Over the summer break I spent a week on the stunning Waiheke Island and a large chunk of that time was spent drinking the beautiful wines that are produced by the many wineries on the island.
Waiheke Island is located 40 minutes by ferry from Auckland, although it’s a short ride once you’re there you feel like you are a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s a range of stunning beaches, gorgeous wineries, cute shops, art galleries and so much more.
I took my car over with Sealink as we were staying for a week, however the island has a great bus service or you can hire a car or scooter from near the main ferry terminal if you decide to take the passenger ferry instead.
We stayed at a private house called Serenity which is managed by Waiheke Unlimited. Amazingly we were the first ever people to stay there as it’s a brand new build. For a large group it’s perfect, as it has three bedrooms (a master with ensuite, another room with a double and a third room with a double and a single), and downstairs is a small rumpus room that has a pull out sofa bed. It’s in a pretty good location too, with Palm Beach and Enclosure Bay within walking distance, and only a 5 minute drive to Oneroa, the main town.
Whilst we were on Waiheke we visited three wineries, however there are around 30 on the island. There is a bus that goes to many of the main ones called the Vineyard Hopper.
Man O War
Man O War is quite far out and involves around a 10km drive down a gravel road, so I highly recommend you do this one when you have access to a car. However it is well worth the trip, once you reach the winery the road opens up onto a Pohutukawa lined carpark right next to the ocean. Climb over the stile and you’ll find yourself in a large relaxed garden bar with views of the sea. Grab a table or some bean bags and settle in for a lazy afternoon.
They do complimentary tastings here however you can do a tutor tasting for $20 but you do need to book. I highly recommend the Pinot Gris and the Sauvignon Blanc, the Rosé is also nice but a bit sweet for my liking. They offer platters here too, so have a tasting, grab a bottle to go with a platter and enjoy!
Obsidian is a small,boutique winery nestled close to Casita Miro. When I say small I mean small, a few tables and bar leaners amongst the vines but still a lovely setting. Tastings here are only $10 for 5-6 wines, if you purchase any wine they’ll waive the tasting fee. To drink or purchase go with the Pinot Gris, the Montepulciano and the Syrah.
Set next door to Stoney Ridge and Wild on Waiheke is the newest winery on Waiheke, Tantalus Estate. We had a lunch booked here and as we had some time to kill we also had a tasting. It’s $10 for the normal range and $15 for the premium, each of these offer 5 wines. My favourites here are the Rosé and the Chardonnay.
The decor of the dining room is beautiful, natural timbers, dark joinery yet plenty of light and space. The light fittings are made from the old Sauvignon Blanc vines which they no longer grow on the winery. The menu is limited yet divine, our group had the pork shoulder, beef tataki, pork belly, venison loin, oysters, gnocchi and of course the truffle fries! Everything was absolutely delicious and impeccably presented, I highly recommend a visit here.
There are plenty of other wineries on the island, I didn’t visit many during this week but I have been to Mud Brick, Cable Bay, Batch and Goldie, all of these are well worth a visit too.