Waiheke Island in New Zealand is a Wine Lover’s Paradise
A day on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island is as relaxing as it is beautiful. The gorgeous scenery, combined with a diverse amount of vineyards and dining options along with the welcoming residents combine for a fantastic day trip from Auckland via ferry, or opt to stay for a few days because 1 day just might not be enough!
On a recent visit to New Zealand we had the good fortune to experience a full day on the island. The day trip was booked with a reliable tour operator that we use for many clients in many destinations. The portal offers terrific access to all sorts of the best day tours & activities across the globe including this one.
Upon departure from Auckland’s main ferry terminal the 45 minute trip across the Hauraki Gulf can be a bit chilly and breezy so determining whether to opt for the very comfortable accommodation in the climate controlled main decks or enjoying the view from the top deck exposed to the elements is a decision to consider from the outset. We opted for the breeze (and breezy it was!). But it greatly enhances the arrival in Matiatia Bay.
Starting out from the ferry terminal it takes just a minute to disembark, then a couple more to find your group for the tour (unless opting for a completely private tour) then you are off to a terrific tour of some of the islands top vineyards for tastings and more.
Our group started out at Stonyridge Vineyards for a brief overview and history of the property courtesy of some of the staff as well as wine tastings along the way.
then is was on to a delightful lunch that far exceeded our expectations outdoors near the olive tree plantation.
Quiche, excellent cheeses & guacamole & homemade chips, more wine….(not pictured – we were hungry)
The exterior at Stonyridge Vineyard
As one of the first vineyards on the island it certainly set some of the standards and some high bars, which we were soon to find out would be exceeded!
After Stonyridge we enjoyed some additional tastings at a nearby olive orchard which featured not only some nice olive oils, but additionally some chutneys and other delights were available for sampling and purchase.
But it was wine that we came for!
To say that this place was memorable is such an understatement. It is quite obviously a labor of love created and curated by the owners Barnett & Cat Bond. Cat focuses on the award winning restaurant
While Barnett focuses on the wine. A quick overview of the vineyards and brief history of the property….
quickly led to tastings of some of the best wines that we experienced in destination – especially the Madame Rouge, which is both outstanding and unforgettable! (and that’s not easy for me to say, as someone who does not generally care for sweet wines)
The Spanish influences and Gaudi inspirations are everywhere beginning with the unmistakably Gaudi-esque retaining wall that greets you upon arrival, throughout the property and on to the tasting bar pictured below…
The visit to Casita Miro was excellent, and if ever I get the opportunity to return for a special dining experience this one is near the top to the to-do list for New Zealand, but as they say on television commercials all too often….but wait, there’s more!
The most talked about and highly regarded vineyards on Waiheke Island has to be Mudbrick.
It was recommended and name dropped by everyone who I spoke to regarding putting this New Zealand experience together, and it did not disappoint.
Well, to be honest there was a bit of disappointment involved, but the lovely staff at Mudbrick had nothing to do with it – it was the weather…gloomy, overcast, hazy, chilly & cool meant that spending an extra couple of hours on the patio to enjoy the sunset was not going to be terrific this day, but maybe next time because if it were clear I can only imagine that the view of the sunset across the bay with Auckland in the distance would be amazing!
Still, the overall ambiance is a cut above.
Mudbrick is not only a terrific place for a small group tour or Cellar Door tasting, and of course an excellent choice for a memorable lunch or special occasion dinner, but as well is a top choice for events such a weddings or corporate events.
Strolling the gardens….
Dining al fresco….
Enjoying a libation….
Mudbrick is a cut above. Next time it will be enjoyed “on the fly” after checking the accuweather forecast!
In the end though, Waiheke is not only about vineyards and wine tastings (although I would be equally happy with a few days here as a few days in Napa & Sonoma), there is more to the destination.
A chill little laid back beach town is how I would describe the primary community of Oneroa. A bit of shopping, a stroll along the beach,
along with hiking, biking, paddleboarding, horseback riding, zip lining & more can help you unwind in this pristine little gem.
When it’s time to talk about incorporating a stop at Waiheke Island into your larger adventure to New Zealand then get with “Your friends….in the travel business” at EZTravelPad for the help you deserve.
We specialize in unforgettable leisure vacations and we are here to help.
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