Island Hopping

Island Exploring: Day 1

Dan and I arrived at Pier 4 in Auckland, ready to venture to Tiritiri Matangi Island only to find out the ferry was booked. We were told we had to book tickets a week in advanced. Looking around the city and realizing we had no back up plan, we decided to see if we could get tickets to Waiheke Island instead.

Soon after, we were at Pier 2A, boarding a ferry to Waiheke. I got a cappuccino and we stared out the window at the passing islands.

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Ferry Window View

Once arrived on Waiheke, we decided to get scooters. Why not? We could trek around quicker and easier than trying to figure out the bus system. We were tired of figuring out bus systems…

We arranged for two scooters and as we stood outside in the sun, we were instructed on how to handle them. Narrow roads… blah blah blah… kick stand… blah blah blah… make sure you… blah blah blah… but the important thing is to come back alive!

Wait. What? I wasn’t paying attention.

I looked at the scooter and realized I don’t know what I’m doing. How do I start this thing, again?

We buckled our bulky helmets on (the kind that made us look like Speed Racer (only dorkier) and headed out for the open roads!

Driving on the left wasn’t too hard to remember. You’re constantly in your head going, “Stay to the left. Stay to the left. Left! Left!” However, I had never driven a scooter before (despite what I told the employees at the rental company) and was extremely nervous about every turn, each passing car and the many steep hills we had to brake going down. However, as the day progressed, I became more confident and was even excited every time we rode around.

The first stop we made was at Kaukarau/Little Rocky Bay where we ate our sandwiches and looked out at the turquoise water, taking in the beauty of the beach. Some seagulls came and stared at us, waiting for an easy drop of food. We remarked at their odd appearance: red feet and beaks. “Their seagulls are even prettier here,” Dan stated.

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Kuakarau Beach
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This little guy was eyeing our food pretty hard.

We got back to our scooters and Dan exclaimed that he was sure happy none of our friends or family would see us looking like such idiots as I was taking out my phone to take a selfie. “No, they’re going to see this.”

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Super cool

We were looking for some sculpture park; we had seen an incredible photo of a sculpture of stairs connecting two peaks of the island and were determined to find it.

We traveled to the end of Margaret Reeve Lane and saw a sign for the sculpture park. We made it!

…Or so we thought.

After walking up the hill, we came upon a small “office” and a house. Confused, I walked up to the house where I was greeted by a man who informed us that the empty office was where to go. There, we would find some maps and an “honesty box” and admission was NZ $10 per person.

We walked back to the empty, glass office and saw some crappy maps, a guest book, an honesty box and some print on the wall that suggested we take some sort of trail into the forest for some great nature views. We slipped in our admission money, grabbed a crappy, laminated map and headed out to see some art!

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Dan trying to be a part of the art…

We struggled with the trail and soon realized this place was not what we were looking for. We walked and walked and when it was over, decided to check out the nature trail. Maybe that would be worth our money?

Nope.

We soon discovered that this overgrown trail was worthless and we were better exploring elsewhere. We walked back out, and as we passed the “office,” we returned our maps and I managed to finger out our $20.

“I kind of feel guilty about taking our money back,” I said to Dan as we walked up the hill towards our scooters.

“Me too. But we honestly didn’t like it, so we honestly thought we should get our money back,” Dan replied.

Yea. I suppose that’s ok.

We hopped back on our scooters and headed out for Alison Park, where we were hoping to see some better art. But, before that, we stopped off at Kennedy Point Vineyard for a free wine tasting and olive oil sampling.

After a brief sampling, we scooted off to Alison Park where we walked around and visited a nearby beach before deciding to visit a friend at The Oyster Inn. Our friend, also from Boulder, had been working here for a few years and suggested we stop by and say hello. We sat on their covered patio and enjoyed some freshly shucked oysters and tender lamb and sipped on bubbles and beer while we waited to find our buddy.

Another Beach Panorama
Beach near Alison Park on Waiheke Island

Dan finally caught her attention and she came outside to greet us with a big smile and ask what we had explored during the day.

After catching up, Dan and I headed out to grab our ferry back to Auckland and get a good night’s sleep before touring Tiritiri the following day. (We purchased our ferry tickets online during our ferry trip to Waiheke.)

 

Island Exploring: Day 2

The following morning, Dan and I groggily got up and caught the bus to get back to Pier 4. We boarded our ferry and after a power nap, were at Tiritiri Matangi!

Once the mandatory announcement about leaving no trace and silencing your phones was finished, Dan and I briskly walked away from the crowd to guide ourselves around the island.

Now, there isn’t much detail to write. Basically, there were points of incredible views and points of hot, miserable, uphill walks just to meet more hills to trample over. There were some funny looking birds, like the Tui, and tons of bumble bees drunkenly sucking up all of the pollen they could handle. This place was a paradise! No predators and the perfect temperament. These birds have it good!

After hours of walking around, we made it back to the beginning of the trek to wait for our ferry back to Auckland. Before it arrived, we enjoyed the scenery and relaxed in the shade on the beach.

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Clear waters

We definitely enjoyed a successful two-day venture to end our time in Auckland!

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Tirtiri Matangi Beach
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Enjoying the scenery

 

 

Until next time,

-B

 

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