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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: -36.7992, 175.12
16th-17th May - Waiheke Island
The 16th May is Alan's birthday and we celebrated it on Waiheke ("Cascading Waters"😉, one of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf east of Auckland. Its main claims to fame are its beautiful beaches and its vineyards and it is also a popular haunt of artists.
We have rented a cottage for a couple of days so we could have a change of pace after all the travelling we've been doing. It is a 50 minute journey by car ferry from Auckland but seems a million miles away from the busy city. The main “town” is called Oneroa (Long Beach) and two of the other settlements are Blackpool and Ostend –I kid you not ! The sun shone for us today and so Alan spent his birthday on a lovely, secluded beach topping up his tan while I kept sensibly covered up and paddled in the sea. Since we are self-catering Alan was very excited to be able to cook again after nearly 3 weeks. Bless....
The following day, which Alan pointed out was also his birthday UK time, we decided to explore the eastern end of the island which is very sparsely inhabited and mainly given
over to farms and vineyards. It is much hillier and part of the loop road which goes round it is unmetalled so it was quite a challenging drive. At Stony Batter are the remains of a WW2 gun emplacement and a network of underground tunnels which housed a secret military base designed to defend New Zealand in the event of a Japanese attack. The attack never came and the guns were removed after the war but the remnants above ground seem strangely out of place in such a beautiful landscape. It was such a lovely sunny day that neither of us fancied being underground in dark, gloomy tunnels so we skipped that bit and continued our journey. On the way we stopped Man O'War Bay where Capt Cook dropped anchor in 1769 to take on supplies. We suspect the gents toilet at the back of the beach dates from the time of his visit.
For such a small island Waiheke has an amazing variety of scenery and plenty to do. No wonder it is so popular with New Zealand holiday-makers.
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