A while ago, Andy and I decided Easter Weekend would be a great time to head back to one of our favorite places in NZ, Waiheke Island. Thanks to my accumulated flight miles, we were able to get the tickets for free, and we found a fantastic little cottage on a part of the island where we hadn’t stayed before.
On Good Friday, we were off to the airport bright and early, ready for our flight to Auckland. I didn’t bring my DSLR this time, so this post will just be (slightly less sharp) phone shots.
Can you tell we’re looking forward to our getaway?
After a slight delay, we were off. The views were fabulous as we climbed into the sky over Wellington.
Our house is down there somewhere!
As we made our way north, we flew right over Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano and ski field in winter. Its crater lake is regularly monitored for temperature changes, and you can just make it out in the photos.
After an hour in the air, we touched down in Auckland and hopped on a bus to the city. Since it was Good Friday, many shops and restaurants were closed. We looked around for a bit and managed to find a tasty Mexican spot for lunch, though sadly the cerveza wasn’t available. Afterwards, we joined the massive line for the ferry over to Waiheke. We definitely weren’t the only ones with the idea to pop over to an island for the long weekend, this being Waiheke’s last hurrah before wineries switch to winter hours. Luckily, the ferries go pretty frequently, and we weren’t in a huge rush.
I think we ended up on the right ferry, though. Look at our new pals, Rocket (small) and Rambo (big).
They both made the rounds for maximum attention, and everyone was happy to comply. Sadly, when we got to the island it was time to part ways with our furry BFFs. We hopped on a bus to Onetangi, where we’d be staying. Our Airbnb host picked us up and drove us to our home for three nights.
Needless to say, we were not disappointed.
Yup, that’s the view from our front deck.
We dropped our stuff off and made the 20-minute trek down to Onetangi Beach to explore.
As the sun sunk toward the horizon, everything was illuminated in golden light. Although our walk back was all uphill, we didn’t mind. Much of this part of Waiheke doesn’t have sidewalks, but there was enough room to walk on the side, and cars don’t go too fast on the winding roads.
The driveway to our Airbnb was one of the prettiest parts of the walk.
It was about time to settle in for the evening with some food and wine. We’d brought microwave pasta, knowing the grocery stores would be closed, but our host was kind enough to bring over part of her family’s feast.
Oh yeah, and we took advantage of the hot tub! This place was unreal, and all for $140 a night.
The next morning, we were up bright and early, and who could blame us with a view like this to wake up to?
We had a leisurely breakfast before heading down to Onetangi Beach, grabbing some coffee and exploring some nearby trails.
Sadly, the nature reserve we were aiming for was closed due to Kauri dieback. Of course, it’s what needs to be done to save these beautiful, old trees. From there, we trekked to our first stop, Wild on Waiheke.
Wild on Waiheke has all the good things – food, wine, beer and views. We started off with a tasting tray of beers, finding a perfect table right amongst the vines.
We decided to order an early lunch, since we’d be hitting more wineries in the afternoon. The sharing platter was more of a barbecue feast, but we managed to polish it all off. Yum!
Stuffed but ready for some more drinks, we headed to Tantalus next door, which is also home to Alibi Brewing. It’s great to break up all the inevitable wine on Waiheke with some beer. We’d never been here, and it was such an amazing spot.
After a couple tasting pallets and a pint each, we were on the road for the long uphill trek back to our cottage. We relaxed for a bit, then got spruced up for dinner at our favorite spot, Casita Miro.
We stopped in for a tasting at Obsidian before following the vineyard trail up to Casita Miro. Still early for our reservation, we decided to have some of their amazing sangria before dinner, up in the Gaudi-inspired back garden.
It was pretty quiet, since we were between the lunch and dinner rush, so we had the stunning view up back to ourselves.
Time for some food!
I didn’t take any pictures of our meal, since we were too busy scoffing all of it. As usual, it was absolutely amazing, especially the paella and dessert of churros and chocolate. I’m salivating just thinking of it. Unbelievably full and happy, we trekked back in the dark, with views of a full moon reflecting on the ocean. We walked a total of 14 km (9 miles) that day – wine and a workout!
The next morning, Easter Sunday, I managed to catch a glorious sunrise from our deck.
We had a low-key morning, still recovering from our decadence the night before. We had reservations for Easter lunch at Peacock Sky, another vineyard we hadn’t yet been to (there are so many!). Of course, we planned to walk.
It was a bit steeper than we realized, and we were winded by the time we finally crested the hill that lead to the vineyard. The churros were weighing us down! But, making it all worth it, we were rewarded with an unexpected, incredible view.
You can just make out Auckland in the middle distance, with Rangitoto Island’s volcano rising to the right. The Hauraki Gulf is a beautiful place!
Down the road at Peacock Sky, we had a wonderful wine tasting (paired with small bites) before our delicious and artistic Easter lunch.
We’ll definitely be back to this spot!
Down the big hill and then up again to reach our cottage, we decided to kick up our feet and stay in for our last night on Waiheke. Here are a couple shots of home sweet home for the weekend. What a unique cottage, right?
The owner’s house is right next door, but the cottage is still private and you get the view and hot tub all to yourself. It truly was perfect.
Although the owner left us alone to enjoy our privacy, her dog Jack was a frequent visitor, or more accurately, moocher. It’s pretty easy to tell from his physique that he’s not going hungry, but he’d still pop over to see what we had, sniff around and then immediately leave since nothing was on offer. He wasn’t interested in pats. See ya, Jack!
Clearly, Jack is a big fan of his mom being an Airbnb host.
As the sun set, we soaked in the hot tub, cozied up with some wine and our respective books, and just enjoyed this little slice of heaven. This is an Easter tradition I could get used to!
Our dinner consisted of leftovers from Casita Miro and our host’s feast, which all went down a treat. We were in bed early after another day of good food, wine and lots of walking.
The next morning, it was time to say goodbye to our lovely cottage. The weather was turning, so it was a good time to be leaving the island. Turns out some storms blew in later on and we might’ve gotten stuck if we hadn’t already taken the ferry. Not the worst place to be stranded, though!
I did my best to soak in the view and make a mental picture, but at least my photos are there for backup. Farewell, amazing Airbnb!
Our host dropped us back off near where we’d grab the bus, and we made the 40-minute ferry trip to Auckland. Back on the mainland, we somehow managed to stuff our faces with even more food for lunch before heading back to the airport and on to Wellington. The only form of transport we didn’t take on Easter Monday was a train.
I hope you enjoyed our trip to Waiheke Island as much as we did, and bonus points that you didn’t gain any weight by enjoying the pictures! Stay tuned for our next adventure, wherever that may be. We do have a wedding coming up in four months, after all. 🙂