Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wineing on Waiheke

A fast ferry ride.
Our apartment here in Auckland is right on Princes Wharf on the waterfront. It is named Shed 19 after the freight shed that used to occupy the site. Out on the balcony we overlook the main ferry terminal for the city and there is a constant swarm of catamaran ferries coming and going until late at night. They seem to head out in all directions, and you cannot help but wonder where they all go.

A view from the top of the island
On the recommendation of my cousin who lives here, we took a ferry to one of the popular destinations, Waiheke Island. This island, 40 minutes away by ferry is about 90 square Kilometers and has approx. 8000 inhabitants. It is nick-named “The island of wine” for the 17 vineyards scattered around the island. That seemed a good reason to choose this island over the many scattered throughout the area.

We booked a return ferry ride on a “Fuller Fastcat”, a guided bus tour when we arrived and then an all-day pass on the local bus system. The ferry ride over was a comfortable, fast trip out the harbour past many of the sites we had visited with my cousin days before. There was a bus waiting for us and our German tour guide had lived on the island for 10 years and gave excellent friendly advice and information so that by the time we got to the farthest end of the tour we had a good idea of what we wanted to do. We hopped off the bus at a stop conveniently close to a good sample of the island’s wineries, and chose one that brewed
Doesn't taste like $200.00
beer as well as making wine.

The “Wild on Waiheke” winery is an ambitious enterprise, having not only wine and beer but also a restaurant. They also have laser skeet shooting and archery. I’m not so sure about the combination of lots of wine and beer with bows and sharp arrows, but the rowdy crowd there when we arrived seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Seriously, helicopters to a wine tasting?
After lunch, we wandered up to the next winery, but the least expensive wine was $90.00 so we decided this was a bit out of our normal range so we walked on. In the next one “Te Motu” we met a friendly Croatian sommelier, who led us in tasting a good variety of wines from $30 to $195. It was an experience to taste the $195.00, 16 year old vintage, but I found I preferred the $39.00 bottle. The final winery in the area was next door behind a high hedge, but the two large helicopters parked out front gave us a pretty good idea that this one was also out of our league, and the $8.00 tasting fee confirmed our initial opinion. That was $8.00 for each taste; not an $8.00 glass.

Then taking the excellent local bus, we got off at a wrong stop, got slightly lost, found a wonderful “track” along the coast, walked to the next town, caught the right bus, and arrived back at the ferry to head home.
On "Track" to get unlost.

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