Waiheke Island wins 2009 smart travel pick
13 Jan 2009
Waiheke - a little island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf celebrated for its beaches, artists, award-winning wines and olive oil - gets the tick of approval and no. 2 placing on Frommer’s top destinations list for 2009.
Just released, the 2009 list from international trip advisors Frommers.com focuses on smart travel choices, places that are affordable and interesting.
"At the forefront of New Zealand's massive wine and olive industry, Waiheke Island still retains a lot of the summer holiday, beach-quality Europeans and creative types come to expect, but there are plenty of deals to be found," according to Frommers.
Ferry-ride from Auckland
A 35-minute ferry ride from cosmopolitan Auckland, the island with white sand beaches and wide blue ocean vistas of the Hauraki Gulf is a favourite summer holiday spot for Kiwis. Its secluded shores are dotted with baches or summer cottages.
The island is home to about 8000 permanent residents including more than 70 working artists, writers and craftspeople whose artistic influence colours local cultural life.
In summer, the island's population swells to over 30,000 as visitors come to enjoy sub-tropical temperatures, beaches, native bush and birdlife, farmland, vineyards, olive groves, wineries, cafés and restaurants.
Wine and olives
Known as ‘the island of wine’, Waiheke is a hot spot for New Zealand's acclaimed wine and olive industries.
The sultry Mediterranean-style climate offers optimum conditions for the cultivation of grapes and olives, and Waiheke wines regularly earn international acclaim.
Many vineyards now also provide classy accommodation and fine dining restaurants.
Waiheke Wine Festival
From 6 - 8 February, the 2009 Waiheke Wine Festival is expected to attract a connoisseur crowd of thousands of wine enthusiasts looking to enjoy high quality locally-produced fine wines, gourmet food and music events in the spectacular vineyard surroundings of the Isola Estate.
Events include a Waitangi Day ‘long lunch’ (6 February) and ‘Sunday brunch’ (8 February).
Connells Bay Sculpture Park
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