I read recently that you should go somewhere you have never been at least once a year….
so here i am with a girlfriend, sitting on Waiheke Island on the eve of our arrival watching a spectacular sunset with a chilled wine in hand.We had arrived by ferry that afternoon and whilst picking up some basic essentials (wine) we asked where’s a good spot to enjoy a drink with a view, little did we know that Mudbrick is one of the prettiest vineyards on the island…
In both of our busy lives, it’s such a coup to put a week in the diary to escape & calibrate. Surprisingly we didn’t overdo it the first night…so the next morning we head to Palm Beach and take a yoga class at the local hall. Time has stood still here in the best possible way.
Post yoga & coffee we jump in our car (necessary on the island) and journey to the Far End – where big skies, big views and vineyards make our road trip a joy… past Stonyridge, Te Motu & Passage Rock vineyards, we drive on to our final destination which is definitely off the beaten track, but possibly more so because we are driving a clapped out Nissan Bluebird circa 1980! Most of the trip is on dirt roads, dotted with sheep and stunning views – our last leg is driving down into a valley nestled in a craggy bay with a too cute weatherboard chapel and a few waddling ducks. This is home to Man O War vineyards. After such a drive we are in need of a wine tasting & one of their generous cheese platters… apparently Captain Cook dropped anchor here in 1769 (sans vineyards) poor lads.
Choosing a different route on the way back we drive via the Man O War Bay Rd (basically circumnavigating this part of the island) a great decision – as it is a much shorter drive and we are happy to be heading for home as a heavy mist, clouds and a sea change rolls in…
The next morning is ‘mostly’ sunny so we take the ‘beaches and baches’ walk around Oneroa and spy some pretty coves, a few boats we like the look of and plenty of charming weatherboard houses in a myriad of colours. These homes are affectionately known on the island as a ‘bach’, thought to be short for bachelor pad, a name given to modest family weekenders built in the 1950’s around NZ coastal areas.
By day 4 the holiday feeling has set in and the weather turns, perfect timing as we both have work to do, so we find a spot fire side at the local Italian, Fecine and settle in for a working lunch (hope we didn’t use all their wifi!)…
With my partner in crime we worked another morning, but by lunchtime we decided enough was enough. It had been at least 48 hours since our last wine tasting so we headed to Cable Bay vineyards, with a fire going and some lovely views it’s a great spot to have lunch … Chardonnay versus Savignon Blanc ?
Friday arrived & the local markets were on in Ostend. A reliable source told us about a cute place that had recently opened called The Annex – story went that the coffee was the best on the island….run don’t walk coffee aficionados 🙂 it was good + the pastries were addictive in that French buttery way.
Our final farewell tasting happened at Te Whau – told to have lunch here on a cold & windy day by a friendly local we met at Man O War! He said the position of the cellar door was quite spectacular, and the location didn’t disappoint though the interiors were a little underwhelming. Nevertheless, the red wine which they are known for ‘The Point’ was super delicious and an amazing lunch of beef cheeks & olive crusted lamb really delivered.
Most unexpected to both of us was how scenically beautiful the natural landscape was and the many little coves/bays that could be discovered by boat, and with around twenty vineyards to visit…another trip might be needed to finish my research here 🙂
It was a great change of pace from frenetic days of small businesses and family stuff + going in the off season meant that the island had a really cruisy vibe, or perhaps that was the Nissan Bluebird!
Until next time Waiheke ♥ thanks for the memories…Brooke
PS. Other places:
The Local (best snapper fish n chips ever)
Aperitvo – great for an aperol spritz with the locals.
Oyster Inn – oysters 🙂