Today marks six months since I left home to live a life of travel. I am not sure where the time went, but it has become more and more clear to me that I hope this never ends. There have been tremendous ups and downs, all through Asia and Australia; all have been beautiful, and all have been transformative.
Today sees me in New Zealand with none other than my lovely mother! Though it is my first time here, she came to Middle Earth (before it was so-dubbed) just over 30 years ago. It’s interesting to hear about what has changed since now and then.
Eager to explore something a little different, we hopped on the ferry from Auckland over to Waiheke Island – a place that more than a few people told me we just had to check out when we got out here.
We followed their advice, and we’re very glad that we did:
Auckland is a beautiful city, but it’s not very off-the-beaten path, and that’s really my modus operandi. My mother’s is hiking. By visiting Waiheke, we managed to hit both.
We selected the Northern Walk, encompassing Matiatia Historic Reserve, Owhanake Bay, and Oneroa beach. This allowed us to see as much of the island as possible without having to stray too far from the ferry stop. There are other trails including the Southern Walk, which is perfect for bird and wildlife watching; the Hekerua Palm Beach & Rocky Bay trail, ideal for seeing different beaches on the island, and the Wakanewha Walk, which offers sightings at the island’s biggest beach, and only takes an hour to complete.
I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen water quite this color. It seemed to change as we made our way down the walking trail, most likely due to depth (I’m a sharp one, yes. Got that all figured out).
What’s more, I’ve seldom gone on a hike without ever seeing another person on the trail. I felt we had hit the off-beat jackpot given that we never did over the duration of our two-hour hike.
The day culminated with just a taste of wine at one of the gorgeous vineyards on the island. We had earned it, after all.
It was the perfect way to spend my six-month travelversary, and I feel lucky to spend this milestone in the company of family. I feel even luckier that I have been able to impress her with my ability to drive on the opposite side of the road. I’m sure you can agree, where family is involved, you really really want to show them a good time, especially when you don’t get to see them that often.
So far, we’re doing well.
Do it yourself:
- Catch the ferry (they leave every 15 – 30 minutes Monday – Friday, and every 30 minutes Saturday – Sunday. Click here for the ferry schedule) departing from the docks at Queen and Quay streets in Auckland, terminal two. Bypass the tours kiosk and head for the Fullers blue ticketing window (tickets should be cheaper at NZD$38 RT). The journey takes about 40 – 50 minutes.
- Don shoes for walking/hiking, along with sunscreen, and make your way to the starting point on the beach which is just to the left of the bus stop outside of the information center. You will be dropped here by the ferry
- Follow the well-signed hiking trail and/or grab a free map at the visitor’s center at the ferry drop-off.
- Take a bus or walk to your winery of choice as a celebration when finished. I can’t remember which one we stopped at, but here’s a list of the vineyards open for wine tasting on Waiheke Island.