Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest post: Waiheke Island, a New Zealand travel tip

Yesterday as part of the blog4NZ - Blog for New Zealand - campaign, I asked for some tips on places I should visit in New Zealand when I finally get around to visiting. As well as getting some useful info in the comments, I've also got this guest post from Craig at the Indie Travel Podcast. Thanks heaps Craig, and to Scott Kennedy of Adventureskope for the fantastic photos, too. So, here it is:

Waiheke Island

Steep grassy hills drop down to sparkling water on Waiheke Island, the jewel of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. This large island is often missed from traveller’s itineraries — not because of a lack of interesting things to do however. With a thriving local craft, food and drink industry and that relaxing small-island feel, Waiheke is a great place to spend a few days of your time in New Zealand.

The island also hosts a sculpture festival each year. While most of the sculptures remain through summer, some take up permanent homes there. To me, they give a playfullness and vibrancy to the host spots which, often enough, are vineyards. And, if there’s one thing that helps my understanding of modern art, it’s a great glass of wine.

Waiheke’s wine culture is known for its high quality and high prices — driven up by the extremely limited space and the innovative but consistently good wines produced each year. No matter what they cost at the cellar door, it will be cheaper than the top New York and London restaurants which make up so much of their export market.

Many Aucklanders escape to Waiheke each summer for a long weekend at the beach, sailing and fishing around the coast. The fish can be cooked alongside food from local producers: New Zealand’s iconic sheep are alive and well (and really tasty) out at Waiheke.

Ferries from Auckland to Waiheke depart regularly, take about 40 minutes from downtown ferry terminal and cost NZ$33.50 / US$25 per adult return.

This post was written by full-time traveller Craig Martin, with photos by Scott Kennedy of Adventurescope as part of #blog4nz. Read more great New Zealand stories, and support it following the Christchurch earthquake, by visiting blog4NZ on Facebook.

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