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By Janine Smith
May 29, 2019

A Wine Lover's Guide to Waiheke

Discover all the top drops, food and sights that this island region has on offer.
By Janine Smith
May 29, 2019

in partnership with

Waiheke is an island of rolling hills, gorgeous vineyards and white sandy beaches — a glittering jewel in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf. As it's only a short hop from Auckland's CBD on a ferry and easy to get around, it should definitely be on your list of places to visit when planning that next short break over the pond. Once there, it's not hard to see why Waiheke regularly appears in travel polls as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It has a great reputation for relaxation and, most importantly, good food and wine. With over 20 vineyards to choose from, in the place locals affectionately call the Island of Wine, we've narrowed down some of the finest. Flights to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are super short — around three-and-a-half hours on average — and Air New Zealand offers great everyday fares from all three. That means you could be nestled up by the fire at one of these top spots in no time at all.cp-line


Located on the far east of the island, Man O' War vineyard definitely delivers the wow factor both for its location and its wine. The vineyards are set on slopes that surround the tasting room and restaurant, which sits at the edge of the water. It's the only beachfront cellar door on Waiheke and has amazing views over to the Coromandel Peninsula.

The tasting room is a lovely place to sip and hear about the flagship and single-vineyard drops. Plus, there are platters and sharing plates available to make the most of the experience. From the big robust winter warming Dreadnaught syrah to the softer summer styles of the Pinque rosé and the Exiled pinot gris, there is something for all palates on offer at Man O' War.



Located in Onetangi and hidden away in an amphitheatre amongst the vines, Obsidian's cellar door is a simple but beautifully relaxed setting. The 30-minute tastings are led by passionate, knowledgeable staff, and the wine is sublime. Obsidian is known for its deep and delicious Bordeaux-style reds, though it also makes a delightful rosé and chardonnay, too.

Yields are deliberately kept low to maximise quality and, as a result, only a limited number of cases are produced each year. The vineyard runs a wine club membership and, as an 'Obsidianado', you'll get access to three tasting packages during the year, with each containing at least one bottle of exclusive vintage and variety.



The Thomas family's vineyard restaurant and cellar door has one of the best views on the island, with stunning views across to the Coromandel and Auckland's Sky Tower. Let the crew know you're coming over and they'll pick you up from Matiatia Ferry to transport you to the beautifully designed Batch Winery. It was built with reverence — both of the relaxed Kiwi way of life and the traditional winemaking process.

The restaurant offers a relaxed ambience to dine with friends and family. The menu takes its inspiration from Waiheke favourites, offering fish 'n' chips, locally sourced oysters and a take on the classic Kiwi onion dip served with potato sourdough. It's a wonderful place to while away an afternoon, drinking a glass or two of Fizz rosé and gazing out over Waiheke island.



Passage Rock is Waiheke's most awarded winery, with over 60 gold medals earned since 2001, including 18 gold for its reserve syrah. As well as producing magnificent wine, it's also in the most picturesque setting, with Orapiu Bay in the background. After your wine tasting, make sure you spend an hour or two in the bistro, which serves delicious platters and woodfired pizzas.



Poderi Crisci offers a little slice of Italy on Waiheke with its old world-style restaurant full of Tuscan charm. A great believer in the Italian tradition of eating and drinking, Poderi Crisci has a four-hour Sunday long lunch that's well worth making the time for. But if you only have a few hours to spare, then the degustation or 'trust the chef' menu will suit you well.

The wines are definitely European-influenced — highlights include the cheeky white Arneis and the red blended Viburno. These are produced in a beautiful cellar room that also hosts an annual opera night, which alone is well worth making the trip for.



Situated above Onetangi beach, Casita Miro is a relaxed, vibrant place where you can take your time to enjoy some seriously delicious food and wine. The restaurant specialises in Spanish and Mediterranean sharing plates, with fine Iberian cured meat, cheeses, local oysters and melt-in-your-mouth pork belly.

The outdoor area also runs with the Spanish theme, featuring an evolving mosaic inspired by Gaudi's famous Parc Guell, not to mention views out across the Hauraki Gulf. The tasting room sits outside the restaurant in a colourful garden space, and here you can try a flight of five for $15, including the delightful fortified blend, the Madame Rouge.cp-line

Book your flights to Auckland with Air New Zealand and start planning your next long weekend away. Plus, Vinomofo has released a case of wine featuring six delicious wines representing the diverse and unique sub-regions of Waiheke, Kumeu and Matakana. Every case has a one in 50 chance of winning return flights to Auckland (from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane). T&Cs apply.  

Published on May 29, 2019 by Janine Smith

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