Wild on Waiheke
Wild on Waiheke bodes well as a relaxed eating and drinking destination
On every visit to the island I make sure to pop in and try something new alongside a glass of island beer.
A spot on the grass, on one of the scattered bean bags or tables, is the ultimate sunny afternoon destination; though be aware, a spot will be as rare as hens teeth once the buses arrive and the sun hits its zenith. The staff will hopefully point you in the right direction; they have that friendly Waiheke quirk that welcomes you with open arms and leads to conversations about everything and nothing.
Like everywhere else on the island, Wild on Waiheke makes their own wine. As well as their brand of varietals under the banner Topknot Hill, a microbrewery can be found nestled between the vines, as looked after by master brewer Alan Knight. The Waiheke Island Brewery pumps out a range of craft beers including a pale ale, wheat, dark and malt beer as well as a non-alcoholic ginger beer and cider.
The pizzas are perfect for sharing between two, alongside a salad or fries, and come in pleasant combinations like: smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers; wild venison salami with olives, feta and beetroot and horipito relish and chicken with bacon, guacamole and salsa. The vegetarian option of haloumi, spinach, mushrooms is a highlight and they're not shy on the firm, squeeky cheese.
If you're looking to induce food envy into the rest of your table or anyone within a kilometre radius, the burgers are your best bet. The mammoth beasts come with buns from the island's Ringawera bakery and are skewered with mighty onion rings and gherkin. The 'Giant Tacos' deserve their name and the $16.5 - 21.5 price tag, while the caeser salad is served in a bowl the size of an average person's head.
Boredom is an unlikely factor while you digest and sip on a glass of Waiheke's finest, but if the state comes along in a hurry, you'll be in good hands with petanque, giant chess, archery and electronic skeet shooting at arms reach around the property.
Buses pull up right outside every hour so you have plenty of time to relax before moving on to the next place. But, before you make a b-line for the ferry, I suggest popping next door to Te Motu for a glass or two more and something completely different.