|And we're off!|
The island has long been the hangout of artists, eccentrics, writers and alternative life stylers and there's still a bohemian vibe about the place, despite the fact that over the last 20 or so years increasing numbers of affluent Aucklanders and ex patriots have 'discovered' it. Now millionaires mansions nestle side by side with small artists shacks in a happy melting pot of island dwellers. Of the 9500 or so permanent residents around a 1000 commute to Auckland for work. The 21 kilometre long island really is a place of two halves. The western side is well populated with a great choice of beaches, restaurants, vineyards, and trendy shops, perfect for holiday makers to fritter the days away. The eastern side of the island is mainly agricultural and more like the Waiheke I knew as a child; quiet, rural, and like the whole island, incredibly beautiful.
|Oneroa Village has cafes bars, restaurants, shops, art galleries and stunning views|
|Yours truly at Wild on Waiheke|
NB: They are not all mine!
|A plump kereru in our garden|
There are plenty of coffee bars on the island, all offering a delicious brew. In the main village of Oneroa you are spoilt for choice. Oneroa hums with visitors, (the island's population doubles in the holiday season), and the views from the main street are spectacular but at times its a bit too busy so coffee at the quaint Omiha Hall, in Rocky Bay, a quiet, more rural part of the island, is the ideal spot to just stop and smell the roses, metaphorically speaking.
|Saturday Morning Ostend Market|
If you want a taste of what some of the island's resident artists and writers have to offer go to the Saturday morning Ostend market, you'll be sure to pick up some good books, crafts or sample some tasty snack food. Just down the road is a large, well stocked supermarket.
Years ago I used to enjoy a series of travel books which came under the title of "How to Get Lost and Found in....." The author, John McDermott, used to refer the coming of city style services to holiday spots as "The goodie, damn syndrome". Goodie, you could now get everything you were used to getting at home and, damn, because now the holiday spot was losing some of its attraction as an off-the-grid, out-of-the-way, make-do spot. I know what he meant, nevertheless it was mighty handy to pop into the supermarket for supplies.
|Daughter-in-law and grandchildren building a beach pool at Palm Beach|
So, thanks to my car sick prone grandson, we really did have the perfect family holiday and will certainly return.