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1 Day in Waiheke Island with Tesla Tours

a group of people sitting at a table with wine glasses

A day of discovery on one of New Zealand’s most beautiful islands

One of the absolute must-sees in New Zealand and the Auckland area is the fabulous island of Waiheke. Famed for its wineries, beaches, food and rolling green hills, Waiheke Islands a perfect size to explore on a day trip, or a few days if you’re lucky enough to bag some accommodation.

We decided to take a full day to explore the island, starting with an early wake up call in Auckland in order to walk down to the ferry port. Tickets to Waiheke are around £20 per person for a 40 minute trip across the bay. Not cheap, but it’s the only way to get across to the island and it comes with great views of Auckland and the surrounding areas. Arriving in Waiheke is also an experience, with a picturesque port awaiting you, overlooked by stunning hills and properties.

We got off of our ferry and were greeted with a namecard and a smile by our tour guide and driver for the day, Colin. He works with a company called Tesla Tours, who specialise in taking passengers around Waiheke Island in a beautiful Tesla car, together with picnic items, trips to beaches and vineyards, and much more. Check out their itineraries on their website if you’re ever heading to Waiheke – it’s definitely the most comfortable and luxurious mode of transport for visiting the island!

Colin hailed from the UK, so we already had plenty to chat about as he began navigating through the hills of the island towards our first stop. His back story was enough to write a film about, having moved to New Zealand via the Pacific Island in his late teens to pursue a career in piloting, before working in the jewellery business and now working as a guide from his lovely home location in Waiheke. We loved how at-home Colin made us feel from the off, and by the end of the day it felt like going on a road trip with a friend.

The first stop on our tour was a delightful cafe and deli in a relatively unknown spot, called Waiheke Honey House & Cafe. Here we tried a number of honey samples, which were delicious and so varied in their texture and taste. Who knew honey came in so many different types?! We also treated ourselves to a coffee and honey cake, as we couldn’t leave without buying some of the delicacies at the cafe.

Suitably full, we moved back into the Tesla and continued on our way. Colin took us through some of the best spots on the island and most expensive residency areas. Waiheke really is a special place, and somewhere we wouldn’t hesitate to move to if it wasn’t so far away and pricey. It’s hard to put it into words, but it has a really homely vibe with great food and drink, beaches and lush surroundings.

One thing we couldn’t wait for was to try out the local wines, and Colin took us to our first winery early on at the Rangihoua Estate . Here however we weren’t trying out the wines – instead we were tasting olive oils, which were all delicious and a whole level above anything we had used back home.

After another little drive, we did head to our first wine tasting of the day, at the Obsidian Vineyard. We tried three wines in all, and all various types which tasted fantastic. The winery was also set in beautiful grounds with hills, olive trees and grapevines for miles around.

Next more wine, this time Passage Rock together with some lunch. The wines we tried were again fantastic, the highlight of which was a barrelled wine called Wild Berry, a sort of homebrew-style. For lunch, we went for the recommended lamb shank and mushroom risotto, with a wine accompaniment, of course!

Following our lovely lunch at Passage Rock, we then headed off slightly tipsy to a lovely spot inland – an Italian winery which wouldn’t look out of place nestled in the hills of Tuscany. At the Poderi Crisci winery, we had another few wines to taste, all in fantastic settings and even met the Italian owner who was delighted to meet Ilaria as they came from the same area of Italy.

Moving ever onward, we then made our way up to the final stop on our tour, the Alibi Brewers Lounge, where for something different we tried a gin and tonic and some beer tasting! By now we were suitably drunk and ready to sober up on the ferry home. Colin took us back with more fun stories and merriment, and we boarded the ferry just in time to head back to Auckland.

It’s safe to say we absolutely loved our jam-packed day on Waiheke Island and just wished we had a few days to soak in the amazing atmosphere a little more. Tesla Tours and Colin were wonderful hosts and we couldn’t recommend a tour with those guys more. We felt we saw almost all the island had to offer and even took in a number of beautiful sights and met lovely people along the way. A 10/10 from us.


Credit: Michael and Ilaria @ awaytwogo :

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