Waiheke Island

early morning ferry

Our last full day in Auckland we spent on Waiheke Island.   We knew nothing about the island except that it had relatively new, boutique vineyards, and that we should have lunch at Casita Miro.  The latter we knew only because we had given a ride to a young French hitch hiker on our first day in New Zealand.   She had worked on Waiheke and when asked for her recommendations, she said we must have lunch at Casita Miro.


We hopped on the 0800 am Fuller Ferry, a short 40 minute ride to the island.  A taxi took us the 5 minutes up to Island Scoot, where we had already reserved two scooters.



Armed with a vineyard map and a hankering for some new wines, we headed out.


T and 2 scooters

We had not heard of any of the vineyards on Waiheke, not surprising, since the oldest was planted around 1981.  25% of the vines on Waiheke are Syrah, 16% Chardonnay and 15% Merlot.   Kennedy Point’s 2007 Syrah won best Syrah in the world in 2009.  None of that made a difference as we took our scooters to the road looking for something new.

Mudbrick drive

Mudbrick view

Our first stop was Mudbrick Vineyard, on a small road just south of where we picked up the scooters.   I just liked the look of the vines and the driveway.  It was purchased in 1992, when they planted their first vines.  They have done a wonderful job and we thoroughly enjoyed the wines.  I bought two bottles to bring back to the states.  The tasting room woman said they bottle only 7,000 cases per year total.  They do not export, but will ship to the states.  They have a lovely view, with a restaurant, lodgings and a garden you are welcome to enjoy with your tasting.


L at Mudbrick



I bought a bottle of their sparkling wine and a Onetangi Valley Syrah/Petit Verdot blend.


We continued on our scooters with no particular destination in mind.  Winding around the roads is easy, there are only a few.

Our next stop was Tantalus Estate.  Again, we stopped in just because we liked the looks of the place as we drove by.

Tantalus tasting room

From the Tantalus Vineyard website:

The original plantings, in 1998, were 3.7ha of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. In 2002, the then owners planted 1.8ha of syrah, merlot, malbec, chardonnay and pinot gris.

In 2013 we identified underperforming areas in the vineyard and replanted 0.9ha in new, high quality cabernet and syrah clones.

They have a beautiful tasting room, and again, we liked the wines and bought two bottles to carry home.  I most liked their chandeliers made from grape vines.

grape vine chandelier



With two bottles of wine strapped to each scooter, we had reached our maximum carrying capacity.   It was time for lunch.  We dropped the name of our hitch hiker to the folks at Tantalus, who knew her, and called Casita Miro on our behalf.   The restaurant was booked, but we were welcome to come sit on the hill and have tapas.  So away we went.
L on scooter
We did just that, sitting among the olive trees enjoying tapas.  We relaxed on the hillside in the sun until we thought it was time to head back.
Casita Miro entrance
Casita Miro inside
on the grass
Returning the scooters, we took the bus to the ferry dock and headed back to Auckland.  The ferry was full of tired and happy dogs, owners, and tourists.  Sunday was a busy ferry day, and seemed to be the day owners and dogs enjoyed the Waiheke beaches.


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