Art and Matilda Green’s local tips for road tripping up north
The team at Subaru are always on the look out for new adventures, and even more so now, given the chance to jump on a plane to head overseas is limited. But of course this is no consolation prize given we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world! To kick off our series of Subaru Roadtrip Destinations, we’ve asked Subaru brand ambassadors, Art and Matilda Green to let us in on a few of their favourite spots in the winterless north for weekend or family adventures.
Less than an hour out of Auckland, you’ll find Warkworth, which is a gateway to the stunning beaches, wineries and unique towns in the upper North Island, where there are plenty of attractions, eateries, and walks to do. This is also where Art and Matilda call home, so they are certainly well versed in providing us with their top tips of places to see and things to do that they often frequent in their local area.
Whether you’re after some great food locations to treat your taste buds, some family friendly activities for the kids to enjoy or simply the best coffee in town, Art and Matilda have all the insider knowledge and shared with us where they love to head and why.
Treat your tastebuds
- Matakana Farmer's Market. On Saturdays from 8am-1pm our favourite place to be is the Matakana Farmer’s Market, where they have heaps of local food, ranging from buffalo burgers and whitebait fritters to crepes and dumplings. We try and head along most Saturday mornings to buy fresh produce, catch up with friends, and pat all the dogs at the dog sitting station at the entrance - it’s arguably the best bit of the market!
- Brick Bay Winery. This is one of our favourite places to go for a special occasion. The food is absolutely beautiful, and it’s a lovely setting looking out to all the trees and the pond. If you go for lunch, then make sure you head out on the sculpture walk afterwards. It’s a nice way to digest all the delicious food as well as taking a look at some local art.
- Breakfast at The Farmers Daughter in Omaha. The Farmers Daughter is one of our favourite cafes in the area. We are huge fans of growing our own food, and The Farmers Daughter shares the same ethos. Most of their produce is grown on site in their garden, and it’s a great spot to sit on a sunny day looking out to the Omaha Estuary. There’s also lots of room for little ones to run around in their playground… which is perfect when mum and dad want to enjoy their coffee in peace
- Sawmill Smoko Room. The Smoko Room is a brewery that has a very cool vibe and we love it for a relaxed beer in the sun, or a warm meal on a cold winter’s day. They are open for lunch and dinner and located between Matakana and Leigh.
- Warkworth Hotel. Warkworth Hotel is a recently renovated hotel/restaurant in the centre of Warkworth which does delicious pizzas, and great sharing plates like Korean fried chicken and hawker rolls. It’s a fab spot for a drink after work and they often have live music.
- MR Grind. We visit Sally at MR Grind’s hole-in-the-wall coffee stop most mornings for a takeaway coffee when we walk our dog Buster down by the river. Sally makes a bloody good brew, and always has treats for Buster, so the whole family is happy! We highly recommend the chai, which Sally makes herself!
- Pete & Mary's. If you’re after a café that has a cool city vibe but without the city prices, then Pete & Mary’s is the place! The creamy mushrooms on toast are what dreams are made of.
- Matakana Roastery. When we are hitting the markets on a Saturday morning, the Matakana Roastery is our go-to coffee spot to enjoy the Matakana experience. The coffee is perfect, and the treats are delicious!
Hit the tracks
- Omaha Beach. Omaha is our favourite beach in the world. It’s white sand and clear water are so calming. In the colder months dogs are allowed off their leashes all the time, so it’s really fun watching all the furry friends having the time of their lives playing in the waves.
- Scandrett Regional Park. Scandrett is one of Matty’s favourite beaches because it’s super calm and clear (she’s not a huge fan of waves). It’s a lovely spot for a picnic and a dip. This beach is great for little people if they’re not super confident in the water, or love hunting for cool shells. Because it’s a Regional Park, you can’t bring your dog to this one so leave the furry friends at home. Find out more here.
- Tawharanui Regional Park. The whole Tawharanui area is absolutely stunning and brimming with native wildlife. There are a whole bunch of different walks you can do, ranging from an easy stroll to a more intensive 10km walk through farmland and beach. Maybe you could even chuck on a wetsuit and finish with a surf if you’re super keen?! Find out more here.
Family fun activities
- Matakana Farmer's Market. This is such an all-rounder of a day we had to mention it twice! We love that you get to source amazing fresh produce as well as experience the unique kiwi-ness that is a Farmer’s Market. There’s such a great atmosphere and is an awesome way to show the family where and who some of the foods come from. And of course, did we mention the dogs?!
- Snorkelling at Goat Island Marine Reserve. While it’s a bit more of a summer activity, you can enjoy snorkelling in the Winterless North if you suit up and are prepared. Matty went snorkelling here on a primary school trip and was so scared she held onto the floating tyre the whole time and saw hardly any fish, so last summer we decided to head along and make a more interesting memory. We had such a great time. It’s the perfect family day out, and a great excuse to teach the kids about marine life preservation, so pack a picnic lunch, and make a day of it! (There’s also some great walks if the water temp is a bit fresh for you during the cooler months). Find out more here.
- See some interesting sculptures at Sculptureum. There are some amazing sculptures to see at Sculptureum, and it’s a beautiful garden to have a stroll and a looksy in. There’s also a great restaurant on the property called Rothko so if you want to fill in a winter’s day with some wine and yummy food, this is your place! Chech out the Sculptureum here.
- Visit some crocodiles at the Ti Point Reptile Park. The Ti Point Reptile Park is such a fun family activity. They’ve got crocodiles, tarantulas, and a bunch of other interesting creatures! We’ve never seen Milo stare as hard as he stared at the crocodile. He was very intrigued! Check it out here.
- Surf lessons at Omaha. Once you’ve already done all those amazing things in the Winterless North we’ve mentioned, it’s probably nearly summer, and the perfect time to get into surfing. (But if you are super hardy, the great people at Salt Walter Eco do run surf lessons in the winter too!). We STILL haven’t got around to trying these lessons ourselves, but this summer coming is the one. We always see people having fun learning to surf at Omaha every summer, so we’re looking forward to giving it a crack. Visit Salt Water Eco here.
Subaru brand ambassadors Art and Matilda Green might use their Subarus for work duties during the week, but they have plenty of places to explore in their Subarus in the Winterless North, with all the safety and capability they need for their growing family thanks to the invisible advantages of All-Wheel Drive. Art has grown up with Subarus in the family, so the Subaru Outback (The GOOAT) is the perfect fit for his lifestyle, whether he's hitting the surf, bike track or running trail. The safety features and technology that the Subaru Forester has ticks all the boxes for Matilda, who drives the new Forester X Sport. From the Driver Monitoring System that recognises each driver and also detects driver distraction, to the front, side and rear view cameras to help with parking, Matilda knows that she’s in a SUV that is safe for her growing family.