A weekend away: Waiheke Island

Last weekend, we headed up to Auckland and sailed over to Waiheke Island, a mere 35 minute ferry-ride from the city centre.  There are beaches, walks and what we were looking forward to, the vineyards.

We stayed at Oneroa bed and breakfast, a lovely little place right in the middle of Oneroa, with easy access to shops and restaurants.  There was some home-made bread waiting for us for breakfast, and this lovely welcome sign.

Welcome to Waiheke Island

Saturday was a little cloudy, but we headed out to walk down to the ferry terminal where we met up with our tour guide of the day with Ananda Tours.

Saturday morning
Driving to the first stop of the day

Our first stop was Kennedy Point, Waiheke Island’s only organic vineyard.  We were welcomed with a tasting glass of wine, and oysters straight from Te Matuku Bay.  What a way to spend a Saturday morning!  We tasted a further two wines there, along with some cheese, Kennedy Point honey, olive oil and a local green herb spread.

View from Kennedy Point
Oil, honey, cheese, wine….first tasting of the day.  The oysters had already been eaten.

From there we drove to Rangihoua Estate for some olive oil tasting and to learn all about how it is made, and the differences between different types of extra virgin olive oil.  Of the three we tried, our favourite was the Frantoio blend, a slightly bitter oil almost like rocket (arugula), which I think would go well with sweet roasted vegetables like carrots.

One of the beaches

Our tour guide drove us round other bits of the island, and although the weather was not the best, the views were still stunning.  Our third stop of the day was at Peacock Sky Vineyard.

Welcome to Peacock Sky

Here we tasted four wines with little mini food bites.  There was a spicy soup, a jack fruit combination on a stick, a pâté wrap and a dark chocolate brownie. I really liked this idea, as it gave a good idea of what foods could be paired with which wines.

Tasting time
Another view – spot the volcano in the distance

Our final stop was at Stonyridge Vineyard.  Here we also had a lunch platter with more oysters, smoked salmon, prawns, cheeses, meats…..with three wine tastings.  We also tried probably the most expensive wine I have tasted at NZ$298 a bottle. Why not when you get the chance?

Expensive wine tasting

Where we ate…Friday night we went to The Local for fish burgers.  A great wee place, serving all the classics from whitebait fritters to fish and chips, and it is licensed.  The food is served wrapped up in thick paper, and tastes so good.  Highly recommended.  On Saturday we celebrated an early wedding anniversary at  The Oyster Inn .  Karl had the fish and chips and apple and pear crumble (bit too crunchy for my taste!) and I had lamb ribs and a pasta dish with butternut squash.  Lovely!

Overall verdict – a great place for a weekend escape from work and city life.  Expect to eat and drink a lot.

Life is better…
Penguin family taking a selfie
Waiting for the ferry back to Auckland

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com





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