New Zealand- Wine tasting on Waiheke Island from Auckland
The next morning we woke up early in Rotorua to return our car to the Auckland airport by 10am, our goal was to take a ferry to Waiheke Island. The drive was 2 hours and 35 mins but we knew there would be traffic so the incurable jet lag helped us get going early. We were able to return the car to EZI rental car off site location. Everything with the rental car went very smoothly. We were both very happy not to have to drive on the (wrong) left side of the rode.
Skybus to Downtown
We jumped on the Skybus for $18 NZD each and headed to downtown. The Skybus was economical and only took about an hour. It made a couple of stops on the way to downtown. When we got near our hotel the Crown Plaza we walked a couple of blocks. Our hotel room was ready for us so we unpacked and got ready for the day. Our plan was to head out to Waiheke Island which is know for wine tasting. But we were hungry for lunch so we found a place near by that sounded great.
Best Ugly Bagels
We just wanted something fast and cheap but Best Ugly Bagels (BUB) far exceeded our expectations. We got a the Fricken Chicken and Tomato Avocado bagel (TAB). They were amazing so amazing we actually came back the next day. I can’t rave enough about this place. The staff was cool and the coffee was good and outdoor dining was great too. We loved it.
We then walked down to the ferry docks and jumped on the next Fuller ferry which was leaving in less then 5 mins to Waiheke. The ferries seem to run continuously but there is a schedule. The ferry was not cheap at $38 NZD/ person but the ride out to the island was beautiful and took about 40mins.
Once we arrived on the island it became clear that biking was going to be a challenge as the were lots of hills so we changed our plan and decided to take the city bus rather than the hop on hop off bus. We didn’t know how much the bus rides were going to cost so purchased an all day pass for $10 NZD each. Then we rode the bus out to Onetangi beach. We walked on the beach and took some pictures but then returned to visit a winery that we saw on the way to the beach.
Wild on Waiheke
Our first winery was Wild on Waiheke. We got a flight of local wines and drank the wine under a white tent with other visitors. The winery was nice they had lots of yard games including chess, archery and connect four. Then we hopped back on the city bus and took it to the bottom of a big hill where we learned the bus didn’t make it’s way to Mudbrick so we were walking.
I had heard about Mudbrick from a friend and I knew it was popular so we saved it for our next stop. Unfortunately the city bus did not go up to Mudbrick so we ended up walking up a long big hill. But once we made it to Mudbrick the view was beautiful. You could see all the way back to Auckland. There was even a wedding going on during our visit. We stopped in the wine tasting room and I ordered the sweet Riesling wine while my husband order a wine flight. My wine was so so candy sweet I loved it and ordered another glass. We wandered the grounds and then decided to take a seat at the outdoor dining where we got a bite to eat. We order a cheese board and Gnocchi. It was delicious. The view, the atmosphere, the food, the wine where all incredible. If you ever make it to Waiheke Island this is a must stop.
Return back to Auckland
After our visit we walked back down the hill to catch the city bus to the ferry building. The ferry was leaving in a couple of minutes. We sat down next to a couple and started to chatting. They were from Montana and just happened to be going on our NCL cruise that was leaving the next day. It was nice to talk to them and see what they were doing for our next 10 day cruise.
We made our way back to Auckland and wandered in and out of the shops back to our hotel. We were exhausted and went to bed early. The next day were were finally getting on our cruise ship the NCL Jewel. More on that in the next post. Stay tuned.
This is part of a larger trip report, Please read more at the following links.
Cruise New Zealand- Wellington- coming soon!