Wine Tasting on New Zealand's Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is an island off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, reachable in 40 mins by ferry. It is known for it’s beautiful beaches and boutique wineries offering breathtaking sea views and top-notch tastings. In recent years it has made quite a name for itself; in 2016 Lonely Planet listed it as #5 on their annual best of travel: top 10 regions list, Conde Nast Traveler as #4 on their best islands in the world list in 2015, and Travel + Leisure as #4 on their own world’s best islands list.
The first stop of my recent New Zealand trip landed me here after a co-worker told me it was one of the highlights of her entire visit. We found and booked Waiheke Island Wine Tours thanks to some TripAdvisor recommendations, and headed straight for the ferry terminal upon landing in Auckland at 5am New Zealand time! Once in Waiheke, we met Christine from the tour company and off we went to visit three local wineries, get a bit of a Waiheke Island tour on the way from place to place, and then finally lunch at a spot of our choosing before heading back to Auckland.
The first winery we visited was Kennedy Point, the only certified organic winery on the island. Upon arrival we were poured a glass of wine before being escorted on a quick tour of the grounds, including both the wine vineyards and the olive trees. After the tour we were taken back to the tasting room to try more wine and to sample honey and olive and avocado oil which they also sell onsite. Kennedy Point has a beautiful view of the sea with outdoor seating and also a picnic area near the vineyards where you can hang out as well.
Our second stop was Casita Miro which was also the place we chose to have lunch at based on my friend’s recommendation. The grounds are absolutely beautiful; offering views of the vineyards, the village, AND the sea. It is also the closest winery to the popular white sand Onetangi Beach.
The restaurant at Casita Miro is Spanish style, focused on shared tapas and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. If you want to dine here, which I’d definitely recommend, you must make reservations in advance! Our waiter swore by the goat cheese croquetas while we loved the kalamata olives and Cat’s handmade bread. If you dine there for dinner you can also relax on their grass hill afterwards while sipping on some more of their delicious wine.
The wine tasting portion is hosted outside, above the restaurant and overlooking the sea, under a Spanish style mosaic terrace. The tasting includes five different Miro wines, each paired with the perfect food match. It was definitely the highlight of our day and the best tasting we went to, so make sure not to miss it (even if you can’t get a reservation at the restaurant)!
Last but not least was Cable Bay, another absolutely beautiful spot with a can’t-miss view. In addition to wine tasting, they too offer dining although we did not join them for lunch. They do take walk-ins but recommend you make a reservation to be on the safe side for both the tasting and dining.
One last spot which we were not able to visit due to timing but heard great things about was Mudbrick. They offer tastings, tours, dining, AND you can even stay with them at one of their off-site accommodations which all look to die for.
Once the tour concluded, our guide Christine dropped us back at the ferry terminal so we could make our way back to our car in Auckland. The tour lasted from 10am - 4:30pm and was definitely worth the trip. If you have a chance to visit beautiful Waiheke, I definitely recommend you do, and if you want to relax and let someone else do all the work, check out Waiheke Island Wine Tours.