Thursday 9th to Saturday 19th April 2009
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About 20 minutes drive west of Auckland, New Zealand is the historic West Auckland district of Kumeu. Originally settled by Croatian migrants who brought with them generations of wine-making heritage. Some of the oldest cultivated vines in the country are out this way and date back to the 1890s. For lovers of beer there are also boutique breweries which have sprung up in recent times.
Coming a long way since I featured some of the original wineries in a university wine column there are some very good wines to be tasted these days with Matua Valley and Nobilos two of the better known. Wineries of Kumeu Valley
The popular Scarecrow Festival is all about fun with entrants creating scarecrows of all types and imaginative forms running along state highway 16 and through the participating vineyards and businesses. A great fun day out is to head off as a couple or with the family or friends and tailor your stops to your tastes as you follow the trail. And for the adrenalin junkie; whether it’s surfing, fighting paintball battles, mountain biking, trail riding on quad motorbikes or 4 wheel drive vehicles there is plenty for you too! Free trail maps are available from he Kumeu Visitor Information Centre, 306 SH 16, Huapai (open 7 days 10am-4pm)
If you prefer a more genteel day there a variety of cafes and restaurants with great food, galleries featuring superb artists, boutique shopping for clothing, speciality foods, arts & crafts and much more. Of course the stunning scenery, from the pounding surf of the West Coast beaches to bush scenery and the picturesque wine country round off a complete day’s excursion.
And while you are visiting the Auckland Region, why not take a morning or a full day to visit Devonport, Auckland’s Maritime Village, just across sparkling Waitemata Harbour from Auckland CBD for a step back in time to a tranquil, arty and historic village.