Weekend Away in Winter

The chilly blast of rain, wind and snow blanketing the country has rapidly wiped summer from our minds.  Winter sport fanatics grin ear to ear; summer lovers consider hibernation.  With next weekend the last long weekend until October – yes that’s five whole months away, sometimes it is best to simply rug up and enjoy the change of season.

Queen’s Birthday weekend provides the perfect excuse to head north – little holiday traffic to battle, no queues of people and if you’re lucky clear blue sky days.  In recent years, Russell in the Bay of Islands has provided the perfect winter escape from Auckland.  Heading off Friday lunchtime and even with a coffee stop, you arrive with plenty of time for a walk along the waterfront before dinner.

The Foodie Inc’s Top Picks

Whether your plan is to simply get away and recharge or you’re after an action-packed weekend, you’re spoilt for choice for things to see and do.  Here’s a few of our favourites:

Coffee or wine on the deck at The Duke of Marlborough hotel watching the ferries come and go. The Duke of Marlborough on Russell’s waterfront was granted New Zealand’s first liquor licence in 1827 and offers accommodation and dining too but don’t forget to book for dinner on weekends.

 Wharf view from Duke of Marlborough Hotel balcony - June 2012

Wharf view from Duke of Marlborough Hotel balcony - June 2012

Parasail in the Bay of Islands with Flying Kiwi Parasail – getting wet is optional so perfect for the winter months and provides a bird’s eye view of all the islands.

 Parasailing between Russell and Pahia  - June 2012

Parasailing between Russell and Pahia - June 2012

Take a cruise out to Piercy Island’s Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett.

Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and enjoy the culture and the fabulous views. You might even fancy a round of golf at Waitangi Golf Club or for a once in a lifetime experience, splash out and head to Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.

 Waitangi Treaty Grounds  - June 2012

Waitangi Treaty Grounds - June 2012

  View from Treaty Grounds - June 2012

View from Treaty Grounds - June 2012

Bay of Islands Farmers' Market every Sunday from 8.30am to 12 noon in Hobson Ave, Kerikeri and if you’re in Paihia on Thursdays you’ll find many of those same stallholders at the Village Green between 2-5:30pm.

Drive to Kerikeri Mission Station and enjoy a visit to Kerikeri Stonehouse and Kemp House – New Zealand’s oldest building.

 Kemp House, Kerikeri - New Zealand's oldest building  - June 2012

Kemp House, Kerikeri - New Zealand's oldest building - June 2012

And on your way back from the Stonehouse, stop in for a chocolate tasting at Makana Chocolate or a vineyard lunch at Marsden Estate Winery.

 Marsden Estate vineyard Autumn 2013

Marsden Estate vineyard Autumn 2013

Holiday parks, baches, hotels, luxury accommodation and everything in between you’ll find plenty more information online:

Make the most of your next long weekend.