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Waiheke Island: New Zealand Gem with Winieries and Beaches Galore

If I had to pick out my favorite place in New Zealand I would have to say the charming island of Waiheke- Pronounce Why Hickey- like those nasty kiss marks teenagers often experience!  Waiheke is a small island off the Coast of Auckland.  It’s about a 45 minute ferry ride from Britomart Station in the CBD of Auckland and it can also be reached from the North Shore via Devonport.  The island offers about 30 wineries, gorgeous beaches, and tons of small towns with cute shops and delicious restaurants.  I had two great trips to Waiheke and absolutely loved the charm of the place!  One of my favorite days was spent wine tasting and exploring the island with my American friend Leah.

Waiheke Island

Loving life on Waiheke

NZ sheep

Wouldn't be New Zealand without Sheep!

Getting There & Getting Around

Getting there is a breeze from the city center of Auckland from either the CBD or the North Shore.  There is a ferry station by Britomart and a return ticket is about $39 and can be used for an over night stay or what not.  Ferries leave about every hour but refer to the Waiheke Island Ferry Schedule for exact times.  If you are interested in doing a wine tour while over on the island- I would recommend  the Waiheke Island Hopper Pass, which includes a return trip to the island from Auckland and a bus to take you all around the island to all the wineries, beaches and towns.

Waiheke

View of the Island from the Ferry

Kennedy Point

Kennedy Point- Where the Ferry Arrives from Auckalnd

The Wineries

Of course the wineries are what made Waiheke my favorite place of all of NZ.  The laid back atmosphere, great views, and great wine made for an ideal relaxing day.  Like I said there are about 30 wineries around the island, and I was able to experience about 10, which is not too bad for a 6 hour day.  Some wineries I recommend are Cable Bay, Jurassic Ridge, Mudbrick, Obsidian, Stonyridge, and my absolute favorite, Casita Miro.  I think I favored Casita Miro so much because it reminded me a bit of Spain with their Gaudi-like mosaic patio and delicious house-made sangria.  Although the vineyards are quite small themselves, most of them generally have another location on the South Island where some of their reds are generally grown.  The white wines that were most common were Chardonnay, Savignon Blanc, Viogner, and Pinot Gris, with a Rosé option always available.  The delicious reds ranged from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, and Montepulciano.  As you can see there is a great variety and in my opinion, New Zealand produces some of the best wine in the world!

Casita Mila Waiheke

The Gorgeous Vineyards at Casita Mila

Tasting Room at Casita Mila on Waiheke

Tasting Room at Casita Mila

Cable Bay Vineyards

Leah and I enjoying the view of Auckalnd from Cable Bay

The Beaches

Gorgeous beaches can be found all over the island of Waiheke.  Some of the most popular and easiest to get to are Oneroa Bay, Onetangi Bay, and Palm Beach.  When I was here we stayed on Oneroa Beach and it was absolutely beautiful.  The water was very clean, calm and quite warm considering the weather.  Most beaches can be reached by the bus or car rental is available on the island if you would like a bit more freedom.