Island Hopping for Vino: A Taste of Paradise in Waiheke


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New Zealand’s South Island might be the undisputed adventure jungle of the world (hope Brazil doesn’t read this, cause there will be some heavy comments under the post), but don’t underestimate the magic of the North Island. Nestled off the coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island offers a sun-drenched escape perfect for those seeking a blend of world-class wines, stunning scenery, and a laid-back island vibe — if that sounds like eating, drinking and doing nothing in luxury, well, trust your feelings! 

Waiheke Island: Where Mother Nature Goes to Get Pampered

Imagine this: turquoise waters lapping at golden sand beaches, rolling vineyards stretching across gentle hills, and luxurious accommodations offering breathtaking views. Waiheke Island is a state of mind. 

Getting There and Setting the Scene

Reaching Waiheke is a breeze (once you’re New Zealand, obv). A 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland’s bustling downtown core whisks you away to a world of tranquility. While staying on the island offers a complete escape, Waiheke can also be enjoyed as a day trip from Auckland. We based ourselves at the Hotel deBrett in Auckland, a stylish and centrally-located hotel that provided the perfect launching pad for our island adventure. Fuel up for the day with a delicious breakfast at Dizengoff in Ponsonby, a vibrant neighborhood known for its trendy cafes and shops. Then, it’s off to the ferry terminal for a scenic ride across the Hauraki Gulf.

Wine & Dine Your Way Through Paradise

Waiheke’s claim to fame is undoubtedly its world-class wineries. With a diverse range of varietals thriving in the island’s microclimates, there’s something for every palate. We opted to explore the island with a private guide and driver, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the experience without worrying about navigation or designated drivers. Our first stop was Stonyridge Vineyard, a Waiheke institution renowned for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. Breathtaking coastal vistas complemented by expertly crafted wines made for an unforgettable experience. Next, we headed to Kennedy Point Vineyard, a family-owned winery known for its innovative approach to winemaking. Here, we enjoyed a relaxed tasting overlooking the picturesque Owhanake Bay. Pro tip: Pace yourself during these tastings! It’s easy to get swept away by the beautiful surroundings and delectable wines, but if you notice yourself ordering cases to be shipped back to your home country, you’ve likely over-tasted. 

A Culinary Gem and Island Farewell

No island adventure is complete without indulging in fresh, locally-sourced cuisine. The Oyster Inn, perched on the waterfront at Oneroa Beach, provided the perfect setting for a delicious lunch before our departure. Fresh seafood dishes, breathtaking views, and a relaxed atmosphere – the perfect way to bid farewell to Waiheke Island.

Beyond the Vineyard: Exploring Waiheke’s Charm

While Waiheke’s wineries are a major draw, the island offers a variety of activities for every interest. Explore the island’s many walking and biking trails, soak up the sun on a secluded beach, or delve into the island’s rich history at the Waiheke Island Historic Society Museum.

A Few Last Sips

Waiheke Island is a destination that caters to the soul. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast seeking exceptional vintages, a nature lover yearning for breathtaking scenery, or simply someone looking to unwind and recharge, Waiheke offers an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to experience a taste of paradise in this idyllic island escape.

Pair It With
  • A TV show: Enhance your New Zealand experience by curling up with a captivating TV series set against the stunning backdrop of the country’s scenery. “Top of the Lake,” a crime drama miniseries filmed on location in the Southern Alps (a mountain range stretching along the western side of the South Island), offers a gripping story with breathtaking visuals that will leave you wanting to explore more of New Zealand’s diverse landscapes.

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