Sunday, April 14, 2024

You’re Not a True Kiwi Until You’ve… Spent the Weekend on Waiheke!

Get the girls, get your ferry tickets and have the best island escape possible right now on Auckland’s famed Waiheke Island – the Capsule Collective take you through our favourite places for eating, drinking (duh), stuff to do and where to stay.

What to EAT

Most (if not ALL) of the times I’ve headed over to Waiheke, the only real thing on my mind is where the heck I will eat next and what I might drink.

Yes, there are certainly plenty of other things to do on the island, but really, they need to fit in around my eating schedule because there are SO MANY good places to eat (and enjoy a glass of wine).

Ki Maha
Onetangi

Look, I’ve only been to Ki Maha once, so I don’t know if it is consistently insanely amazing – but that one experience sent it straight to the top of my Waiheke list of places to eat.

Is it Bali, or Onetangi??

It’s the new kid on the block, having opened last year down on Onetangi beach. It’s a stunner of a location, and has been beautifully designed to make you feel as though you could be at a Balinese resort, were it not for that unmistakable view out to sea.

If you go, my only real advice is that you MUST get the seared scallops entrée. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have gone for it, were it not for the two taxi drivers, bus driver, shopkeeper and random Waiheke local who all said – “GET THE SCALLOPS” when I said that Ki Maha was on my list of places to eat. But thankfully, I did as I was told and now I must scream at you to do the same thing to you, as they’re the best I’ve ever tasted.

Poderi Crisci
Awaawaroa Bay

This exquisite winery, restaurant and function venue is like a little (delicious) slice of Italy, nestled here in our own back yard. Its Sunday Long Lunch, Degustation Menu and Trust the Chef options are often raved about – and with good reason. I was lucky enough to be tucking into their crispy skin salmon at the very moment that the news was announced that Winnie had chosen the Labour party to form a government with, thus making Jacinda our PM. It was a truly delicious moment.

I’ve only ever heard one person give this place a lackluster review and their complaint was that it’s “olives, olives and more olives” – so, I guess, if you don’t like olives, maybe heed their warning?

Charlie Farley’s
Onetangi

If you’re looking for a casual, tasty meal by the sea, look no further than Charlie Farley’s. There’s a wide-ranging menu (including a delicious Crayfish & prawn roll, crispy cauliflower burger and truffle & Parmesan fries!), with lots of options for kids, as well as anyone with dietary requirements. If you’re there on the weekend, it’s the perfect spot for breakfast (sadly the menu is only on from Fri-Sunday 8am-11am, so don’t miss out).

Island Gelato Company
Oneroa

Okay, so you’ve eaten WAY too much and could never possibly eat another thing? That’s always what I’m telling myself as I spot the Island Gelato Company on my way back home or to the ferry, and – every time – I discover that, actually I can always find room for Gelato.

I’ll have two scoops of everything thank you.

These wizards make the best gelato you’ll find in NZ with mouthwatering flavours like Sour Cherry & Darkest Chocolate, Blueberry Mascarpone & Ginger Crumble and Coldpress Coffee Affogato. They also do an impressive vegan range (I can vouch for the Coconut Latte, Strawberry & Balsamic AND if you’re a fan of Tamarillos, I have my fingers crossed for you that their mind-blowing Sorbet is in season).

What to DO

EcoZip Adventures
Onetangi

It is ironic that I, a known height wuss, would tell you to do this but the best glass of rosé I ever had was the one following a similar zipline/tree-height adventure. If you’re after a Waiheke vineyard experience with a twist, then you can do a gentle zipline over a working vineyard and see the vines from above (before you experience their wonder from below).

Guided Sunset & Moonlight Invigoration Kayak Tour
Matiatia

One of my biggest bucket list items over the past few years has been doing a moonlight kayak tour and seeing as Waiheke is the closest any of us are getting to an island escape any time soon, I’m determined to cross it off my list this year. This tour by Kayak Waiheke has you heading towards the sunset, which just sounds like the most picture perfect way to see Waiheke.

Um, yes please!

Olive Oil Tasting Tour at Rangihoua Estate
Onetangi

When I look into my dream future, I see myself living in Italy surrounded by olive trees. I rise in the morning and sip my stovetop coffee as I walk around my olive trees, wearing white linen (see below). I tip my face up to feel the warm Tuscan sun on my skin…. etc etc etc. None of this, is, of course possible right now but I can still live out my Italian fantasy by doing a tour of the Rangihoua Estate grounds and learning about how olive oil is made, before buying it in bucket loads.

Yes this will be me

Archery at Wild on Waiheke
Onetangi Rd

Archery has been imbedded into me by pop culture, where it’s either an activity you do to show your charm and skill (Emma) or to feed your family/murder your enemies (The Hunger Games). At Wild on Waiheke, you can attempt the former (never the latter!) and you can do it just a stone’s throw from a delicious restaurant, where you can have a platter lunch.

Me just taking a break from archery to go collect some local flowers and have a second rosé

Where to STAY

If you’ve even been to Waiheke, you’ll know it’s not exactly teaming with hotels – which adds to the laid-back island charm. Your best bet is always having a gander at a site such as booking.com for a wee spot that’ll be perfect for whatever you’re up to on the island.

Cable Bay Views
Oneroa

OK so the immediate benefit of this wonderful accomodation option is that it’s bang-smack in the middle of two of the island’s best wineries, Cable Bay (duh) and Mudbrick Vineyard (both are must-dos!). Taxis on the island aren’t cheap so you may as well take that money and sink it back into the vineyards, then stumble home!

Cable Bay Views have a few options with studios perfect for couples, a two-bedroom house for your girls’ weekends, through to a huge five-bedroom home if you’re accomodating the masses. Think modern luxury with sea views, sweeping decks, BBQ’s and good times.

Trust us, once you settle into this deck with a glass of wine you’re never leaving

Kiwi House
Oneroa

On the other side of Oneroa sits Kiwi House, a perfectly appointed B&B that’ll have you feeling like you’re in Cape Cod. With plenty of rooms and a shared lounge/kitchen, it’s the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend of island hopping – and an amazing home to come back to for a wine and a gorgeous platter on the deck. Plus you have the benefit of a wonderful host Tracy who goes above and beyond every morning with a continental breakfast worthy of any posh city hotel.

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