How can you capture what is Waiheke after spending only an afternoon on the island? There is so much to see and enjoy on the island, but after enjoying an amazing afternoon on Waiheke I just had to write about this place now!
Waiheke has recently been listed in the Lonely Planet’s Top 5 destinations for 2016. Armed with this information it seemed to be the perfect place to take some visitors from overseas for lunch during their stay in Auckland.
Waiheke is just a short ferry ride from Auckland CBD across the Auckland harbour passed Rangitoto. The ferry ride itself is hugely enjoyable and gives you a great view of the Auckland city skyline, the beaches of Mission Bay and St Helliers as well as the islands that litter the harbour.
After about 40 minutes on the ferry you arrive at Waiheke ferry terminal in one of the many bays and inlets on the island. From here you can get transport to anywhere on the island, via bus, taxi or hire car.
Waiheke is home to over 50 wineries, about 10 of which offer restaurants for lunch or dinner. While there are restrictions on development on the island, which means there are no large hotels on the island, there is an abundance of accommodation available that will suits most budgets.
We opted for a small fleet of taxis to take our party up to Cable Bay Vineyards (book in advance), where we enjoyed tasting plates of olives, cheeses and meats for lunch all washed down with the most amazing locally produced wines. The setting is truly spectacular, even on an overcast day such as when we were there, as you can enjoy lunch with a view of the Auckland skyline in the distance over the green waters and rolling green hills of the island. After lunch I would recommend lounging with a bottle of wine on one of the bean bags or picnic rugs (provided) and allow the afternoon to drift by.
When you have to return to normality, I would suggest a slow walk back to the pier to take in the views, before the ferry ride back to Auckland.
We plan to return to Waiheke for a slightly longer stay next time.
January 2017 – I have now been back to Waiheke several times, it is popular with many visitors to Auckland. We have ventured beyond Cable Bay and can now boast visits to Mudbrick vineyard, which has a sensational restaurant and stunning views over the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland. Man O War, which is on the far side of the island boasts some amazing wines and a great lawn, which on a sunny day is a wonderful place to enjoy it.