Have you ever wanted to visit a place because you like the sound of the name? You don’t really know anything about the location or what it has to offer but the name sounds so cool that it’s added to your bucket list? Well the name “Waiheke” to me sounded so exotic & interesting, (much like Paihia, Reinga, Wanaka, Tekapo) that it prompted me one day to ask my manager at work if she had ever been there, that it was a place I wanted to go but was struggling to get friends to commit to travelling there over the Easter break. Her response? “I’ll go with you!” And so we set off on Good Friday, flying out of Wellington airport and meeting 2 more of her friends in Auckland to catch the Ferry over to Waiheke Island.
In New Zealand an effort to rename locations with their original Maori name has been taking effect & in the North Island (which is considerably more Maori), this is more prevalent. The name Waiheke means ‘cascading waters’, but it was actually given to the island by mistake. The original Maori name of the island was ‘Te Motu Arai Roa’, or ‘long sheltering island’.
On Waiheke we stayed in a typical kiwi bach which was super comfortable & cute. There is no hotel development on the island, just little houses and B&B’s which was nice as it keeps the place relatively unspoiled.
Waiheke Island is full of wineries! I couldn’t get over how many there were…we went to four wineries over the 3 days and each had a very different vibe. Stoneyridge had a mediterranean feel and a DJ playing – kind of reminded me of Ibiza. Goldie Estate where we went on the first day reminded me of Martinborough. The decor in the cellar door was so pretty and they were setting up for a wedding in the restaurant section. Te Motu where we went after Stoneyridge was the most simple of the four but their staff seemed to know an awful lot about wine & the girls picked up a few bottles as we were leaving. Finallly Batch where we went on the Easter Sunday was by far the best!! The views were amazing (panoramic) & the restaurant and outdoor area was really beautiful. There’s even a trail that you can do on the winery grounds if you feel up for it.
On the last day we went for a quick dip in Little Oneroa beach – couldn’t believe we were still able to go swimming so late in the kiwi summer but we were blessed with warm weather the whole weekend so had to make the most of it 🙂