November 17th, 2014 / posted by paularath

 

This was the view from our lunch table at Te Whau, Waiheke Island. Photos by Jerry Mayfield

This was the view from our lunch table at Te Whau, Waiheke Island. Photos by Jerry Mayfield

 

We had a teary departure from the Crystal Symphony, as we have become such close friends with Paula and Camilla and Carl and Bruce and so many others. But oh! What a delight to be in New Zealand!

We walked from the Crystal to the interisland ferry and caught the Fuller ferry to Waiheke Island. Jerry courageously rented a car (in spite of the driving being on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car) and drove us out to Kennedy Point Vineyard, where we were so happy to see my long time friend Susan McCarthy.

A woman prunes the grape vines at Te Whau Vineyard. The grapes are tiny, as it is spring.

A woman prunes the grape vines at Te Whau Vineyard. The grapes are tiny, as it is spring.

Susan and Neal moved to Waiheke Island in 1996 and planted vineyards and, several years later, started making wines. Their wines have become world renowned (the syrahs in particular, which won first prize in London in 2010) and they have added olive groves and beekeepers on their spectacular property at Kennedy Point. In short, they have created a beautiful life for themselves on this truly beautiful island.

This Pohutukawa tree sits atop Kennedy Point and has become the symbol for the vineyards. Susan and Neal are artists who support the arts with sculptures such as these hung on the trees.

This Pohutukawa tree sits atop Kennedy Point and has become the symbol for the vineyards. Susan and Neal are artists who support the arts with sculptures such as these hung on the trees.

We stayed in their guest house and traveled all around Waiheke from there.

A view from the Loop Road, a dirt road with vistas like this everywhere you turn.

A view from the Loop Road, a dirt road on the eastern side of the island, with vistas like this everywhere you turn.

When Susan and Neal moved to Waiheke, there were four vineyards. Now there are 30. The wines are really delicious, especially the Sauvignon Blancs and Syrahs. Waiheke is very much a wine culture, a little like Napa but not snobby at all.

Sunrise from the pool deck. Photo courtesy of Annie Santiago

Sunrise from the pool deck. Photo courtesy of Annie Santiago

The famous Kennedy Point syrah grapes in spring finery.

The famous Kennedy Point syrah grapes in spring finery.

Waiheke is the sort of island that Auckland folks visit for weekend get-aways, but some even commute to Auckland from there. It’s just a 40-minute ferry ride and the ferries are fun and inexpensive….not to mention beautiful!

There are gorgeous wide beaches everywhere but the water is far too cold for us to think about swimming. It’s also a wind surfer’s dream island.

Duck makes a deposit.

Duck makes a deposit.

Wild life surrounds us on Waiheke. Jerry took this photo in the middle of the small town, in front of the ANZ Bank. This duck decided to make a deposit on the front stoop after hours!

In addition to fabulous wines, Waiheke has become a foodie’s paradise. Their produce and dairy are legendary. Everything is of such high quality and such a treat – from tomatoes to cheeses! When they brought us a bread basket at Te Whau Winery at lunch, Jerry’s eyes grew big and he said: “I haven’t seen butter like that since my grandmother churned our family’s butter!” Yes, NZ is also a dairy paradise.

More soon from Dunedin!

– Paula Rath

 

 

 

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