I recently enjoyed a wonderful wine tour on Auckland’s Waiheke Island. Waiheke is known as the island of wine for its many wineries and vineyards, a wine tasting tour is a must! We took the 10:00am ferry from Auckland, the ferry ride itself is a lovely experience, with fantastic views back to the city, the harbour bridge and the Hauraki gulf. On arrival at Matiatia wharf, Waiheke our guide Nick from Ananda Tours met us with a lovely welcoming smile and walked us over to our vehicle for the day. We were part of a small group tour, 6 of us in total, a great way to meet fellow travellers and swap stories of your trip, or if you prefer Luxury Adventures can arrange a privately guided tour. Our first stop was Jurassic Ridge winery, a boutique gold medal award winning winery. Lance Blumhardt the winemaker gives an informative and interesting, also quite humorous talk though his wine making procedures and the types of wine produced at Jurassic Ridge. Whilst he talks he pours you a taste of 6 – 7 of his wines, Pinot Grigio Blush wine, Gold-medal Syrah, Syrah Rose, Cabernet Franc, single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc or trophy-winning Montepulciano. Lance is obviously passionate about his wines and loves his job, and who wouldn’t with great scenery, Waiheke’s famous warm climate and great wines! Nick reminds our group that we do have other wineries to visit and off we head, stopping along the way to admire the fantastic scenery of the island and a few photo opportunities. From Waiheke you can see across to the city, and on a clear day, which we had, as far as the Coromandel Peninsula and the island of Great Barrier & Little Barrier, the latter being a nature sanctuary.
Our second stop was Kennedy Point Vineyard an organic vineyard, which produces wine and olives. Kennedy Point is in an idyllic location with views across Kennedy Bay. We were greeted with a warm smile and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, introduced to the resident highland cows and told about the history of the winery. Then with a glass of their Syrah in hand we set off on a short stroll around the olive groves to the area where the wine is produced and talked over the organic procedures involved in making the Kennedy Point wine. When we returned to the cellar door we were given yet another glass of wine their Red Trumpet; a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, and also tasted some of the olive oil and avocado oil produced on the island. A must do at Kennedy Points is to try their Rose Oyster Shooters, a shot glass of Rose with a Waiheke Oyster in the bottom, a delicious treat!! From Kennedy Point we drove to Obsidian vineyard which is nestled in the hills of the Onetangi Valley. Nick our guide talked about the islands geography and history along the way, pointing out places of interest, and happy to answer any questions our little group had. Obsidian is another boutique winery, we were warmly greeted and shown to a table in the sunshine, more wine was poured, accompanied by cheese and crackers, whilst we heard about the wines produced and the philosophy of the vineyard. Our tour of the vineyards ended here but not our day. Lunch stops are a free choice, there are many five star winery restaurants on the island, such as Te Whau, Mudbrick, Cable Bay and Stonyridge. Your guide or the Luxury Adventures team can pre-book a table for you, or your driver can drop you in the village of Oneroa where there are several good cafes and restaurants, such as Wai Café, and the Oyster Inn within walking distance, also quaint shops to browse, or take a walk on the beach. Plenty of time is allowed to enjoy a leisurely lunch, we chose Te Whau.
It’s not my first time at this restaurant and I choose to return not just for the fantastic food but the even better views! We dined on oysters and duck cooked three ways, you are also invited to taste some of the Te Whau wines. After lunch Nick picked up our group from their lunch stops and drove us safely to the ferry. We had a fantastic day, and highly can recommend it to our clients who have at least one day in Auckland, a great way to start or end your itinerary in New Zealand. Our tour included 3 wineries with between 3 – 7 tastings, private tours can be tailored to meet your requirements if for example you want to visit a particular vineyard or have a favourite variety of wine. Wine can be purchased from the wineries and delivered to the ferry, your hotel or by the case back to your home address.
If you have longer, we can also recommend a stay on Waiheke Island, there are excellent places to stay and we recommend, Hei Matau Lodge, The Boatshed and Delamore Lodge or one of the luxuriously appointed private homes on the island, please ask us for more information regarding this. Waiheke offers more than wine, there are pristine beaches, art, walks, guided kayaking trips and for those looking for adventure Zip Lining.
Waiheke is located in the in the Hauraki gulf, a short 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. The ferries run at regular intervals from 5:35am right through until midnight. Tickets can be purchased at the Fullers ferry ticket office at the ferry terminal or Luxury Adventures team can organise this as part of your itinerary. Most of the lodges offer complimentary transfers and regular busses run around the island to the wineries and beaches. If you want more information about accommodation or tours on Waiheke Island contact the Luxury Adventures team.
Kay Campbell is a luxury travel specialist at Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.