Friday, 17 October 2014

Auckland, New Zealand, part 3

On Sunday we had an early start for our visit to Waiheke Island, "the island of wine". We were keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, but we knew there would be quite a few showers that day. What we did not take into account were the massive gusts of wind which were not only very cold but also so strong that we could hardly move!

We managed to get on the ferry just on time. The trip was about half an hour and it was busy! Apparently we were not the only ones who planned a trip to Waiheke, despite the weather. Once we arrived we took a bus to the little village on Waiheke to pick up our electric bikes. The owner had just started his business (very nice Danish guy) and the shop was still a bit of a mess. He explained how to use the electric support. A bit different from the Dutch solex, these bikes only support you if you pedal yourself. So it's not a scooter of some sort. With 3 levels of support, 1 being low and 3 being high (so much fun!) cycling has never been easier. We took off to our first winery, Cable Bay. It was an easy 5 minute ride from the city centre and a stunning place. In a beautiful tasting room we were offered 5 wines for a taste, all of which were beautiful. However, the chardy was my favourite. A wine tasting on Waiheke will cost you approximately $5-10 per person. Some wineries do not charge anything. Some charge a bit more for their premium wines. If you purchase a wine then often you will get a refund, but this is not always the case. Just after we arrived it started pouring down so we were very lucky! 

Our second winery was mudbrick, a 3 minute ride from the first winery. What an amazing place! Colleagues had already recommended it and I was happy we made it part of our itinerary. Surrounded by beautiful gardens (with a lot of lavender!) and a stunning view, Mudbrick is a must do on Waiheke. We had a tasting of the red wines. Shiraz is very popular on waiheke, as are merlot blends. We sat down in the bistro and ordered a tasting platter ($60 for 2 people). It looked amazing! 

The platter contained  Prosciutto, Salami, Vitello Tonnato, Prawns, Cerviche, Lemon pepper squid, Roasted marinated vegetables, Poppy seed and cumin cheese twists, Garden salad with pumpkin seed and balsamic dressing, Home-made bread & cream cheese dip. It was delicious. I loved the cheese dip which reminded me of the cheese spead from the V&D back home. I did not want to drink too much considering we had a full day of cycling ahead!

The third winery was called Jurassic Ridge and the owner was an interesting character. He made it very clear his wines are organic and he does not use animal products like fish or milk when making his wine. We tried "a flight of wine" which was a mix of red and white. The chardy was delicious here! MrBehomeforT bought a bottle of red.

After this winery we had to cycle a bit further to a different part of the island. In setting number 3 it was fairly easy and going downhill was very fast! We cycled past a beautiful beach with a dead fish (bones) on the road. Very odd. The island has various beautiful beaches with amazing views. Some roads are gravel roads, which makes it a bit more difficult to ride the bike. Most roads however are bigger roads and there is not a lot of traffic (at least not when we there). 

Kennedy Point winery is a very steep ride up a hill. When we got there i was so sweaty and completely out of breath. We tasted some avocado oil and some olive oil, which apparently had won a prize in an olive oil show. The wines were very nice, especially their reds.

Our last winery was the Goldie Room. Wow! That place! There was a cute little room with old looking tables, lounges and other decorations. Outside there was a hill with a massive beautiful tree on it. We were seated and instead of having to stand at a counter while tasting wine we were given 4 wines to try while sitting down ourselves, which was really nice. This winery is (partly?) owned by the University of Auckland and also the first winery on the island. We had a chat to one of the guys working there who studied wine at the university. All their wines were beautiful and the views from the hill were just stunning. 

We rode back to the village and returned our bikes to have a drink at vino vino. The balcony had the best views and the sun came out to play. We took the bus back to the ferry terminal and the ferry back to the city.

We decided to go back to Ponsonby Road for dinne, this time at SPQR. I had the veal (vitello milanesco) crumbed and served with a salad and lemon wedges. MrBehomeforT had a beautiful steak with balsamic and pinot noir jus, served with asparagus and creamed spinach. His dessert was a lovely chocolate cake with ferreror rocher icecream and I had a chocolate pudding with sour cherries and vanilla icecream. It was a bit dry but not too bad. Overall the food here was very nice and service was excellent. We were both exhausted and snuggled up in our comfy fluffy bed. What a lovely day in Auckland!


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