Despite my best efforts to stop time, Andy and I came to our last full day on Waiheke. Of course, we made the absolute best of it. We put our swimsuits on and visited our favorite beaches in the morning. Although the water was a bit chilly for swimming, we did wade around a bit and spotted a large manta ray.
Andy and I then went back to the bach and relaxed for a bit, enjoying the sunshine on our little porch.
In the early afternoon, we set off to walk into town and beyond to go to a couple wineries. Since it was a Saturday, everything was much busier than our Friday vineyard excursion. Our first stop was the hilltop Cable Bay Vineyards. The lawn was filled with Aucklanders day-tripping, so we got glasses of wine and found a great secluded spot beneath some olive trees.
After finishing our wine, we decided to head out in search of somewhere a little more removed. The walk between vineyards was beautiful, with rolling hills sloping down to meet the sea and the Auckland skyline rising in the distance (not pictured due to haze).
We were going to stop off at Jurassic Ridge, which I hoped would be a mix between Jurassic Park and a winery, but sadly it was closed. In reality, it does not involve dinosaurs. Can someone please get on that idea for a winery, though?
We made our way to Mudbrick, which Andy remembered from his last visit as a great spot. He was definitely right.
We got some bread with dips and split a bottle of wine, while taking in the incredible view. It was busy at Mudbrick, too, but much more peaceful than the previous spot. We ended up sticking around for a few hours, because when you’ve found a spot like this, why give it up?
It’s a great spot for sunset, but this time of year that’s not until 8:30, so we still had a few hours more to go. We decided it was about time we headed into town for some dinner. You can only drink so much wine before things go south.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a photo with this wooden morepork. The morepork is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl, and its call is said to sound like “more pork.” I’ve heard them, and let me tell you, whoever named this owl was definitely hungry. “More pork” is a huge stretch. The Māori name, ruru, is more realistic.
Here’s a picture of a real morepork. Photo credit goes to Gary Martin Photography. Wish it were mine (the photo, not the owl)! Maybe I’ll get lucky and capture a shot of the one that lives outside our flat in Karori. So far, I’ve only heard it.
Back to Waiheke. As the sun sank in the sky, the vineyards really lit up. You can make out the volcanic Rangitoto Island in the distance in this first shot.
The walk into town flew by since it was all downhill, and we had a delicious Thai dinner in Oneroa. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet after our walk back to our house, so the only photo I have to show is this great flower.
The next morning, we relaxed and enjoyed our last hours in our bach before saying farewell and hopping on the bus to catch the Auckland ferry. So long, paradise!
Hello, big city!
In Auckland, we did a bit of shopping and had some burgers for lunch before relaxing for the afternoon in our hotel room. We went out for a great Cajun dinner nearby that night and sipped some classy martinis afterwards in a swanky hotel. Auckland pleasantly surprised me this time around, after having kind of written it off as just another big city before.
Monday, our flight back to Welly wasn’t scheduled until 3:30 pm, so we had some time to kill after breakfast. First off, check out the misty view from our balcony of a cloud-shrouded Sky Tower.
I had plenty of time to photograph the trippy center of our building, which I’d noticed right away upon checking in. So neat.
We decided to make our way up to the nearby Albert Park for a stroll. On the way, we passed one of the coolest buildings ever. Check out that ivy!
Albert Park was lovely, with flowers and massive trees. It even had a floral clock.
Although I didn’t climb the giant trees this time, I did have to get a photo next to one.
Some of the buildings on our walk back to the hotel reminded me of old plantation homes from the southern US. They’re actually part of the University of Auckland.
It was time to bid farewell to our digs and make our way to the bus. One last shot, looking up (featuring Andy).
So long, Auckland! You were great, but you also reminded me why I love little cozy Wellington so much.