Situated 40 mins by ferry from Auckland is the lovely island of Waiheke.
The population is about 9000 steady residents that swells to 45,000 in summer.
The scalloped wind-protected bays are delightful and on a sunny day shimmer in the light.
The ferries with Fullers leave pier 2 in Auckland Wharf every thirty minutes on the hour and similarly the return ferries leave on the hour and every thirty mins. The full time table is here.
The ferry serves wine so it’s a nice transition from the hustle and traffic of Auckland to the more peaceful, tranquil island living.
Finding an awesome place to stay for two nights, (plenty other options here), my digs are called Studio 16 in the fun bay called Surfdale .
From the studio, equipped with more than one needs for a two night escape, you can walk to the local Irish pub, Malones. Reknown for it’s Argintinies and latinos (quite a few on the island now) you can find some fun.
From darts, to a pool table and on our first night there, the infamous drones of the Baby Boomas it’s a fun joint!
There’s a lot to do in Waiheke if you chose, or nothing to do. Your choice!
I head for an afternoon of wine tasting – something the island is well known for: rose and reds.
Starting at Wild on Waiheke, we start with some samplers – all around $4 per taste. The winery is also a craft beer distillery and I am told they are excellent beers. The food looks amazing and if you want you can shoot a riffle (laser) or part take in archery.
Next door are two excellent vineyards – Tu Motu – which has some of the best (and most expensive) reds I have had in awhile and Stoneyridge .
Stoneyridge is my ideal way to spend a Sunday – funky cool tunes, relaxing outdoor al fresco sitting, wonderful wines and lovely views over the vineyards. We are there in winter and the winter’s sun catches the green of the valley in the most superb way – it glistens.
The only downside to the vineyards on the Sunday is the fact they all close at 4pm!
We miss out on the newer vineyard, which reportedly has been $35million in the making.
Eating out is fun, and we find many options in the town of Oneroa. If you head down a little alley way, bay side, towards, Sandbar you can find a funky little wine bar. The night we are there an acoustic guitar play keeps us entertained while we sip on lovely wines.
The Sandbar is nice and open and great for a drink – apparently they can get a crowd in there as well.
Upstairs is Vino Vino, an Italian restaurant that has a lovely balcony also over looking the bay. The food is OK but the view makes up for it… so best you go during the day or on sunset!
We have two nights in town and the first night eat at the Red Crab, the local Thai place. The foods is good, wines a good price. Not the most amazing Thai food but not bad either.
Across the road is the more elaborate Oyster Inn. With wide balconies, a great wine list and lots of seafood on the menu, it is a more romantic spot. We have the chilli fish curry (very hot) and the John Dory. Really GOOD!
Other activities on the island include kayaking, stand up paddling all back at Maitati Bay where the ferry arrives. You can do lots of short walks around the island and bays as well as a 3km art route. We didn’t get to see much of the island’s art this visit but have been told it is a really thriving scene.
Transport around the island is easy – you will need a taxi from the ferry to most places – budget at least $30 NZD to get 5km. There is a good public transport bus which is only $3.50 per person, or shuttle buses also run regularly.
If you are planning on going, staying at least 2 nights, 3 would be ideal.