For Travel Thursday, Great Thoughts is pleased to welcome Jen, a dear friend, to make us all jealous of her recent trip to New Zealand. Now that’s a Spring Break! Here’s Jen…
I love warm tropical locations with lots of fun activities and adventures. This spring break we decided to travel to the other side of the world and vacation on Waiheke Island, New Zealand (pronounced “why hicky” in American). While New Zealand is a long flight (12+ hours from LAX) – once you arrive in paradise I think you’ll agree it’s worth the trip.
New Zealand is an island country (a British Commonwealth realm) in the south-western Pacific Ocean, about 1,200 miles southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea. From the U.S. direct / non-stop flights are available daily from Los Angeles and San Francisco. New Zealand is much like any other western country with available health care, public safety, and lots of shopping. Waiheke is a small island in the Hauraki Gulf about 11 miles from the capital city of Auckland. The island is known for beautiful beaches, amazing views, and world renowned vineyards.
Our trip included the wedding of a good friend, making our stay that much more special. In our search we found the best places to stay on Waiheke are vacation homes available for rent. The homes come in all size and price ranges, we found a very large ocean front home on Onetangi beach to accommodate 3 families with kids for $700/night. While rental cars are available we were able to get everywhere via bus & taxi. Much of our time was spent enjoying the amazing views (both land & sea), kayaking in the warm ocean waters, searching for shells, etc. Throughout our stay in New Zealand I was struck by the lack of crowds. (Perhaps suggesting I have spent too much vacation time in over-crowded resorts). We did also have the opportunity to tour the vineyards (children are welcome in the tasting rooms :)). Each vineyard was more amazing than the last.
The wedding was held at Mudbrick Vineyard– where the bright pinks of sunset showoff the skyline of Auckland across the bay, a view that will be etched in my mind for all time. With vineyards surrounding the island, I counted over twenty, inland and ocean views abound. Where some impress with their wines (the Larose from Stonyridge is arguably one of the finest Cabernet blends anywhere); others impress with views, and at least one (wild on Waiheke) impresses with their attempt to entertain – complete with kids’ games, a life size chess set, volleyball court, and playground complete with swing sets. For our adult time we found a highly recommended nanny service on the island and many restaurants (this worked out great for us!).
While my cell phone photo won’t do the location justice – I snapped this one morning as I enjoyed my coffee and the sunrise from my kitchen window.
Waiheke is just a tiny slice of what can be found in New Zealand, and we will definitely be back for more!
What are you reading and where are you going?