My husband and I were looking for ways to celebrate our second wedding anniversary with a blast. Both lovers of outdoor adventure, aside from being passionate painters we were fortunate enough to find an island who can satisfy our artistic cravings and pump up our adrenaline drive for extreme outdoor sports. The best part of it all was enjoying the beautiful attractions in Waiheke. For two weeks we explored this island along the Auckland region of New Zealand. We made the right choice of spending our second honeymoon on this romantic island in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The country’s greatest natural resort is now its spectacular scenery, which attracts tourists from all over the world.
From Los Angeles International Airport we boarded an Air New Zealand flight to get to Auckland International Airport. Upon arrival at the city we availed of the shuttle service that took us to the Sealink ferry terminal in Auckland. It was already late in the afternoon when we boarded a ferry that took us to the Waiheke Ferry Terminal. Looking outside the window of the ferry, I already have a peeking glimpse of the scenes around the island. After enjoying an overnight stay in our hotel, we began our tour the next day with a visit to the Connells Bay Sculpture Park. It has a vast collection of sculptures done by New Zealand artists. The huge sculptures were world class and impressive. We took pictures beside Kegar’s “Vanish”, a collection of 5 foot replicas of the artist garbed in a variety of colored jumpsuits. As contemporary art lovers we enjoyed our visit to this two hour guided attraction.
Afterwards we head next to an interesting World War 2 museum called the Stony Batter. With flashlights given at the entrance we get to enter the tunnels that hold war memories and artifacts. We also climbed the ladder up to the gun turret and admire the views of the sea and the mountainside. The museum gave a good glimpse of WW2 history, the enclosed passages, and the fallen heroes who worked to protect this beautiful island. Around the museum we saw farmers guiding their herds of sheep, the common scene in New Zealand. Before the day ended we checked out the pristine nature inside the Onetangi Forest and Bird Reserve. It was great walking thru a forest with just the sound of the birds to guide us. We had not seen much wildlife, but we get to appreciate the rich flora from this side of the island. Along with some tourists we enjoyed a relaxed afternoon picnic inside; it was surely worth a visit!
The next day was the best time to enjoy what we both do best, extreme outdoor adventure! There was a big smile on my face as I got tethered up with a guide on the three course zip line at EcoZip Adventures. After being securely geared up at the Flying Fox Zip Platform, we got released thru the wires and away we go! It was an awesome experience to zip side by side with my husband as we fly over the lush forest of the island. I was totally blown away by the scenic views I saw as we breeze above its treetops! I spread my hands out, flying free like a bird sweeping fast charming mountain sceneries. My heart races fast until we reach the end of the zip line at the Big Dog Platform. Our guide took pictures and video with views over the vineyard as our lush backdrop. My knees were still shaking but definitely all pumped up to still wander and stroll through its stunning forest below us. We passed by the visitor center for our trail guides and maps. Inside the forest we got an environmental activity together with a group of other tourists. Trailing through a beautiful bush hike, I saw local wildlife more on this area. I caught a neon green gecko and released it after taking a picture. I was totally impressed at how well they maintain a huge selection of flora and fauna, its forest is rich in Eco friendly reminders on how to keep the park and the surroundings clean. Immersing oneself on this tour is a must do adventure on this island. At day’s end, we bought shirts and souvenirs on their shop before heading back to our hotel.
The following day we took a ferry that brought us to its three famous wineries. Upon reaching the island we boarded a rented van by one of their workers for a quick tour of the attractions. First on the list was a taste of the biotic wines at Kennedy Point Organic Vineyard. Here is where we have hands on experience on picking grapes for wine production. The second winery we visited was the Peacock Sky Vineyard, where we were welcomed by the very amiable Chef Connie and her husband with a walk along their beautiful vineyard and kitchen; this is one of the best restaurants I have been to on this island. Her humming in the kitchen as she works, the traditional cooked meals and their wine, perfect!
The rest of the day was spent tasting a variety of good wines at the Obsidian Vineyard. We bought a bottle of their special wine and part of the freebies for buying a bottle was a free taste of the other wines they created. Aside from being educated on how their wines are processed, we got to take home freebies as well. Clearly it is the best vineyard in terms of service, expertise, and interest of the customer. Last but not least they have really good wines! With its kind owners walking us throughout its small winery, we had a look at their vineyards and rows of oak barrels being aged to perfection. The al fresco cellar and wine tasting was the best experience we had, an intoxicating adventure that my husband and I truly enjoyed. We took a picture beside the huge Obsidian (cooled lava rock) found within the property. Even the well aligned vineyard was postcard perfect. Sipping a glass of the famous Obsidian wine along with a platter of cold meat and cheese to pair it with plus a view of the New Zealand sunset was simply breathtaking! Romantic and tranquil scenes, a must see on this island.
The next day we head out very early to catch our catamaran cruise adventure at the Island Sailing on board the Te Aura. The stability of the boat and its great features made our tour of the New Zealand coastline on Waiheke comfortable. On board the magnificent boat we get to admire the many inlets and small islands that complete its peninsula of more than a hundred isles. It was a relaxing tour coupled with good food and wine served by the captain of the boat and his beautiful wife. We took time to check out the Tiritiri Mtangi Island to snorkel and swim around its clear waters. Lots of birds fly around this wide migratory bird sanctuary island. We had luck seeing a yellow eyed penguin nesting on its coastal forest while we walk around its bush. Being on this clean and well maintained yacht was the best way to sail around the Hauraki Gulf. The sight of its fine white sand beach, the rocky cliffs, and blue waters were captivating. The ride became more thrilling as we spot some sharks a few meters from our yacht. We explored its great beaches plus we also get to enjoy a lunch of Baked Kumaras (sweet potatoes), a traditional Maori food served with lamb and apple. The rest of our tour days were spent catching snappers and yellow fins at the Adventure Fishing Charters. We had fun learning so much about fishing from the professional anglers of this island. The charm of the sea and its sweet culture was indeed a unique experience!
Our wedding anniversary was laced with heart pounding thrills, romantic moments under the full moon on board a gorgeous yacht, and a serene sea to enjoy. Waiheke is our perfect honeymoon adventure.