SB and I spent a weekend away in Waiheke for our anniversary. On the whole, we had an absolutely fantastic time and left the island feeling closer as a couple.
Stoney Batter: This was amazing! A fortification built in WWII to defend New Zealand from possible pacific ocean attacks. The tunnels here are seriously extensive and completely dark - a torch is a must but you can hire them from the little museum outside. Entry is $8 and be smarter cookies than us and bring cash - we were lucky that the admissions person trusted us to pay our entry fee at the local service station upon our return to civilisation. You need a certain level of fitness - the tunnels are a 1.8km walk from the carpark over rolling terrain and there are steep flights of stairs and ladders to climb within the tunnel.
Saratoga Estate: SB loves Mexican food so we had lunch at this vineyard on the Saturday afternoon. The staff were very helpful, the bellhouse at the estate was an absolute stunner and the pricing for meals was not shabby at all, considering the size.
The Beachfront Bar & Cafe: deciding that we needed to escape from our room for dinner on Saturday night (more on that later), we wandered down to the beach at Onetangi. One look at the Pork Belly on special and I was sold. We had a great seat out on the corner of the deck - I think food always tastes better with a sea view :D
Island Thyme (Is.Thyme): They had a wee sign outside saying that they were the best coffee - I'm inclined to agree.
Wandering along the beach and sitting under a tree with SB: Enough said, really.
Waiheke Island Police and the Onetangi Beach Apartments: We knew things were a bit ominous when we started hearing a strong bass sound coming from one of the rooms late in the afternoon. A smoky barbeque sent us in search of some fresher air and some dinner for ourselves. We rested content in the disclaimer in the book that we could call reception after 10pm if noise continued. We returned from dinner to a quieter complex and snuggled in to watch a movie. Lo and behold, around 10:30 our dear neighbours returned and proceeded to start yelling at each other. Reception was called. Nothing changed. The fighting got worse. Thumping, screaming, crying like someone was having a psychotic episode. We called the police. So far as we know, no cops showed up to what sounded like a violent dispute. I ended up popping a sleeping tablet to get to sleep. Thanks, you stupid British twats, for completely ruining the mood on the night of our anniversary. We had the option of $15 off our bill or a voucher for one night stay - we took the voucher but I honestly don't know if I want to stay there again. I know it was a one off and the guests' fault rather than the owners' but we do not have good memories of that particular night - staring out the venetians in the kitchenette to make sure that SB's car was not being damaged is not sexy.
Stoneyridge Cafe: Stoneyridge is known for dance raves - not really SB's or my scene but we decided to have a nosey. The service was slow (which they tried to address by making our drinks on the house), the smell from the lillies on the tables too heavy and attracting bees (which I am allergic to) and the food nothing special as they had closed the kitchen for lunch mains literally as we walked through the door. A very poor second to Saratoga Estate vineyard lunch the day before.
The Ugly (or just plain bizarre):
Grown Man in Diaper: After a very early start and a 45-minute car ferry trip, first goal of the day was breakfast. Ordering our meal, one of the other patrons finishes and wanders out. Cap - check, t-shirt - check. Only instead of pants, he was wearing just an adult diaper. Talk about putting you off your bacon sammies.
Bee with a foot fetish: One of the bees at Stoneyridge would literally not leave me alone. I was wearing jandals and it would land on my toe and proceed to crawl under my foot (I have quite high arches. My feet had just been in sneakers for the big mission at Stoney Batter so I'm not under the illusion that they smelt like roses. I could not relax for the entire meal, was terrified I was going to be stung. Weird bee.
Naked boy on sharp rocks: I'm not going to be a nazi and say that little kids should always have to wear togs on the beach. I'd make sure mine did - NZ sun is harsh on young skin (and old skin too, I'm smothering myself with aloe vera). But if you are going to let your son go wild and free, I'd be steering him away from the extremely sharp rocks... unless you really wanted a daughter.
Definitely will head back and wander again on the soft, silky sands of Waiheke - it's less than an hour and a half away for us and you really feel like you get away from it all. It was definitely a weird weekend in some ways though - ah well, something to tell the grandchildren LOL.