trying to keep pace with an agile toddler in a packed market is a full time job. It's worth a visit. Great food, classy set-up and lovely shops.
I was also pleased to see a country of just four million people can pack out a small country farmers' market. I love a good crowd - a legacy of my seven years in London. I know that would give most people a life-long crowd phobia but it makes me feel like I'm in the right place. (The big exception is Boxing Day sales - loathe them)
We spent the rest of the day at Tawharanui Regional Park which is at the tip of a peninsula on the east coast. I'm not really up to giving pronunciation tips (as an Australian probably won't ever be) but the "wh" is an F so think Tafa-ran-oo-i...
It's an open sanctuary, fenced to keep predators out (sounds threatening but this is NZ so we're talking dogs and possums not lions and bandits!)
There are lots of amazing birds, lovely views and of course great beaches - the best known is Anchor Bay.
Balls + Beach + Boys = Bliss.