I haven’t finished telling you about our Waiheke Island holiday from earlier this year! For our last day on the island, we hired a car. Our first stop was breakfast at beach-side bar and bistro Charlie Farley’s.
Jac chose the field mushrooms and tomatoes with wholegrain toast (NZ$11). Note: you shouldn’t really write “mushrooms” (plural) on the menu if you’re going to just serve one mushroom sliced into two, ditto tomatoes/tomato. Apart from that gripe, the tomato was superbly sweet and the surprise star of the dish.
I had the pancakes with bacon, banana and maple syrup (NZ$15). The pancakes were well doused in syrup, topped with strips of bacon extra sweet from the icing sugar dusting but I was a little disappointed with the measly half a roughly chopped banana – I’d have paid more to have a whole one. Still, I enjoyed my breakfast.
It was a good start to our day of island driving.
The Strand, Onetangi
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Telephone +64 9 372 4106
Open 6 days (closed Mondays)
8.30am to late
Plenty of parking nearby
The day before, our See Waiheke tour guide Christine had recommended driving to Man O’ War Bay to enjoy a spot of wine tasting and the beautiful views. The drive is heaven especially if you’re into landscapes as it provides endless idyllic scenes. I took pictures through the car window/windscreen as we drove.
The drive to Man O’ War Bay took us to the east end of Waiheke Island. To kill time until Man O’ War Winery’s tasting room opened, we went for a walk along the shore. It was so pretty, peaceful and quiet – our arrival in the car must’ve been very noisy to the fauna that live here. This would make a lovely lunching spot – there are some picnic benches along the foreshore.
At the Man O’ War tasting room, there are complimentary tastings of Man O’War wine, as well as local extra virgin olive oil and honey. You can enjoy a glass of wine with a cheese and olive platter out on the deck. We left with a bottle of Man O’ War Pinot Gris.
Man O’ War Vineyards
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 9 303 9677
Tasting Room open 7 days
Summer – Labour weekend to Easter – 11am to 6pm
Winter – Easter to Labour Weekend – 11am to 4pm
We stretched our legs and enjoyed the breeze at Orapiu Wharf.
The next four shots were taken through the car window as we drove to our lunch destination.
Wild on Waiheke is an interesting island attraction. There are outdoor activities including archery and laser claybird shooting, a kids’ playground, a licensed cafe, brewery and vineyard. They’ve got a number of corporate activity packages on offer that combine interactive team building activities which may include the shooting and archery and opportunities to taste local olive oil, beers and/or wine, or a spot of oyster shucking.
We went for lunch at the cafe. We’d done our research and Jac had one thing on her mind: the drunken oyster – a plump Te Matuku Bay oyster Bay oyster served with a pint of locally brewed Onetangi dark ale.
You plop the oyster into the ale, where it sinks and gets ‘drunken’.
As I sipped on my Hauraki Gulf ginger beer (a perfect holiday drop, by the way), I couldn’t help peering at the oyster as it lurked like a deep sea monster at the bottom of the glass. As for Jac, she enjoyed every drop of ale and relished the salty finish from the drunken oyster.
For lunch, Jac ordered the Wild Days pâté, made with local Wild Days rum, chicken livers, smoked bacon, porcini mushrooms and fresh thyme, served with crostini and fresh bread. She ordered a green salad to go with it.
I ordered Take a Walk on the Wild Side, a hefty, smokey burger with prime beef pattie, bacon, fried egg, barbecue sauce and onion rings, served with chips and tomato sauce. I forgot to ask for no beetroot (regular readers know very well that I’m a beetroot hater), but that was easily sorted – I simply extracted it and gave it to Jac.
Before our trip, I’d read about Dragonfired, a pizza shack at Little Oneroa Beach. I was keen to find it, even though we were still full from lunch. There are woodfired pizzas, calzone, pocket breads and seasonal specials. Next time…
Dragonfired – organic artisan woodfired food
Little Oneroa Beach
10.30am until 8.30pm 7 days
After an afternoon rest and time to work up an appetite, we drove back to Oneroa Village in search of dinner and ended up at Red Crab Thai Cuisine.
We toasted our brilliant Waiheke Island experience with a couple of tall mocktails (NZ$8.50 each): Phuket Paradise for Jac (pineapple, passionfruit, lemon and apple) and Ostend Delight for me (rambutan, pineapple, orange and cream soda).
Entree was Red Crab’s crab cakes (NZ$12.50). We liked these, clearly homemade, fresh from the fryer and generously filled with tender crab meat.
For main course, we shared the crispy pan fry ‘catch of the day’ (snapper) in sweet and sour sauce (NZ$23.50) and traditional green curry chicken (NZ$21.50). Both dishes came with lots of vegetables, the sweet and sour with pineapple. The fish was flaky and tasted wonderfully fresh, and the green curry sauce had a decent bite without blowing our heads off. There was plenty of sauce to soak into the steamed rice, a real home-style meal. We were pleased with our choice of dishes and restaurant.
Red Crab Thai Cuisine
149 Ocean View Road, Waiheke Island
Telephone: +64 9 372 9185
It was a fantastic last day on Waiheke Island. We spent three nights; next time I’d love to stay longer. It really is a beautiful place and a wonderful destination for food and wine lovers – there are many more restaurants and wineries to check out.
We dropped the car and keys off at the rental outlet at Matiatia Wharf, then rang Island Taxis for a taxi to take us back to our apartment. Time to pack our bags – another ferry ride back to Auckland tomorrow morning, where we’d stay for one last night in New Zealand.
Getting to Waiheke Island
We caught the Fullers ferry from the Auckland ferry terminal at Quay Street.
Return ferry tickets cost us NZ$35.50 per person.
It’s a comfortable ride. There are toilets onboard and light refreshments for purchase. You’re free to move around the ferry, including going to upstairs to the top deck.
Waiheke Island is the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf (the largest is Great Barrier Island) and a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. The hilly island is said to have slightly warmer temperatures and less rainfall than Auckland. There are around 8,000 permanent residents on the island, with an estimated additional 2,000 to 3,000 people staying in summer to enjoy their holiday homes. Some residents commute daily to Auckland for work.
Auckland and Waiheke Island trip – blog series
And there’s more to come from our trip.
Posted so far (in reading order), including our first two days on Waiheke Island:
- New Zealand trip – sneak peek
- The Big Foody Auckland Tastebud Tour
- El Faro, Elliott Stables, Auckland
- Takapuna Beach Cafe, Auckland and ferry ride to Devonport
- The Kapiti Store, Auckland
- Food Alley, Auckland
- Waiheke Island: Le Chalet Apartments and The Oyster Inn
- Waiheke Island tour with See Waiheke
- Scenes from Waiheke Island – this post
This trip to Auckland and Waiheke Island, New Zealand was planned by Jac and me. We paid for all meals, accommodation and activities; the exception was 1 x return premium economy flight Perth to Auckland, which I received at an Air New Zealand launch event last year. Everything I blog about the trip is based on our experiences and all opinions are ours.