Waiheke Island is the largest island immediately off the coast of Auckland – it is about 16kms away. Thanks to Google Earth you can see Bucklands on the bottom left and Waiheke top right.
8,000 people live on Waiheke, many commute to central Auckland for work. It is a most beautiful place – a complete community with a wide range of houses and inhabitants. In the 1960s it became a hang-out for hippies and dope heads. Since then it has been cleaned up and is a microcosm of New Zealand life.
Getting there requires a ferry – a big red one which can take passengers and cars – and the journey lasts about 50 minutes, just enough time to have a coffee on the way out and a beer on the way back.
Now the reason for our expedition was Demi’s 13th birthday. It is a complicated story, but she only turns 13 in April – but by then the weather would not be ass idyllic as today so Dean and Delia decided to giver her a beach party today.
The journey takes one past all the islands one can normally see from the coast; and even though it is a short journey it is nevertheless a very picturesque one.
There is a shuttle bus waiting for one at the ferry terminal on the island. As you can see the island is about the same width as the city of Auckland so people tend to take their cars or use some of the many buses. It is actually a very large place. The one half of it is barely inhabited and is used for hiking and camping. But the western side is littered with bays, beaches, vineyards and quaint little shops.
We went straight to Palm Beach having passed through the main town on the island Onerua. Bear in mind that it was a perfect, hot and sunny day – there should have been hordes on the beach.
When we arrived I would guess there were 50 people around – excluding our party of 13. There is a rocky outcrop on the far side of the beach beyond which there is a “clothes optional” area – but that is the subject of my other blog… I think Etienne would just love it here!
The waves are non-existent (still) with every minor swell causing a commotion among the kids desperate for some aquatic excitement.
We set up a shade canopy and proceeded to have a simple, enjoyable day at the beach with a bunch of brilliantly behaved 12-year olds. Delia (as usual) had arranged things to a T. There were personalised parcels with food, drink, gifts, actitivites.
When last did you hear about modern day kids spending an entire day playing egg-toss, spoon and egg racing, “find the funny little marshmallow sweet in a tub of condensed milk using only your mouth” – which is a gross-out game called life saver, beach cricket, beach volley ball and lots of swimming (partly to wash off the shattered eggs). Delia took most of the pics and I’ll update this post with a few shots once I get them from her.
We even saw one of these very strange but very clever craft called “Sea Legs” designed and produced in NZ – it came out of the water, straight up the beach and into the drive-way of a house next to the beach. The wheels fold away when it is int he waterr and they don’t impair the dynamics of the boat.
We arrived back at Half-Moon Bay by 6pm, thoroughly exercised, and very content at having spent such a glorious day out in tranquil nature.