Is it just me or does this week feel like it is taking forever? I swear I woke up today and thought it was the end of the week then realized I had many more days to go. It was a devastating moment I think we can all agree.A while ago Edd and I took a day trip to the rather wonderful Waiheke Island that lies off the coast off Auckland. It was Edd’s first time going over and he took some great photos so I thought I would share them and tell you about my favourite NZ island (although I may be biased due to the wonderful people who live there).
How to get there:
There are two main ferry companies (Fullers and Sealink) and both run pretty regular ferry services from either Half Moon Bay or Auckland CBD. The ferry takes about 40-50 minutes and will cost you around $36 return for an adult or $20 for a child. You can also pay to take a car or motorbike. The ferry ride over is beautiful with amazing views of Auckland harbor and so definitely try to grab a seat outside so you can enjoy it properly.
For us the trip over was nearly a nightmare in that it was pouring with rain 90% of the time and I was pretty sure the day was going to be a disaster. Luckily there were atmospheric photos to be taken and then much to our surprise the weather changed its mind once we arrived (ah, even on Waiheke one cannot escape the crazy psychopath that is Auckland weather). There is no doubt Waiheke and it’s ferry rides are nicer in the sunshine but there was something quite peaceful about sitting out and experiencing the ride in the rain.
What to do there:
Our first stop was to get something to eat. Luckily the weather was clearing and the bus takes you straight from the ferry to the main shops at Oneroa Village where there is a plethora of cafe’s and shops to wander through. We ate at a Turkish cafe called Delight which has the best views possible over Oneroa beach. A gorgeous setting to eat brunch and the food was delicious too. Edd had their lamb pita and I had a Turkish lunch plate. It was all very tasty and delicious although their breakfast options looked even better.
After brunch there are a bunch of really lovely gift shops to explore (which was handy seeing as this visit fell just before Christmas).
In my opinion the best part about Waiheke is the beautiful beaches. As we were limited transport wise we just visited Oneroa Beach however my favorite would have to be the more wild Palm Beach (although be warned, there is a nude beach just a few rocks away so don’t go exploring too far without this in mind).
Arguably competing for first place with the best thing on Waiheke are the huge number of incredible vineyards with tastings and incredible views all around.
On our trip we visited two, the first being the ultra modern, classy Cable Bay vineyard. The wine tasting was $10 per person for 5 wines (the price was deducted from our purchases at the end) and took place in a modern looking cellar (which I found a bit strange as the views from the outside garden area and restaurant were seriously breath taking and would make for a much nicer tasting experience in my opinion).
The second vineyard we visited was the extremely popular Mudbrick which although is just down the road from CableBay is a complete polar opposite. The buildings look like they were plucked from Tuscany and dropped on a beautiful Island, hence why it is a favourite spot for wealthy Aucklanders to get hitched. Unfortunately for us Mudbrick was just closing for a marriage ceremony when we arrived (a common problem so get in there early). Despite not actually doing the tasting I would go back in a heartbeat (hopefully next time to drink some wine) due the amazing setting. No doubt it is one of the prettiest places in Auckland to visit.
So if you are looking for a day trip or a weekend away Waiheke is a perfect spot to get away from the smoke of city and enjoy some good food and wine. Check out this website for a lot more information (most more useful than mine) on things to do and places to stay. Next time I go I think we will take a full weekend and maybe try out the archery… You can just call me Katniss from now on.