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About 30 years ago, Waiheke was seen as a quaint, if backward rural weekend retreat for Aucklanders who had a holiday home there. And it is true, that Waiheke was a haven for artists, old hippies, and alternative life-stylers. Yet back in 1978 Kim and Jeanette Goldwater had the vision and passion to establish the Island's very first vineyard. And now, of course, many Aucklanders are kicking themselves that they didn’t invest in land in what is now premium, million dollar-plus real estate, and one of the trendiest boutique wine regions in NZ. A tourist Mecca in summer, Waiheke’s wine, 5 Star restaurants and stunning Hauraki Gulf views draws both local and international visitors.
Local population of around 8,000 can swell to three times or more that number on a busy summer’s day. Throughout the year it is also a popular venue for VIP and corporate long lunches, where guests are sometimes helicoptered in. For the motivated independent traveller lacking a helicopter - a ferry ride from downtown Auckland’s Ferry Terminal will get you there in 35-minutes. Do be aware that these are small boutique wineries and as such most of them charge $NZ 5 to $NZ 15 for tasting fees. (Sometimes the fees are deducted from any purchases).
Waiheke is definitely a 'don't miss' if you are visiting Auckland - stunning scenery, charming boutique wineries and fantastic cuisine.
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