Waiheke Island: Island of Wine

When I learned the nickname of Waiheke Island, just a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland, I was already a fan. I only spent 24 hours there, but even in that short time, I noticed the calming difference from the city, which is so close but feels so far away. And with 25 wineries on the island, I have more than a few reasons to return again.

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Looking at this map upon arriving to my hostel was both awesome and overwhelming. Thankfully, the front desk worker pointed out a bus route to her favorite wineries and helped me with a plan for the afternoon. Sometimes it’s nice to let my overwhelming urge to be independent slide a little and follow itinerary suggestions–especially with limited time.

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The area surrounding my hostel. Can you say “peaceful”? 🙂

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The shortcut described to me from the hostel to the road. I keep forgetting what kind of terrain I’m dealing with here. 😛

I set out to catch the bus, and as soon as I sat down, the girl next to me asked what my plans were. Fast forward to: going to Stonyridge Winery with a new friend, sitting outside, looking out at what resembled Tuscany.

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At Stonyridge, we were also greeted by this senior citizen cat, Morris.

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No, I didn’t totally ignore the wine spiel while photo-stalking this cat…

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Misleading sign. 

After a nice trek through the vineyards up and down many hills, we learned that another winery we hoped to visit was closed for the day. (What kind of establishment that serves tapas closes at 4pm? Don’t ask me…) Buuuut seeing these views from the walk weren’t so bad:

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Another rainbow!

Hungry and tired (and, OK, I was definitely getting hangry), we walked along the beach to a restaurant recommended by a worker at the closed winery. So in the end we still enjoyed a delicious meal and drinks with a gorgeous view–another reminder that when traveling, it’s best not to focus on what doesn’t work out. Because if you waste too much time stressing, you might miss your next cool opportunity.

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Just gorgeous.

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These sunsets were only the beginning of the sky art I saw over the next couple weeks of my mini-holiday around the North Island. If I had to choose my current favorite thing about New Zealand… yeah, I’d definitely have to go with the sky!

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