Waiheke is one of those magical places that you think only exist in fairy tales, or the lives of super yacht owners. Luckily for Aucklanders, or anyone visiting Auckland, Waiheke is very easy to get to, only an hour’s ferry ride from Auckland harbour and at around NZ$20 one way that’s really not bad at all.
To take a car across it’s obviously more – around NZ$170 return. Accommodation is very reasonable and Air BnB has a fine selection of beautiful houses on offer, in addition to the vineyard hotels dotted about the island.
You’ll realise you’ve come home when the first signpost you see on the island states ‘Slow Down, You’re Here.’ You almost feel like relaxing is enforced here, and that’s a good thing, how can you possibly rush and be stressed on an island like this. The main town, or more of a village with the essentials is Oneroa in the North West of the island. Here you will find your grocery store, surf and swimwear stores, a couple of beach front bars and restaurants.
People come across to the island primarily for wine tasting adventures, but with the beautiful scenery many people choose to do such adventures by bike rather than car (you’d need to be a bit mad to do this in the summer as it can be pretty warm, and a challenge to ride while drunk). But, when in Waiheke, anything goes. For a four day trip you can expect to cover between 3 and 6 vineyards, depending on if you want to go to several that are close together, or the farther reaching ones.
Our first vineyard was actually my favourite in terms of the wine on offer, Man O’War is found at the very eastern tip of Waiheke island. This vineyard is all encompassing that not only do they do arguably the best wine on the island, they also prepare their own honey from that chiefly Pohutekawa tree, but they also produce their own award-winning olive oils – winner of numerous awards including several Las Vegas olive oil awards! Overlooking the beautiful Man O’War bay, don’t rush this one, it’s easy to spend a large part of the day here, tasting wine with accompanying cheeses and charcuterie board, followed by a lovely swim and paddle in the bay. The important lesson that you should have learnt from the sign post by now is ‘Slow Down’.