06 February 2014

Wanderings: Waiheke Island

Waiheke....such a little gem, one of my favourite little gems anywhere, & only a 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland.  Just 40 minutes & you are away from the hustle & bustle of the big smoke. The minute you step off the ferry you just slow down.  I always want to come straight back, even just after one day. I just want to up sticks & move over there.  Maybe grow some olives or a little wine...see sounds idyllic right?  And in my head it most definitely is & I do love a little day dreaming.  Stunning views, white sandy beaches, cafes, restaurants & vineyards; lots of very, very good vineyards.

A day trip is great, but longer would always be better.  Though I do kind of like that I always want to come back as it’s always something to look forward to.  We caught the 8:15 ferry from downtown Auckland & just after 9 we were very happily ensconced at Wai Kitchen in the middle of Oneroa for some breakfast before a little exploring. Wai means water & as you sit in Wai KItchen you can just take in the the glorious view out over the Hauraki Gulf. The perfect spot to start a day on Waiheke.

Wai Kitchen is owned by the same team that owns, Teed Street Larder, Toru, Scullery & Scratch Bakery so they most definitely know what they are doing.  If like me you like white anchovies then you must visit Teed St Larder for some of them on toast.

But back to Wai Kitchen, where you can actually have white anchovies.   At Wai Kitchen they come with fried eggs, serrano jamon, olives & manchego & I may well have to try them on my next visit.  I was in the mood for eggs but felt more like scrambled & when I saw that they came with pancetta I was sold. Lighter, crispier & just so much more flavour than regular bacon I can rarely go past a little pancetta. These were great scrambled eggs; creamy & delicious the perfect foil for the salty, crispy pancetta. For the toast component it was home baked & I could have eaten a whole loaf slathered in butter. I almost forgot about the coffee; yes it was good too. 

My breakfast buddies had the eggs benedict with bacon & the poached eggs with colcannon, corned beef, avocado & sour cream & there was a happy silence as we all tucked in. We all left on our exploring very happily full & satisfied.

A little retail therapy in Oneroa & then we were off for a wee road trip around the island before a late lunch at The Shed at Te Motu.  First stop was Obsidian nestled in the Onetangi valley; one of my favourite little vineyards & a must visit for anyone who likes a good red. Relaxed & friendly they’ll happily take you through a tasting of all their wonderful wines. Sadly the rose & pinot gris are all sold out but I did come home with a beautiful syrah. The winemaker describes it better than I can

“Bright purple in the glass.  Lifted aromas of blackberry along with hints of ripe plums and spice.  This is a medium bodied wine showing an abundance of sweet fruit and ripe silky tannins.  The oak is well judged and contributes to the persistent finish. (Winemaker's Notes)”

Next on our little tour was Man O War, right down at the eastern more remote end of the island.  It’s worth heading down this way for the spectacular views & then when you get to Man O’War you can stop in for a little liquid refreshment & taste some more very good Waiheke wines.

After our little ticky tour it was time for a little late lunch & we headed to The Shed at Te Motu nestled among the vines in the afternoon sunshine.  To start some olives & a few small plates.  Chicken liver parfait with peach & ginger chutney & melba toast, a bright & fresh & ever so tender venison carpaccio with nam pla, palm sugar, shallots, coriander, lime & chilli. My favourite though was the panelle with parsley, olives, caper, lemon & Pecorino. Panelle is fried chick pea polenta...now you can see why this was so good.  Crisp & the parsley, olives & capers the perfect topping alongside the pecorino.

For mains the fish of the day for some, which they said was delicious & for me broad bean fritters, labne, roast carrot hummus, cucumber & flat bread.  The fritters were crisp & light & the hummus lovely & sweet.  On the side a kale slaw with toasted seeds & a pomegranate dressing….this may well be the best way I have ever eaten kale! And being at Te Motu we were able to savour some quite delicious reds. There was even just a little room left for dessert.  The star the dulce du leche ice cream, with macadamia brittle & caramelized banana…a heavenly dessert, crunchy, nutty, sweet & caramelly.

To finish off our island day a little beach time at Onereoa before catching the the ferry back to the big smoke.

Wai Kitchen
1/149 Ocean View Road

Te Makiri Road
Waiheke Island

Man O War
1 Man O'war Bay Rd, Waiheke Island,

The Shed at Te Motu
76 Onetangi Road, Onetangi 1971
Waiheke Island, Auckland
New Zealand


  1. What a relaxing day! Even though it's so close, can you believe I haven't made the short trip to Waiheke Island yet? I've heard the wine tasting is fabulous!

    1. I can't believe it! You must get over there to check it out…it is just the best little island in the whole world!

  2. We're going to Waikeke in July to celebrate our anniversary and Martin's birthday. It won't be quite the same not having the summer sun but I'm even more excited about the prospect after reading this post.

    1. Oh Julie it is the perfect spot. And you never know even in July it could still be lovely, it has it's own little micro climate :)

  3. I love Waiheke as well, it's such a nice relaxed pace over there! Your photography is beautiful and the food looks AMAZING!!

    1. Hi Amanda, it is so relaxed…I love it :)


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