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Published: June 29th 2017
Geo: -36.7992, 175.12
We woke from a decent nights sleep at around 9, excited and enthusiastic to explore on our full day around Auckland. Rather than spend our time in the city itself, we opted to head down to the ferry terminal for a trip out to one of the many islands that surround Auckland. The most well rounded, time efficient and affordable option appeared to be Waiheke Island, so we went for that. We grabbed a quick buy-one-get-one-free Subway breakfast pierside and made our way onto the 10.30 ferry bound for Waiheke. We sat on deck for a while watching the cityscape of Auckland fade into the distance.
40 minutes later we had arrived on the island.Id heard before arrival that Waiheke Island has its own 'microclimate' and I could now appreciate that concept. Whilst standing in Auckland feels no different to being in Melbourne, Waiheke was different. It really felt like a jungle climate; sticky, dense greenery and ferns, humid, stormy winds and the deafening endless sounds of crickets and/or zicadas.The main attractions of this island were apparently; wine (for me), beaches (for Natalie) and food (for the both of us). We had a public bus pass booked to go
with ourferry ticket but first order of business was to hike to three wineries off the bus route. Aside from being all uphill, we enjoyed the walk among the foreign ferns, strange spikey hollow fruits/ flowers and pretty views of the ocean and vineyards. Eventually, 25 minutes later we made our way up to Cable Bay Vineyards. What a pretty spot among rolling hills, overlooking the water. $10 for a tasting of 5 samples seemed steep, but we opted to share one (Admittedly I had the Lions share). Overall, fairly tasty wines, the Syrah (Shiraz equivalent) being my favourite. Onwards then, to Mudbrick Winery, 5minutes down the road. Whilst it looked inviting from the walk in, our time here was brief. A deafening helicopter lingered above before an overzealous waiter basically leapt to our attention. "Can I help you? Menus? Take a seat." 'No thanks I..' "Take a seat. Why dont you take a seat right there?" 'But we just wanted to taste..' "Ok here take a seat ill be back with some water". We saw tasting was $10 whites, $15 reds and $25 both.. so we decided to continue on. Next stop, Jurassic Ridge. A ghost town where a
departing staff membertold us to approach the house and knock rather than the Cellar Door. There the owner found me where he mentioned some "closing down crisis hard times" summary and sent us away.
We made our way back down the hill and walked to the first town of Oneroa. We had 20-30 minutes here before jumping on the public bus to Onetangi Bay.Half hour or so later we were there at around 3pm. The longest beach on the island it felt rather remote and isolated. Much quieter than Oneroa. Starving, we stopped in for lunch at the first place for a drink and pizza to share at Sand Shack. Finished, we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed a stroll in the surf along the shore. It was a pretty enough beach without being mindblowing. Perhaps the cloud cover didnt do it justice.Rather than continue on to more wineries we decided to get the bus back to the island ferry terminal. Buses were really infrequent, running hourly, sort of. We made it back for the 4.45 ferry and were back to Auckland and our hotel by 6.Sure our hotel washing machine/drier was broken but housekeeping was kind enough to take our
clothes away in a garbage bag for a complementary wash anyway. Its been a funny hotel.. lovely staff, great location and layout but countless little faults that could be easily fixed that stopped it being amazing; eg. No airconditioning, leaky shower, poor tv reception, broken washing machine etc. Still good value.
Our last Auckland attraction was to be ascending Skypoint. We headed up around 6.30-7 for sunset. $26nzd each. Okay its no Burj Khalifa (1/3 the size?) but it still offered spectacular 360 degree views of the city from 2 viewing decks. The glass floors you could stand on and look down through were fun. We spent around 90mins here before heading down, wandering the casino and finding a nice tapas restaraunt called Bellota at the base of the tower. We ordered red and white sangrias, jamon, croquettes, chorizo arancini balls, mini steak and sausage sandwiches and chips. Wed both agree that the dessert platter was the standout. Spanish style creme brulee, almond cake, churros and almond icecream.We returned back for our last night with full bellies and lay around enjoying the spectacular city and tower views before sleeping. Wed need all the sleep we could get, a big trip to
South America lay ahead on the morrow.
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