Monday, November 29, 2010

Our mystery weekend revealed: Waiheke Island

Many thanks to the entries we received for our latest (and only) trivia question about the destination of our mystery weekend. Gisborne was an excellent guess, and I'm happy to say Jake was convinced we were heading to Gisborne all the way up until we practically stepped on the plane.

But in fact, our destination was Waiheke Island (why-HEE-kee), a beautiful little spot that's just a 30-minute ferry ride from Auckland. We've been here once before for a very quick afternoon, and have always talked about going back for a full weekend.

To get there after work on Friday, we drove our car to the airport, then took a plane, then a bus, then a ferry, then a taxi to finally arrive at our accommodation. All together about five hours of transportation to arrive on the island, which is a popular destination for wealthy Aucklanders. The weather there is certainly much warmer and sunnier than Wellington.

On one day we spent hours lying in the grass near this beach in Oneroa. We lay on a blanket and read books and enjoyed the sunshine. We tried not to stare as one couple made out for about two hours straight. That's them above Jake's shoulder in a rare moment of not making out.

The island has some interesting plants. Not sure what these are but they were so colourful I couldn't resist snapping a photo.

The photo above shows our three favourite New Zealand plants. The tall cabbage trees (we have one outside our window at home), the flax on the right with tall spikey branches, and of course the beloved grape vines. If you ever see any greeting cards or artwork from New Zealand, you're likely to see flax or cabbage trees represented.

The island has several little bays and lots of boats parked in each.

Our goal for the weekend to take it easy and enjoy the sunshine, and we did a pretty good job.

We hired bicycles to pedal around the island and let me tell you -- Waiheke is a bit hillier than Martinborough! To borrow a kiwi phrase, my hammies were burning! But well worth it as we found some amazing views and beaches and wineries.

The two wineries we visited were Mudbrick (above) and Cable Bay (below). The are both perched on a beautiful hillside overlooking the harbour and on to Auckland in the distance.

While we were there, a helicopter landed on the lawn and dropped off some folks for a wine tasting. Still sweating from the bike ride and patting down my helmut hair, I thought that was quite a fancy arrival.

We're so glad we've had a chance to come back and get the full Waiheke weekend experience.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE reading about your adventures. You're living the good life...enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

Those orange flowers are wild gladioli.