Last Day in New Zealand - Wine Tasting/Drinking on Waiheke Island
Spontaneity at its finest! I originally planned to stay in New Zealand longer so I didn’t book a flight back with Auckland from Queenstown with Kels and Mel but after looking at my budget and seeing how expensive everything was, I opted to leaving so I booked flight back up the next morning. Kels thought she was going to be alone in Auckland since she had a full day and flying back to LA the next day. Then when I told her I was coming back a few days before, we planned to make a day of it together. Since we didn’t have a car, there wasn’t much we could do around Auckland. We were recommend to head to Waiheke Island, just a 40 minute ferry from the port of Auckland. Besides knowing it was filled with vineyards, we didn’t know much else to do. Since I didn’t land until 11:30am, the first ferry we could catch was at 1:30, getting onto the island a little after 2pm.
Our original plan was to rent bikes to bike around to a few wineries for some tastings but all the rentals in town only did full day and had to be turned back in by 5/6pm and since we were asking at like 2:30, it wasn’t worth it anymore. We didn’t look up any wineries to go to so we just hopped on the public bus and rode it for awhile. We didn’t have a clue of where to go so we asked the bus driver to drop us off at the next winery. No plans, no idea what the heck we were doing, but it turned out to be an amazing last day.
We walked to the first winery that looked really fun because it had a ton of games such as volleyball, corn hole, archery, giant connect four, chess, checkers, etc. It’s called Wild! It seemed to attract a younger crowd so perfect for us! We were able to clutch good seats on some bean bag chairs outside right next to the grapes. We ordered 3 tasting glasses for $3NZD each and some fries. It wasn’t too bad of a deal! The sun was shining and the weather outside was warm and pleasant. Our cluelessness led us to a great first location. They closed at 4pm so we had to leave pretty early but wanted to hit at least one more winery and hopefully make it for the sunset. We were recommended by one of the workers to go to Batch Winery.
We had no idea how to get there because it was a trek and didn’t know when the last public bus went nor did we know which one to take. So the next best option was to hitchhike! This was my best hitchhiking record! We were 1 for 1. We walked across the street and the first car that came up stopped for us! They were a lovely couple from Boston who just moved to work on the Island. They were so nice and took their time to find the place for us even though it was a bit out of their way then drove us right to the door. It’s that island vibe that makes everyone so nice and laid-back with not much to do on a Saturday.
Batch was absolutely breathtaking! The best place to watch the sunset. They were a bit above the hill so you could see the giant sun in the horizon slowly inching its way down. We went for a full bottle this time because why not? We were pretty peasant like because we were wearing not wine-drinking type of clothes. I couldn’t even change because my bag was in Kelsey’s room so I ended up wearing the same outfit I did for the past 5 days with our birks. Got our bottle of wine, in our grungy clothes, and sat on a bench instead of a proper table. #ratchetlifeforever but we had a front row seat to the beautiful sunset, so no complaints and wouldn’t have done it any other way.
We were have a freaking photoshoot with the sunset, in order to make use of the golden hour. I think we were at it for a good hour and had a whole audience standing on the hill next to us. So much that a guy from that party came up and talked to us. We talked to a few more of them and they were really friendly! They were all expats from all around the world who found themselves in New Zealand and have absolutely loved it. One guy stuck around and talked to us for like 30-40 minutes after the sun went down and all his friends went inside. We were even invited to their afterparty in Auckland!
We eventually moved back inside because it got a bit too chilly for us. We were finishing up our bottle of wine when we realized we had NO IDEA how we were getting back to the port to catch a ferry out. I didn’t know if they bus even came up here or if it was still running. It was a long way back… All of a sudden one of the shuttle driver came up to us and asked if we needed a ride back, like he was able to read our minds! It was perfect timing. We ended back on the bus with the expat group and they were just belting songs after songs the entire 15/20 minute ride back.
When we were enjoying our wine and watching the sunset, we couldn’t get over out this unplanned, unresearched day turned out so amazingly! Everything just fell together and turned this day into something so great. This is another example of how being spontaneous and just going with the flow can really go in your favor. I love I’ve been able to let go of those Type-A grip hole and just let life do the planning. Before, I could never go without have a plan or an idea of what to do. But slowly, from traveling, I’ve been able to let go of that and I’ve truly enjoyed every second of it.