Waiheke Island

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End ??? ??, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our first week in New Zealand was spent in a pretty gnarly budget hotel just off Queen Street, the main street in Auckland and the heart of the shopping district.

This was our base for about 10 days while we found somewhere to live, for Naomi to organise her fast approaching work placement, opening bank accounts, to orientate ourselves and generally just to start getting ourselves into the mind set of residing here on a permanent basis - well 6-8 months anyway.

As I sit here now, writing this entry on the 15th October it is diffcult to know quite what happened during our first month in Auckland. Unlike being on holiday and the itinerary is quite action packed, when you set up camp somewhere you suddenly slow down. You begin to start living a relatively normal life except the odd sightseeing excursion at the weekend.

Our first weekend away and respite from the city was a day trip to one of the Gulf Islands. Waiheke Island is a 35 minute ferry journey from Auckland Harbour and is a getaway retreat for Aucklanders at the weekend.

Waiheke Island is a picturesque blend of farmland, forest, beaches, vineyards and olive groves that is around 25km in length and holds about 8,000 permanent residents. On departing the ferry we either had the option of hiring a car or bycycle and as Naomi was feeling somewhat energetic we opted for the latter. After taking in the local township and visiting a couple of small galeries we then headed to one of the many wineries on the island.

Mudbrick winery is a beautifully located winery/restaurant situated on a hill overlooking one of Waiheke's bays and the Auckland skyline in the background. There we tried a couple of wine tasting menu's before heading into the restaurant to share a cheeseboard and to enjoy one of winery's favoured Sav Blancs.

Though the day was very enjoyable, it was somewhat spoilt by the non stop wind that continued to make life particulary difficult for us on many of the hard inclines. After a few hours of this torture we both decided that enough was enough and headed back to the ferry launch.

Since writing this post, we have since returned to Waiheke (and in fact Mudbrick) but as we departed the ferry terminal and took the taxi, let me assure you that no love was lost as the bike hire company disappeared in the rear view mirror.
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