My multi-flight route to Oceania was the longest amount of time I have ever spent on a plane. Coming from New England, the fastest route to arriving in Auckland, New Zealand is about 18 hours (it takes about 6 hours just to get to the west coast of the US!). I arrived in Auckland at 7 a.m., exhausted from a rough flight of turbulence, and needed a relaxing adventure for the day while waiting for my accommodation. Wandering down to the harbor, I found myself booking a ferry tour to the lovely Waiheke Island.
About a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland, Fullers Ferries offer an escape away from the city to this beautiful island that includes an option to explore the area with a hop-on hop-off bus tour. This bus option brings you to all of the top spots, giving you the opportunity to choose the activities that most interests you.
Like most places in New Zealand, many of the activities and excursions can be expensive on Waiheke Island. However, it was my goal to have a taste of the island and relax on a budget. For all beach lovers out there, this island has some beautiful beaches available for wandering (and collecting sea shells).
I’m one of those “tourists” that typically tries to see as much of a country and city as possible. However, I found a simple beauty of relaxing on the beach, then going to a cafe, drinking chai and reading a local newspaper.
Onetangi beach (meaning “weeping sands” in Maori) is one of the other beautiful beaches the island has to offer, stretching about 2 kilometers in length. As it was approaching New Zealand’s winter season, there were not many tourists on the beach, but that doesn’t mean the weather wasn’t pleasant!
Of course, no day trip out to Waiheke would be complete without visiting one of their many wineries! I ended my day trip with a wine tasting at Mudbrick Vineyard. Not only does the vineyard include wine tastings, but it also has a fine dining restaurant and cottage-style accommodations. You can even get married there too (although I believe there is about 2 year waiting list to book your destination wedding here).
A standard wine tasting costs $10 NZ dollars (about $6.80 USD) and includes a tasting of four deliciously fruity wines from Waiheke Island and Marlborough, New Zealand.
There is so much to see and do on this island that I did not even have enough time to explore (including zip-lining, Cable Bay Vineyard, and renting a scooter). I highly recommend a trip to this island on any visit to Auckland, NZ as there is something to do for everyone!