Waiheke Island is the Magic Island. It the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. It is also the Fourth Best Island in the World as per Conde Nest Travelers and the Fifth Best Destination in the World as per Lonely Planet. It is located 20 km away from the coast of New Zealand, a 45-minute ferry ride from Auckland.
Waiheke is home to 10,000 people. On the island are also the second homes of New Zealanders, Australians and other foreigners alike; who are almost always absent. The average two-bedroom house is worth ½ million dollars, and prices increase by 10% yearly. That makes Waiheke a heaven for investors.
The visitor enjoys stunning sites, magnificent panoramas, pristine beaches, and a perfect year-long weather. The flora looks very Caribbean, or simply Polynesian. We visited a vineyard. We had lunch at the Boat House. Since it took an hour to have our pre-ordered meals on the tables, we had no time left to tour the center village.
Pouhoi is the small town visited by those from the Travel Club who chose not to make it to Waiheke. They enjoyed a bucolic one-hour drive. The place gave them a sense of the deeper New Zealand, outside of the two large cities.
Farming on a backdrop of a dairy economy is prominent. Despite enjoying a high income per capita, Neo Zealanders live rather simply. On the road to Pouhoi, one hardly notices a gas-guzzling SUVs a la Americaine. Most citizens can safely be described as highly educated countrymen and countrywomen, with a high income, incompatible with the hillbilly cliché.
In Auckland, you must tailor your schedule to visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, located at Auckland Domain. It is a dream come true to the History buff. It gives an incisive insight into the migration and the life of the Maori people who make up more than a quarter of New Zealand’s population. At lunchtime, you are offered a show by a group or authentic indigenous. Over an hour, you will be taught their customs, their traditions, and their…language. Quite fun and educational.
This Tuesday afternoon, our last in New Zealand was dedicated to shopping. We later had dinner at the Cordis Hotel, a top-rated facility where we have stayed. The food was expectedly parsimonious as it seems to always be in ANZ. But the international dance party lasted until midnight. It closed a few minutes ago. In less than four hours, we are departing to the airport.
(Odler Robert Jeanlouie, Wednesday, October 9, 2018, Auckland, the former capital of New Zealand.)
*Join the Travel Club for Professionals on:
World Travelers Facebook group