This Saturday Andrew and I spent my birthday on Waiheke, an island about a half hour from Auckland. Having spent a week in Auckland City, I wanted to see some of the ‘real’ New Zealand. Originally, we were planning on exploring some glow worm caves, but once we realized how cold 60 degrees F (15.5 C) felt after leaving a Washington D.C. summer, we opted to try something with a little more clothes on. A wine tour on Waiheke sounded like a nice blend of scenery and relaxation.
To start off the day I tried a kiwi breakfast… two eggs, sausages, bacons, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, potatoes and toasts. Hearty, tasty and just the right amount of comfort foods and new tastes. The mushrooms were delish (a legit kiwi term, not just bad American slang), the sausage tangy, bacon thick cut and it sure filled me up for a full day. Andrew was a tad more adventurous, trying the steak mush pie and then a mince cheese pie. Both were very tasty, the first was a pastry filled with sliced beef and the second mostly cheese with a little bit of beef. The steak mush was much better in my opinion.
Afterwards, we hit up the Fuller ferry to Waiheke. Word of caution to my American friends, ‘return’ means ‘round-trip’. You see, Andrew and I booked a wine tasting tour that included return fare from Waiheke but the receipt said “return fare from Auckland”. Confused as to whether or not the tour included ferry fare from or to Waiheke, we called. Well, turns out return means round trip. Since kiwis speak English, sometimes we forget that there are these odd nuances with the language. But lo and behold, we’ll weed out all the differences. Sunglasses are called sunnies here, and hooded sweatshirts are jumpers. (Andrew’s friend Katie, who made the leap from the States to New Zealand by herself two years ago has been a phenomenal help. I’d just like to say how awesome and in awe I am of her for making the transition by herself. This is such an adventure, there are so many new things to learn and experience and I am so grateful Andrew and I have each other and we have Katie and her fiancé to help us out too.)
Andrew and I were just blown away by the powerful blues and greens we saw on the ferry to and the tour of Waiheke. Part of me was just expected to be blown away from the beauty and awe of New Zealand, so it’s a very odd feeling to see these gorgeous landscapes and just feel like my expectations are met. I feel like I was expecting to feel completely, totally different in New Zealand, but it’s still me, with the same old Andrew and people and places are just as three dimensional as always. Sure the sights might be more beautiful sometimes, but the garbage trucks still stink when they pick up the trash and the hippie enclaves are just as sketchy, but gratefully, the bus drivers are much friendlier than back in my real life of the United States.
On Waiheke we stopped by three wineries, a brewery and an olive oil place too. I could ramble on about them, but instead, why don’t you click on the pictures below to see our stay. Mudbrick was by far our favorite winery, both the views and the wine were superior to the others, we bought a Cab-Sauv-Merlot blend from them in the end. We met a bunch of lovely people on the tour, from Ireland, Australia and Scotland. It definitely feels like we’re on vacation. We hit up Vino Vino in the main drag on Oneroa for dinner, the restaurant was just off of the little Oneroa beach. All in all, we had a really fantastic day. I can’t say I feel like I’m really living in New Zealand yet, but I can say that I’m really starting to like this country!
Sunday we have some more errands to run. Picking up a wire connection, doing laundry and some light grocery shopping for the week (My body can’t do take-out another day!) among other things. Andrew starts work on Monday so I’ll get some time to explore the city on my own then. There are more Auckland hills and wonders waiting out there for me!