Each trip is never the same, as the saying goes (or not. I just made it up.) I’ve been to Waiheke last December, but today I decided to join Katie, an American Physics teachers who just moved to Auckland. (I’ve been meeting a lot of teachers lately. Is this a sign?!)
I was hesitant at first because I wanted to do something new.
“How about Devonport?” I asked Katie when we were still on planning stage.
“Oh I’ve been to Devonport. You should go there though!”
Damn it. “We should think of something we both haven’t been to. I’ll check my Lonely Planet book to figure out places we can visit.”
I did a quick look on my book and opted to explore the island again. Waiheke is huge after all. The last time we were there, Paddy and I didn’t expect it to look like a big town. You even have to use the bus to go to places. We were so unprepared but thankfully my travel buddy then was good in asking directions and figuring out where to go next.
Katie and I met up at Fullers (99 Quay Street) at 10 AM to buy our tickets for the 10:30 trip. Waiheke is just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland. The return trip costs $36.
As soon as we arrived at Waiheke, I bought a sandwich (My appetite has been increasing lately. This is worrying and one of the reasons I run everyday. Not sure if it’s stress, the cold weather at night, or New Zealand’s food is just really good.)
While I was eating my sandwich and being fat, Katie was busy looking at Waiheke’s map. Pointing to a page on my book, I suggested we go to Oneroa Village as there are a lot of things in it. Happily, she told me she discovered we could just walk to it and then it’s 2 hours walk in total towards Palm Beach. 2 hours, that’s nothing. Or so I thought.
Just at the opening of the village, there’s a street sign for the art gallery. We checked it out because hey it’s free. I’m surprised I actually enjoyed the art there. A lot of galleries lately have been boring me as I’ve discovered I love nature and activities more than galleries and dull museums.
The Daleks particularly made me excited. “Oh Daleks!” I turned to Katie. “Do you watch Doctor Who?!” Unfortunately she doesn’t but that didn’t stop me smiling like a lottery winner here.
Meanwhile on the street, there’s a little girl riding a horse.
We reached Oneroa beach soon. The seashell-filled sand there was really nice, and the smell of the sea made me blurt out “I want seafood.” (Now I’m hungry again. Thanks for that, writing.)
We unexpectedly saw Dragonfired. It’s a pizza shop featured on Lonely Planet and boasts of their wood-fired cheap pizza.
It was good and for $12, that’s a bargain. Katie and I agreed to share it because even though I’m eating more lately, I can’t still finish a whole pizza by myself. I do have Asian little stomach after all.
Katie and I talked about writing while eating. She runs a travel blog and writes for a food and wine online magazine. I’m impressed. We concluded our writing talk with “I should write more.” (And that’s partly why this post exists.)
We also quickly talked about wanting to get a good camera but how they’re so expensive, her plans to travel Australia, my amazement at Sydney’s mind-blowing architecture.
We continued our walk and this time, it was much longer.
“It’s still 40 minutes from here to Palm Beach. Are you okay with that?” Katie asked.
“Yeah that’s okay! I need to burn off that pizza.” She laughed and we continued walking under the goddamn heat. I’m definitely going to plunge to that beach, I thought.
Then finally we reached the route to Little Palm Beach!
Katie talked to the bus driver next to us.
“The bus driver said it’s a nudist beach,” she said as though it’s a warning.
“No that’s just the little part. The bigger part is normal,” I told her as this was the beach I swam at before. And yes, there were definitely nude people at one section of the beach. It’s not much of a big deal, although it was still interesting walking there.
When we finally got to Palm Beach, I swam for a long time as I was really enjoying it. I was surprised the water wasn’t cold. The last time we swam there, the water was freezing. Later that night I got flu. So great.
Also I’m really proud of myself I can swim better a bit. Self-improvement hey. The other day I tried to teach myself how to bike. As I’m still writing this, yes I’m still alive, but really bruised. I realised just after the learning session that part of my arm was bleeding. My body still hurts but doesn’t stop me from doing activities.
As much as I was really enjoying swimming this time, I noticed my travel buddy wasn’t too keen to swim so I asked her if she’d like to go to a winery and she said yes. Wine tasting was on my to-do list before but never got around to it. We walked to Cable Bay. The area looked beautiful.
It’s $10/person and refundable if you buy any two bottles.
“Ugh I didn’t bring my passport.” I was worried they wouldn’t serve me wine. One of the bars I’ve been to asked for I.D. because they thought I was under 18. Thanks, Asian genes.
Thankfully this place didn’t bother about that. Probably because it’s just tasting. Probably they thought I would buy bottles of wine. Profit > Legality. (I’m being a cynical ass again. Maybe I just looked older today.)
Here’s the list of wines that we sampled.
“Do you like any of those?” I asked Katie when we were outside the cellar. Katie said no and I agreed. “They taste all the same to me!” Ok, that’s not true. They didn’t taste the same. There were varying degrees of how bad they were.
“I usually like wines. But I don’t like any of those,” Katie told me.
When I try strong wines, I keep thinking This is atrocious. How can people like drinking this. (Please don’t stone me to death, wine lovers.)
The only wine so far that I really love is Banrock. It’s Australian-made, with low alcohol content, which helps with the sweet taste. I love it so much that I drank 2 glasses of it one time when I was at Penny’s bbq dinner. I got tipsy but it was the nice kind of tipsy. Now I’m having a craving for it. (Grocery list item added: Banrock.)
After the wine experience (which wasn’t so bad at all despite my whining here. I actually love that I did it), we walked back to the ferry terminal.
On our way back we sat opposite a middle-aged couple. He kept on caressing her leg and arm. Even though I was not looking at them, I couldn’t help but see what he’s doing through my peripheral vision. I was irritated of it (because I’m a bitter old woman and all.)
“This guy is annoying. He clearly wants sex after this. Why did we choose to sit here,” I typed on my phone and showed to Katie. We both laughed at the ridiculousness of it.
That ends our Waiheke trip. And that’s it for today.
I lied. I got hungry again and decided to revisit Food Alley, a shop at CBD that sells super cheap Asian meals. I got this bento box for $11.50. (Any meal under $15 is cheap in NZ.)
I didn’t finish it though (see above re: Asian stomach) and decided to have the rest for take away. That’s lunch sorted out.
Good day over all. I can see now why Aucklanders love going back to Waiheke especially in summer. There are still other areas there that I haven’t checked out and who knows, I might visit it again for the next session of walking, swimming, eating, and wine tasting. Described this way, Waiheke seems to have everything to make you enjoy life. And it definitely does.
QUICK WAIHEKE ITINERARY
- From the ferry terminal, get a map.
- Walk to Oneroa Village.
- Visit the free art gallery.
- Walk to Oneroa beach.
- Get Dragonfired pizza.
- Follow the track going to Little Palm Beach.
- Swim at the awesome Little Palm Beach.
- Do wine tasting (you could do Cable Bay but probably better to try something else if you’ve got options.)
- Walk back to the ferry terminal (if you’re coming from Cable Bay).