Waiheke Island and Back – 13th April 2019

After a much needed sleep after our late night we headed down to the Quay at the bottom of Queen Street which was an approximate walk of five minutes for our ferry trip to Waiheke Island. Dex and Paula decided not to join us as Paula’s back was giving her some grief and she felt it better to rest it. There were plans afoot also to do a bush tramp when on the island so that definitely put her out of the loop.

Being Saturday with blue skies and no rain, it seemed half of Auckland was down at the Quay. We caught the 10.30am ferry from Pier 2 and headed out west towards the island.

Auckland has developed into quite the blossoming city with one in every four Kiwis living there. It has a reputation in the rest of the country as snobby  and “know it all” attitude. All those living outside the city have given the name Jafa’s to the residences as they sell up their overinflated houses and buy in smaller towns and have heaps of money left over and cause local real estate prices to go up. So what does Jafa’s stand for – Just another fucking Aucklander. Gotta love that.

The trip takes only forty minutes and today it was as smooth as glass on the Hauraki Gulf. We passed in front of the Auckland Harbour Bridge as we turned east to head out of the harbour. This area can be very choppy at times and the yachties love it as lots of chance to practice with the roaring winds. Most of the best sailors in the world come from Auckland and of course NZ has held the America’s cup. Even if they lose the cup, the winning team is made up mostly of Kiwis.

There are a lot of similarities between Auckland and Sydney harbours but Auckland stands out in that it is wider. The above map,is pointing to Waiheke Island and when we were travelling around with Di’s girlfriend Donna on Waiheke Island,  you could see the west coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Everywhere is so close and with such perfect weather today the visibility was excellent.

This photo shows the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula from one of the northern beaches of Waiheke Island.

Waiheke is the second-largest island in the gulf, after Great Barrier Island, and is the most populated island in the gulf, with 9,250 permanent residents; another estimated 3,400 have second or holiday homes on the island. It is New Zealand’s most densely populated island, with nearly 100 people/km², and the third most populated after the North and South Islands. It is the most accessible island in the gulf, with regular passenger and car-ferry services, a helicopter operator based on the island, and other air links. It is rather a peculiar shaped island but that gives it lots of little beaches and hideaways.

In November 2015, Waiheke Island received international attention when it was rated the fifth-best destination in the world to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet, and also voted the fourth best island in the world.

Di and Donna met back in 1982 when Di embarked her first trip to London. Donna was flatting in Kensington with a good friend of one of Di’s older sisters. Ever since then they have kept in contact with one another and periodically managed to meet up. Donna and her husband having been living on Waiheke Island now for over 20 years so are considered locals.

Prior to catching the ferry back to the city we stopped off at a rugby field to see two local teams battling it out. Normally it would be Rugby Union as that is the national game and which the All Blacks reign the world. Rugby League as they were playing here is more of an Australin version, so we were a little surprised. Having said that, the game is still bloody brutal.

When we were down at the beach having a walk we saw a pod of about six dolphins frolicking in the shallow waters. A good friend of Donna’s who is a superb photographer, who was also at the same beach, sent these two photos to us of the dolphins. Can’t get much better than that.

Caught the ferry back to the city and met up with Paula and Dex in time to wander up the road for a bite to eat and of course to finish off the evening with a game of golf.

Tonight is the last night of our trip Downunder. It has been a great trip and we have seen and done a lot but the most important thing is that we have caught up with a lot of our friends and family members. We get home to Canada on the 7th May and we will be home until the 25th June. We will then head to England for two months with Toque. We will be looking after Marlene and Wolfgangs canal boat for this period and are planning on doing the southern canals.

Just to let all our readers know that we might well be out of Wi-Fi range until the 7th May. We get on a cruise ship tomorrow down at the Quay and take until the 7th May to get to San Francisco. From our previous experience of ocean travel, we have not seen too many cell phone towers out there, so we reckon that Wi-Fi will be pretty much non existent. We will keep filling in our diary though and then post a final blog on our return, so watch out for the tales of hi jinx on the open seas. The blog will start up again once we get to England in June.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures. And to the question, what was your favourite place, we would say, there are too many places to choose from but we can say for sure that Australia is a lucky country and New Zealand is paradise.

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