If you’re not into wine, delicious food, gorgeous views and friendly people then you can stop reading. I know that kind of thing isn’t for everyone.
Once you disembark the ferry you’ll want to figure out the transportation information. Some people speed to the nearest winery in a taxi. Others decide to take on the winery on foot. We waited for the bus to take us into town. While there are golf courses, zip lines and tree adventures, horseback riding tours and walks, I think Waiheke Island can be experienced in three parts: wineries on the left, the town, wineries on the right.
If you have a free full day in Auckland you should devote it to Waiheke and hit up as many places possible. If you have an entire weekend free, book accommodation in Waiheke now and do one full day in each part! We only planned a half-day on the island and it was not enough time. I am still regretting that.
The problem is that every venue on the island has a persuasive way of getting you to stay a while. But there are only so many “quick coffees” or “just one glass of wine” or “maybe a small appetizer?” before you actually have to commit to a full meal and a bottle of wine somewhere.
Here are the best places we tried…
The Oyster Inn: Those delicious oysters! The outdoor balcony! The skinny chips! The burrata salad! Wine!
Fenice Cafe & Restaurant: We had macchiatos here so we could spend some time in the outdoor patio and amongst the general ambiance. We couldn’t walk past and not spend some time inside.
Side note: Ocean View Road has some really cute shops. I bought my Downton Abbey inspired straw hat there.
Mudbrick Wineyard and Restaurant: The outdoor seating! The cheese platter! The lavender! The wine! The relaxed atmosphere! You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to Tuscany. This is where I want my sister to get married.
Cable Bay Wineyard: The outdoor seating! The wood-fired pizza! The bean bags out on the lawn! The wine! The pumping music! You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to Mykonos!
Second side note: I haven’t mentioned the jaw dropping, unbelievable, straight-out-of-a-postcard views for each place because I thought it was a given.