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Donna’s guidebook

Donna

Donna’s guidebook

My favourite vineyards
Waiheke is known for it's vineyards and there's good reason for this with plenty of great wineries to visit on the island.
Fantastic food and wine in a fabulous setting with great views back over Auckland. With a fine dining and more casual restaurant there is plenty of options depending on your taste and budget. The wine tasting is worth doing too. Get there nice and early for a good table outside to see the sunset, which is breathtaking on a pretty much any day that isn't raining. If you feel up for a bit of an adventure Mudbrick is a ~35 minute uphill walk from my place (and being downhill it is quicker coming back home afterwards!). Walk to the end of Blackpool beach and there's a walking track you can follow up from there.
52
locals recommend
Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard
126 Church Bay Rd
52
locals recommend
Fantastic food and wine in a fabulous setting with great views back over Auckland. With a fine dining and more casual restaurant there is plenty of options depending on your taste and budget. The wine tasting is worth doing too. Get there nice and early for a good table outside to see the sunset, which is breathtaking on a pretty much any day that isn't raining. If you feel up for a bit of an adventure Mudbrick is a ~35 minute uphill walk from my place (and being downhill it is quicker coming back home afterwards!). Walk to the end of Blackpool beach and there's a walking track you can follow up from there.
A great place to enjoy lunch in a fabulous setting. The food and wine are fantastic. If you've already eaten I would recommend doing the wine tasting upstairs and if beer is your thing then head downstairs to the Alibi brewers lounge for a beer tasting (they also do great food).
39
locals recommend
Tantalus Estate
39
locals recommend
A great place to enjoy lunch in a fabulous setting. The food and wine are fantastic. If you've already eaten I would recommend doing the wine tasting upstairs and if beer is your thing then head downstairs to the Alibi brewers lounge for a beer tasting (they also do great food).
If you’re into Spanish food then a visit to this vineyard is a must. In my humble opinion they serve some of the best food and wine on the island. The setting is stunning too and it’s quite easy to get to being near Onetangi beach (buses run regularly to there).
44
locals recommend
Casita Miro
3 Brown Rd
44
locals recommend
If you’re into Spanish food then a visit to this vineyard is a must. In my humble opinion they serve some of the best food and wine on the island. The setting is stunning too and it’s quite easy to get to being near Onetangi beach (buses run regularly to there).
On a sunny day this is the perfect spot to sit at the outdoor picnic tables, enjoying a pizza and glass of vino whilst watching the action on the beach across the road. This is as remote as it gets, located on the other side of the island the drive out here alone is worth it to see a different part of Waiheke. Last time I drove out here I had to give way to Peacocks crossing the road :) Beware though the roads are dirt for the last half of the drive, which adds to the adventure, but you do need the right vehicle to venture out here. Even better if you can arrive by boat!
38
locals recommend
Man O' War Vineyards
1 Man O'war Bay Rd
38
locals recommend
On a sunny day this is the perfect spot to sit at the outdoor picnic tables, enjoying a pizza and glass of vino whilst watching the action on the beach across the road. This is as remote as it gets, located on the other side of the island the drive out here alone is worth it to see a different part of Waiheke. Last time I drove out here I had to give way to Peacocks crossing the road :) Beware though the roads are dirt for the last half of the drive, which adds to the adventure, but you do need the right vehicle to venture out here. Even better if you can arrive by boat!
Off the beaten track, but this delightful vineyard is worth the effort. A picturesque setting with the outlook over rolling hills filled with vines, great wine and delicious Italian cuisine it’s easy to see why this is where locals take friends and family to showcase the island. If you are around on a Sunday I recommend booking in for their long lunch (warning don’t eat to much beforehand!).
23
locals recommend
Poderi Crisci Restaurant and Vineyard
205 Awaawaroa Rd
23
locals recommend
Off the beaten track, but this delightful vineyard is worth the effort. A picturesque setting with the outlook over rolling hills filled with vines, great wine and delicious Italian cuisine it’s easy to see why this is where locals take friends and family to showcase the island. If you are around on a Sunday I recommend booking in for their long lunch (warning don’t eat to much beforehand!).
The lesser known of the vineyards on Church Bay Rd, it’s worth making the effort to go up the road just a little further. Chances are you’ll get to meet the winemaker, who is quite a character and you’ll walk away knowing a little more about wine having chatted to him. This wine is unique, with minimal intervention in the process it’s a lot cleaner than most wines, thus minimising the chance of any hangover - bonus!
Jurassic Ridge Winery
144 Church Bay Rd
The lesser known of the vineyards on Church Bay Rd, it’s worth making the effort to go up the road just a little further. Chances are you’ll get to meet the winemaker, who is quite a character and you’ll walk away knowing a little more about wine having chatted to him. This wine is unique, with minimal intervention in the process it’s a lot cleaner than most wines, thus minimising the chance of any hangover - bonus!
Food scene
My favourite spot for a more casual meal on the island. Great food and the cocktails are a bit moorish too!
7
locals recommend
The Courtyard Waiheke Restaurant and Garden Bar
149 Oceanview Rd
7
locals recommend
My favourite spot for a more casual meal on the island. Great food and the cocktails are a bit moorish too!
Yummy Italian food in a nice cosy setting, especially in winter when the fireplace is roaring. The seats at the front are a great place to enjoy your coffee whilst watching the world go by too. A bit of an institution with the locals.
29
locals recommend
Fenice Cafe & Restaurant
122a Oceanview Rd
29
locals recommend
Yummy Italian food in a nice cosy setting, especially in winter when the fireplace is roaring. The seats at the front are a great place to enjoy your coffee whilst watching the world go by too. A bit of an institution with the locals.
A cheap and cheerful food option with the million dollar view. On an island where eating out is expensive this is one place won’t blow the budget. The fish is fresh, it’s licensed and you can’t beat the view over Oneroa beach. However it does close early!
6
locals recommend
The Local - Waiheke's Fish n Chips
151 Oceanview Rd
6
locals recommend
A cheap and cheerful food option with the million dollar view. On an island where eating out is expensive this is one place won’t blow the budget. The fish is fresh, it’s licensed and you can’t beat the view over Oneroa beach. However it does close early!
This ice cream is delicious, with inventive flavours plus some old staples and lots of dairy free options there it caters to everyone. Expect a bit of a queue on a hot sunny day, but it moves quickly. I like to enjoy mine on Oneroa beach which is only a few minutes walk down the hill from here. They also do good coffee and have ‘best ugly’ bagels on their breakfast menu. If you haven’t one of tried these yet you’re in for a treat.
island gelato company
14 Weka Rd
This ice cream is delicious, with inventive flavours plus some old staples and lots of dairy free options there it caters to everyone. Expect a bit of a queue on a hot sunny day, but it moves quickly. I like to enjoy mine on Oneroa beach which is only a few minutes walk down the hill from here. They also do good coffee and have ‘best ugly’ bagels on their breakfast menu. If you haven’t one of tried these yet you’re in for a treat.
A great little spot to sip on an espresso or tumeric latte if caffeine isn’t your thing. They have lots of healthy options and everything I’ve had here has been nourishing, filling and delicious!
Akitō
153 Ocean View Road
A great little spot to sip on an espresso or tumeric latte if caffeine isn’t your thing. They have lots of healthy options and everything I’ve had here has been nourishing, filling and delicious!
Bar scene
If there’s a DJ playing on the island it’s likely that you’ll find them at Found. This place is where the locals go to have a good time and often has special events on. It’s open during the day too for coffee and food.
6
locals recommend
Found
8 Miami Ave
6
locals recommend
If there’s a DJ playing on the island it’s likely that you’ll find them at Found. This place is where the locals go to have a good time and often has special events on. It’s open during the day too for coffee and food.
With an amazing view out onto Oneroa beach the setting alone is worth the visit. A great little spot to enjoy a cocktail or vino whilst the sun slowly sets. They often have live music too.
10
locals recommend
Aperitivo Wine Bar & Restaurant
151 Oceanview Rd
10
locals recommend
With an amazing view out onto Oneroa beach the setting alone is worth the visit. A great little spot to enjoy a cocktail or vino whilst the sun slowly sets. They often have live music too.
A great place to have an afternoon beverage in the sun, overlooking the vines. They brew their own beer here which is worth doing a tasting of. It’s part of Tantalus vineyard so you can do a wine tasting next door at the same time. It’s easy to get to with a bus stop outside. Just catch the 50A bus which runs from the Matiatia ferry terminal, through Oneroa to Onetangi beach. There are a run of vineyards next to each other in Onetangi (before the beach) and this is one of them.
7
locals recommend
Alibi Brewing Company
72 Onetangi Rd
7
locals recommend
A great place to have an afternoon beverage in the sun, overlooking the vines. They brew their own beer here which is worth doing a tasting of. It’s part of Tantalus vineyard so you can do a wine tasting next door at the same time. It’s easy to get to with a bus stop outside. Just catch the 50A bus which runs from the Matiatia ferry terminal, through Oneroa to Onetangi beach. There are a run of vineyards next to each other in Onetangi (before the beach) and this is one of them.
Transport
Where to rent all modes of transport to get around the island.
If you’re planning on cycling around the island this is a great place to hire your bikes from. The island is deceptively hilly so I highly recommend getting an electronic bike!
eCyclesNZ
124 Oceanview Rd
If you’re planning on cycling around the island this is a great place to hire your bikes from. The island is deceptively hilly so I highly recommend getting an electronic bike!
Offering stylish retro scooters, if you’re wanting to explore the island on a scooter this place is just around the corner from me so it’s very convenient.
Island Scoot
Offering stylish retro scooters, if you’re wanting to explore the island on a scooter this place is just around the corner from me so it’s very convenient.
With no Uber on the island it’s all a bit old school and you have to order a taxi here! However they are not all equal, some our renowned for overcharging. For a fixed fare and peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off I can recommend this company. However leave plenty of time if you need to be somewhere. I’ve had feedback that they can be running late with their pick ups during busy periods. Waicabs is also another great option (for some reason this is not able to be found in the guidebook search so I'm not able to list this separately). They are more reliable with their timing and also charge fair rates. Here is a link to their website: https://waicabs.co.nz/
Waiheke Five-O
With no Uber on the island it’s all a bit old school and you have to order a taxi here! However they are not all equal, some our renowned for overcharging. For a fixed fare and peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off I can recommend this company. However leave plenty of time if you need to be somewhere. I’ve had feedback that they can be running late with their pick ups during busy periods. Waicabs is also another great option (for some reason this is not able to be found in the guidebook search so I'm not able to list this separately). They are more reliable with their timing and also charge fair rates. Here is a link to their website: https://waicabs.co.nz/
Sightseeing
As an avid horse rider myself I often shy away from horse treks, finding myself feeling sorry for the horses. However my experiences here have made me reassess that viewpoint. The horses are high quality, spirited (in a good way) and are well cared for. The ride itself is spectacular with breathtaking scenery and Liz is an excellent guide and horse women.
Waiheke Horse Tours
439 Gordons Road
As an avid horse rider myself I often shy away from horse treks, finding myself feeling sorry for the horses. However my experiences here have made me reassess that viewpoint. The horses are high quality, spirited (in a good way) and are well cared for. The ride itself is spectacular with breathtaking scenery and Liz is an excellent guide and horse women.
If you’ve been zip lining in places like Costa Rica or Laos this will seem small in comparison, with only three lines. However the views are stunning and you end up walking through an ancient forest at the end. And rest assured safety is paramount - you’re in expert hands!
20
locals recommend
EcoZip Adventures
150 Trig Hill Rd
20
locals recommend
If you’ve been zip lining in places like Costa Rica or Laos this will seem small in comparison, with only three lines. However the views are stunning and you end up walking through an ancient forest at the end. And rest assured safety is paramount - you’re in expert hands!
Explore Matiatia harbour on a kayak or stand up paddle board, both of which can be hired by the hour. They also offer sea kayak and electric bike tours (you can also hire electric bikes here).
Kayak Waiheke
Explore Matiatia harbour on a kayak or stand up paddle board, both of which can be hired by the hour. They also offer sea kayak and electric bike tours (you can also hire electric bikes here).
Offering guided shore dives and snorkelling tours, you can even get your PADI certificate here. Be warned though the deeper water is cold in NZ, especially if you’re used to diving in tropical waters like I am! Of course they will fit you out with the appropriate wetsuit though to minimise the impact.
Waiheke Dive and Snorkel
110 Oceanview Rd
Offering guided shore dives and snorkelling tours, you can even get your PADI certificate here. Be warned though the deeper water is cold in NZ, especially if you’re used to diving in tropical waters like I am! Of course they will fit you out with the appropriate wetsuit though to minimise the impact.
There is no shortage of breathtaking walks to do on Waiheke. The Te Ara Hura walkway is broken down into four sections: Headlands - The headlands walks are an introduction to the highlights of the island, all in one accessible space. Beaches 'n' Baches - This walk is off the beaten track. You will encounter the island character of the villages. Forest Heart - Escape the hustle and bustle and walk through beautiful native bush, old trees safe from possums, regenerating forest and streams, wetlands and birds aplenty. Far End - The Far End of the network is a place apart from the rest of the island. Here, you'll get big skies, big views, and fresh air therapy. Below is a link to a map of the walks: https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/get-outdoors/find-a-walk/Documents/te-ara-hura-map.pdf
Te Ara Hura - "W" Bay trail
64 Korora Road
There is no shortage of breathtaking walks to do on Waiheke. The Te Ara Hura walkway is broken down into four sections: Headlands - The headlands walks are an introduction to the highlights of the island, all in one accessible space. Beaches 'n' Baches - This walk is off the beaten track. You will encounter the island character of the villages. Forest Heart - Escape the hustle and bustle and walk through beautiful native bush, old trees safe from possums, regenerating forest and streams, wetlands and birds aplenty. Far End - The Far End of the network is a place apart from the rest of the island. Here, you'll get big skies, big views, and fresh air therapy. Below is a link to a map of the walks: https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/get-outdoors/find-a-walk/Documents/te-ara-hura-map.pdf
Groceries and supplies
If you’re planning on eating a few meals at home, here are the places that I get my supplies from.
A great fresh fruit and vegetable selection and also some gourmet food items. They have some decent wine and boutique ciders and craft beers too.
16
locals recommend
RAW at Waiheke - Fresh Fruit & Vege Market
4 Putiki Rd
16
locals recommend
A great fresh fruit and vegetable selection and also some gourmet food items. They have some decent wine and boutique ciders and craft beers too.
In a handy location in Oneroa makes this store easily accessible. A gourmet grocer that stocks organic goods where possible. A little on the expensive side, but be reassured you’re buying quality produce. For the more discerning foodie.
14
locals recommend
Waiheke Fruit & Vege
110 Oceanview Rd
14
locals recommend
In a handy location in Oneroa makes this store easily accessible. A gourmet grocer that stocks organic goods where possible. A little on the expensive side, but be reassured you’re buying quality produce. For the more discerning foodie.
A full range supermarket you can find the majority of grocery items here. Being a chain you get the nationwide discounts for items that are on special too, making this a much cheaper shop than other places on the island. Located in Ostend makes this harder to get to however if you don’t have a car. Although all the buses do go past here making this a viable option.
22
locals recommend
Countdown Waiheke
22
locals recommend
A full range supermarket you can find the majority of grocery items here. Being a chain you get the nationwide discounts for items that are on special too, making this a much cheaper shop than other places on the island. Located in Ostend makes this harder to get to however if you don’t have a car. Although all the buses do go past here making this a viable option.
Fantastic fresh local oysters and fish. They have some great condiments and fresh wild wheat bread here too.
10
locals recommend
Te Matuku Bay Oysters
13 Tahi Rd
10
locals recommend
Fantastic fresh local oysters and fish. They have some great condiments and fresh wild wheat bread here too.