Our first tour we did was taking the ferry over to Waiheke Island. A small green hilly island which wasn’t that small in the end.
When we stepped off the ferry immediately we got on a bus for a guided tour around the island. We were told stories and facts about Waiheke and had some great views over several bays. The island is a perfect mixture of blue and green, hills and beaches. Blooming trees and flours, wineyards and fields of grass with sheep on them plus forests which looked like jungles. And from almost wherever you are you can see turquoise water and of course the big blue sky.
When our bus arrived in the small village Onetangi, we decided to get off. The day before we had talked to a friend who lives on Waiheke and she asked us to meet her there. So after we spent some time at the beach (first time we put our feet into the ocean!!) and had a light lunch in a restaurant (directly at the beach), Dee arrived – accompanied by her sweet dog Toto. Meeting Dee was fun from the beginning and I wouldn’t wanna miss it for a thing in the world.
We had a drink at the restaurant and then Dee invited us to come to her house where sitting and chatting would be more comfortable. When we got into her car – an old VW Cabrio – she decided to take us for a cruise around the island. It was as unexpected as wonderful. We drove along a sandy road high above the island, letting the wind play with our hair. The views down into the bays were unbelievable spectacular. Dee made several short stops for us to take in the views. After a while we reached the vineyard “Man o’war” just opposite a small bay. We had a stop, bought two nice bottles of wine, took some photos of us and drove off again.
Dees home is on top of one hill with a stunning view over Onetangi Beach and the Island. You can even see the skyline of Auckland. But as the weather turned cloudy and foggy, we were only able to make out the outlines.
We had some more drinks and really a lot of fun while talking and laughing. Dee told us a little bit more about Waiheke: when she came there 30 years ago, not many people were living there. Just some sheep farmers and a few Hippies. But then someone decided that a fast ferry from Auckland to Waiheke would be a good thing. So the island started become more and more interesting as it was now possible to work in Auckland and live in paradise. A lot of people moved over, real estate became more expensive-and prices are still rising-and right now there are 8000 people constantly living there. But in summer the population increases to about 40000 people, mostly because of holiday homes and seasonal workers on the vineyards. Yet there is no watersystem, neither for fresh or grey water. There are 47 vineyards. And on a small neighborhood island it was successful to breed the Kaka bird which sometimes flys over to Waiheke.
When we finally had to leave it was quiet late. We promised to stay in touch, kissed goodbye and left Dee, Toto and her beautiful home with a warm feeling in our hearts.