Chef and Oys­ter Inn owner Josh Emett shares his in­sider tips for Waiheke Is­land

Herald on Sunday - - SUNDAY TRAVEL -

Waiheke is a food and wine lover’s par­adise, with world-class vine­yards and great restau­rants that are open year round. There are idyl­lic, beau­ti­ful beaches, more than 100km of trail walks, heaps of ac­tiv­i­ties like zip-lin­ing, kayak­ing and fish­ing.

Park Point Walk is a mix­ture of de­serted beaches, NZ na­tive bush, rocky coast­lines and also a chance to eye some of Waiheke’s most lux­u­ri­ous homes. Although bet­ter re­served for a rainy day, the Waiheke Cinema is an un­con­ven­tional and ec­cen­tric cinema where seat­ing is lo­cally do­nated couches and so­fas.

If you have time for kayak­ing, the rock pools around Lit­tle Oneroa to Sandy Bay and En­clo­sure Bay are great for fam­ily kayak­ing and snorkellin­g and this side of the is­land is of­ten pro­tected from the wind. I also love vis­it­ing

Man O War Vine­yards — the drive there and back lets you see a good amount of the is­land in one go and they of­fer a shut­tle if you don’t have a car.

Don’t miss the Satur­day mar­ket in Os­tend — it's the best cross-sec­tion of Waiheke life, food pur­vey­ors and in­ter­est­ing lo­cal stalls. And try wine tast­ing at Goldie Es­tate. It's owned by Auck­land Uni, so when you visit there for a tast­ing you’re sup­port­ing the hands of viti­cul­ture learn­ing — plus the chardon­nay is one of my favourites.

A place I’m lov­ing is the newly opened plant­fo­cused cafe Ak­ito right op­po­site The Oys­ter Inn, I love their turmeric latte.

Holly at the Is­land Gro­cer makes a great cof­fee and I of­ten grab one of their de­li­cious juices as well, plus they have so much great pro­duce. A toasted sand­wich from the Palm Beach Store — I par­tic­u­larly love the cheese and three types of onion (red, white and spring). They also make their own jars of sam­bal and if you ask nicely they’ll let you add it to your toastie.

For amaz­ing views, head to the look­out above lit­tle Palm Beach. Also at Batch Win­ery, there are great 360-de­gree views of the is­land. Mud­brick and Ca­ble Bay have beau­ti­ful sun­set views. The top of Trig Hill Rd near One­tangi is the high­est look­out on the western side of the is­land, also with wrap­around views. I love the views from The Oys­ter Inn across Oneroa Bay where some­times you will see dol­phins play­ing.

Waiheke has a di­verse and colour­ful pop­u­la­tion, as well as laid back, re­laxed en­ergy. Even with the growth of hos­pi­tal­ity here, there’s a re­laxed vibe at all the venues.

Above: Josh Emett at Oys­ter Inn. Photo / Sup­plied Photo be­low / Miles Holden

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