Monday, January 28, 2019

Travel: Waiheke Island

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary by sipping, sniffing and swirling our way through the vineyards in Waiheke. The island is a renowned destination for the best boutique wineries and food in New Zealand. If you have time to spare while in Auckland, you should consider having a day trip here. It's only a 40 minute ferry ride away from the city.

We booked the Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour from Fullers 360 for $65 NZD (PHP 2,330++) per person. It includes a return ferry trip to Auckland, a scenic loop tour stopping in 15 locations and the flexibility to explore the island at your own pace. Aside from the wineries, you can also hike secluded trails or laze around at the beach. I remembered our life in Fiji when we got there; serene and rural at its best with lush greenery, coastal vibes and the sun glaring down on us. It was a hot day so don't forget to re-apply sunblock or end up with a collar tan line like I did. You can ride a public bus in the island for a cheaper transport option but the bus stops between some wineries are too far apart.

Look for the Explorer Bus right outside the port once the ferry arrives in Matiamatia. The earliest tour starts at 9:45 AM and departs every 30 minutes from all key locations. Our first stop was a walk around Oneroa Beach before hopping on the bus again to Timbuktu Nomadic Deli for a vegan lunch. We had our wine tasting at Batch Winery, which is the island's highest vineyard. After a few hours and wine glasses later, we headed to Mudbrick Vineyard for our last stop. I highly suggest ordering their olive oil with some fresh green olives or focaccia! I get so excited thinking about it but mad at myself for not taking a bottle back home. Plan your trip ahead since there are 30 vineyards in Waiheke Island unless you want to visit in one full swoop but WINE NOT? There's nothing quite like a wine buzz on a summer day with my husband.

Downtown Ferry Terminal

Quay Street, Auckland


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