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Published: July 17th 2014
Well another morning we overslept - til 10 am this time. We had breakfast and decided that we would go to the island of Waiheke. Waiheke is the largest of the islands off Auckland. So down to the ferry we went. Except that we waved goodbye to the 12 pm ferry as we went in to buy our tickets. We told the guy behind the desk that we wanted senior tickets. He looked at us amazed - over 65 he challenged. No but yesterday we were told that we had to be over 60 when we bought them from this same counter. Well he said, in a very broad Stockport accent, if you want to blag it, you can have senior tickets. We are not proud and so armed with our senior tickets - including our first ever senior bus pass, for transport on the island - we trundled across the road to the mall to sit and wait in the warmth utilise the wifi.
At 1pm we left on the ferry. The ferry ride was uneventful. We alighted from the ferry and onto the local public bus which was waiting for us. The bus was going to Onetangi. The
Look no hands!
Did we mention the hills? The island bus driver doesn't seem fussed to take them at speed.
driver thundered down the windy lanes. We hadn't realised that we had signed up for the senior's roller coaster ride. The scenery was quite stunning. Every house had a view down the hills of the sea. The houses are very Floridian and each house has some land surrounding it and is very individualistic. There are several towns on the island, including one called Ostend. The island is big enough to support its own hospice. Many people work on the mainland - so the island is a commuter suburb. There is a public transport service which, as we found out, is very limited so there is the mandatory car or two per household.
We asked the driver to set us down at a winery. The island has a very large wine industry as well as olive industry and of course some sheep farming. We were set down at the Stonyridge Vineyard. We walked up a long path to the main building. Walking up we found young kids playing on ropes whilst parents enjoyed their wine.
We wanted to do a tour but this is only open to large groups. Instead we decided to taste two of the wines -
one white and one red. The red wine was named after the dead dog of the owners, and to be honest tasted like dead dog (although neither of us have ever tasted dead dog - or live dog either for that matter). The white wine wasn't much better. Not a rave review. But the weather was so glorious that we sat in the wintery sunshine. There were only two other families there. So it was quite peaceful. Then it was time to move on. So we walked downhill this time (I was beginning to think that there were only up hills - we never seem to walk downhill) back to the bus stop. We thought that we would check the time tables and see whichever direction the first bus came we would take it and either continue our journey or go back from whence we came. The time was 3:15 pm and the hourly bus in the onward direction was at 4:08 and the one back to the ferry was 4:06. So we sat like Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore at the return bus stop waiting for the return bus. For those of you either too young or not from the UK and you haven't heard of these two comedians from the 60s I am sure that you can YouTube Dud and Pete.
The bus finally came and two cold travellers went back to the ferry to drink hot coffee - not that we needed the drink but we needed to warm our hands.
We got back to the hotel to take hot showers, change into warmer clothes and pick up the car. Then off we went to collect Caroline to forage for food. She had found a veggie Indian restaurant in Balmoral. The restaurant was in need of a makeover, but the food was delicious. We took Caroline home and then went back to the hotel to do the washing. This was a chore and a half. We were supposed to have a washer and dryer but the machine was an integrated machine and the dryer was pretty naff.
Whilst the machine was spinning away we studied a page of daf yomi. The machine finally let us get to bed at two but the washing was still not dry.
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