Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 2: Waiheke

On our second day in New Zealand, we decided to head out into one of the closer islands from Auckland to join a half-day bus tour in the morning, and then do our own improvised walking tour in the afternoon. This island we visited called Waiheke reminds me so much of the pear pie that I would always buy at Marché (the Swiss bakery/restaurant that has branches here in Singapore). I did not know before until then that it's the name of an island in New Zealand! Such an interesting coincidence.

This is a view of Palm Beach

at Onetangi Beach -- the last stop of the morning bus tour

A map of Waiheke at the Bus Stop

The bus tour took us to several sites of interest. The tour guide was all the time talking about bits of history and interesting facts about the island. He mentioned that most of the island locals are movie stars and rich people. That water is a little bit hard to get in the island and that there were roads on the map that are not real passable roads because they are too steep to be paved. A lot of the houses look dangerously perched on the side of steep cliffs, I noticed.

The first stop offers a view of the bay overlooking Auckland. And then, there was a stop at the top of the hill overlooking Palm Beach. We did not descend into this beach, though. Instead, we headed over to another one called, Onetangi Beach, which was the last stop of the morning bus tour. From there we decided to ask the bus driver to drop us off close to a nearby vineyard restaurant instead of back at the Ferry Station.

hot midday walk towards the vineyard restaurant... and a helicopter came out of nowhere.

Te Motu vineyards

lovely flower

semi-lunch with a bottle of rosé

There were three vineyard restaurants where the bus driver dropped us off. The walk to the restaurant was quite scenic, but extremely hot for lack of shady trees in the area.

We decided to go to Te Motu Vineyard Restaurant. Here at last we found some tall pine trees along the road to give us a bit of shade. We found out that most of the restaurants including the one we have chosen were fully-booked. So we found ourselves having apéro instead of lunch at the restaurant's fragrant herb garden, where they usually conduct their wine tasting.

It was quite a pleasant semi-lunch. We had the whole garden to ourselves. The staff were very friendly and chatty. The food and the wine were good. After the semi-lunch, we decided to head out to another beach area closer to the city center.

Oneroa Beach

picking sea shells

black baby mussels on the shore

one last glance at the beach

I tried to take a little bit of nap under the shade of the trees upon arriving at Oneroa Beach, while my daughter went with my mother-in-law to the playground. I didn't have much success with the nap because I always get surrounded by annoying people everywhere I go, for some reason. And this time, they were not just annoying, but also loud... a combination that almost always go together, I notice.

Nevertheless, it was quite a wonderful afternoon, surrounded by the sights and smell and sounds of the sea. I realized I really missed the beach so much. It's too bad I couldn't bathe in it. The water is still too cold for somebody like me who is used to warm tropical beaches.

Waiheke City Center

Before heading out back to the ferry, we walked a bit around the city center  for some souvenirs, where lots of shops sell colorful summer outfits. I found most of them a tad too expensive, though, so I only bought a few small stuff.

Thanks for reading and have a marvelous weekend! :)

Up next: Rotorua

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