If you’re sitting at your desk planning your next vacation, or checking up your favourite Instagram accounts for inspiration on the commute home from work, chances are you’d rather be in New Zealand sipping wine and soaking up the beautiful island views that Waiheke has to offer. Located just a 35 minute, ferry ride from downtown Auckland, (a few minutes longer on the car ferry), Waiheke Island is a tranquil, beautiful jewel in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Waiheke Island has an abundance of award-winning restaurants, cafe’s, and vineyards. Need an escape? Keep reading and check out my list of noteworthy vineyards.
A white shingle drive leads you to the intimate location of Stonyridge nestled amongst a valley of olive trees and their vibrant vineyards. Specialising in red wines, particularly the Cabernet varieties, Stonyridge has some of the highest accolades from the likes of The Wine Advocate, Lonely Planet in 2015, The Guardian and not forgetting my sister Natalie. The family’s very own connoisseur of wines, who worked at Stonyridge during the 2016 season.
We enjoyed a great afternoon wine tasting and nibbling on the great variety of snacks the restaurant has to offer while soaking up the astonishing scenery.
Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant
Mudbrick not unlike the other vineyards you will come across is Waiheke, can be found tucked away in the hill-side of Church Bay road. Completely constructed of Mudbrick the unique building adds to the ambience and romance of the setting. A perfect venue for a wedding, party or private function or just a simple stop for wine tasting and lunch. Patrick Newton of Mudbrick has also been named Riedel Young Winemaker of the Year 2 years running, which makes this vineyard another gem of Waiheke.
Te Whau Vineyard & Restaurant
Te Whau Vineyard & Restaurant is a perfect stop on your tour, not only for the well-crafted wines but also the exquisite panoramic views of Waiheke.
At Man-O’-War you can sit back and relax on some very well placed garden loungers soaking up the scenery of the ocean while sipping on one of the many wines offered. Historically the most interesting of Waiheke’s vineyards, it was first discovered by Captain James Cook on his first voyage of New Zealand’s islands in 1769. He noted that the Kauri trees would make ideal masts for the Man-O’-War battleships of the Royal Navy, thus bestowing the name on this special location. Each of their wines, or ‘discoveries’ as they call it, bears a name in honour of family history, naval legacy, and of the unique location.
Cable Bay Vineyards
By far one of my favourite viewpoints of the island Cable Bay Vineyards looks out across the expanse of archipelagos scattered around Waiheke’s coastline. Offering views over to Auckland and out to Rangitoto.
Undoubtedly the most contemporary of the vineyards in Waiheke, it has a mixture of both casual or formal dining options. Indulge in their hand-crafted wines grown in their two small-batch vineyards or feast on their award-winning cuisine. They also play host to many different music concerts including; opera, classical, DJ sessions and famous bands.
Casita Miro in Onetangi
Casita Miro is an award-winning Spanish Tapas restaurant offering a selection of Tapas and Racoines (sharing plates). Casita’s Miros’ distinguishing feature is its art deco mosaic pavilion which houses the restaurant. Inspired by Gaudi and Picasso, it’s quite a marvel to look at. It was created by the owner Cat Vosper, after six years labour of love.
While there, you can’t miss tasting the famous Madame Rouge aperitif wine, either drunk neat or with soda. Sourced from their own vineyard its a delicious little tipple.
Poderi Crisci Vineyard and Restaurant
Tucked away down a long country track is Poderi Crisci an exquisite Italian inspired, family run restaurant and vineyard. Most notably Poderi Crisci is widely recognised as one of the finest restaurants on Waiheke. ‘In 2014 Poderi Crisci was the only Waiheke restaurant to receive the recognition of being a Metro Top 50 restaurant, as well as being listed in the Cuisine Good Food Guide containing the best 70 restaurants in New Zealand.’ It is not surprising then that it draws in some famous visitors. We learnt that within an hour of our visit, mine and my husband’s idol, Richard Branson had been dining with friends. It really would have been the icing on the cake to have met him.
For more inspiration on where to stay, where to eat and what to do, check out my top tips for Waiheke