Aotearoa, or New Zealand, had been on my bucket list since early college. As an English major at the University of Hawaii I was fascinated by the poetry and literature coming out of the Maori cultural renaissance and from their descriptions of the whispering sea to the vast fern forests, I knew that one day, I had to go there and experience it for myself.
So, when a friend suggested a trip to New Zealand, I jumped onboard immediately. The trip was scheduled for late November, the very start of their summer season, and we would visit both the North and South Island in our two-week road trip.
Arriving in Auckland
After a long journey in a tightly packed plane we arrived in Auckland. Auckland is a major city bustling with life and traffic. We were literally lost in the amount of traffic and road work the first night, and were grateful to make it safely to our Airbnb after multiple detours. So the next morning when we decided to ditch the car and take the ferry to Waiheke island for a day of e-biking and wine tasting, we were both more than a little relived.
To get to the Auckland Ferry Building we walked along a brick path stitched with gorgeous red flowed trees, and when we arrived, we easily navigated the terminal and hopped aboard our ferry for Waiheke island. The waters were calm, and before long we arrived at a small pebble beach where geese gently paddled through the water.
Waiheke Island was immediately a welcoming place. A short walk up the hill and we were in the a town, with a charming strip of restaurants, shops and adorable street art. After exploring for a few minutes it was off to collect our peddle assist bikes. We had pre-reserved the bikes at ecycles and had no issues picking up the bikes from the back of the shop. With maps in hand we were off to explore!
First stop were the beaches. My friend and I are avid shell collectors and we were excited to comb the sands for new treasures. We didn’t find much, but the white sand beaches were absolutely gorgeous and we enjoyed exploring the rocky coast line before heading up to our first vineyard.
We thought we loved the beaches, but the vineyards were even more spectacular. Our first stop was Obsidian Vineyard where our tastebuds were delighted by a refreshing pinot gris. It was so delicious we almost bought a bottle, but with a full day of exploring left to do, we decided to hold off on the purchase.
Next we were off to lunch at Casita Miro. As we rode down the sandy gravel road to the restaurant we were greeted with sweeping views of the vineyards and the soft fragrance of blooming roses. We hadn’t even arrived yet, and already we knew we had stumbled upon something special. It turns out the Spanish bistro was not only a visual paradise, but a culinary one as well. We shared delicious tapas and wine tastings and left completely content and a bit tipsy on good company, spectacular views, tasty librations and amazing food.
An Amazing Experience
As the day went on, we rode our e-bikes from vineyard to vineyard having sips of all the delicious wines and soaking in the immeasurable beauty of the island. In each place we were greeted with genuine hospitality and a casual, relaxing atmosphere. Everything on Waiheke Island was stunning and so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but I highly recommend you spend a day in Waiheke if you are ever in Auckland, NZ.
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