*One customer’s personal adventure around Waiheke Island with his Cruzen Camper
Taking my English girlfriend to New Zealand for the first time was a daunting experience. Not only was there meeting friends and family for the first time to navigate but this would also be the longest I had spent with her at one time – who knows if I would survive. I wanted to show off New Zealand’s best bits, and so a trip to Waiheke Island was a must. I had been to Waiheke many times in the past and knew it could be tricky to get around, being reliant on irregular buses and costly taxis. We had already booked a full day vineyard tour to give us our first taste of the island and decided to stay for a night to provide us with more time to explore. We found a perfect little campervan for the two of us with Cruzen Campers that would give us the flexibility to explore as well as a place to stay for the night. We took the morning car ferry from Halfmoon Bay mariner over to the island that cost the two of us and the campervan $280NZD. On arriving, we parked the campervan up for the day at Onetangi beach where we planned to spend the night and had arranged to be picked up by our tour guide.
The vineyards we went to were a good range of staple must see’s, such as Mudbrick, to hidden boutique gems like Obsidian. Our tour guide was excellent at showing us around and kept us entertained with anecdotal facts about the island while shuttling us from vineyard to vineyard. After our final vineyard, our guide dropped us back at our campervan before heading back to the wharf to drop off the remaining guests.
We had a quick swim and went for dinner. In a row of three, Charlie Farley’s is a waterfront restaurant that did not disappoint. The food was amazing, topped with excellent service and all for a reasonable price – for me the best of the trip.
After a few more wines, we strolled back to the campervan for a surprisingly comfortable sleep. As we were parked just off the road, so we decided to keep the rear door closed to keep the noise down. With the campervan setup for either scenario, it meant we had a good night’s sleep, waking fresh and ready to explore in the morning.
Using the campervans wifi, we made a plan to head to the furthest shore on the East of the island and headed for Man of War bay. The campervan handled the windy roads easily before we made our way on to the gravel road, roughly 15kms from the bay. Taking the campervan slowly over the gravel we finally made it – not for the faint of heart. The journey, however, was worth the effort.
Man of War bay also was an excellent vineyard where we had a free sample of three exquisite wines – we had to make a purchase. From here we decided to head back to the main roads, giving the campervan a reprieve from the bumpy and dusty roads. On looking for a beach to have a quick dip we stumbled upon our second vineyard for the day, Passage Rock. It was lunchtime, so we decided to have their five wine sampling for 10NZD followed by lunch. We also decided to purchase another bottle of one of the wine, and that with lunch, they waived the cost of the wine sampling.
Eventually finding a beach not far away we had a quick swim and relaxed on the beach before we headed back to the wharf to catch our ferry back to the mainland.
Our impromptu vineyard tour felt much more relaxed and significantly cheaper, as the two vineyards visited had free or less expensive sampling options than we had with the tour. I was, of course, restricted to how many I could actually sample having to drive afterwards. With the money saved, we purchased bottles of our favourite wines that we then enjoyed (showed off) with friends and family, so I didn’t feel as though I missed out.
Overall a great trip that my girlfriend enjoyed, buying me endless brownie points to be used upon return to England.