|Auckland's waterfront as seen from the ferry.|
Waiheki (pronounced why-he-key) Island is like a modern Mackinaw Island is some ways. There are beautiful homes, hotels and many tourist places to eat and shop. And there are about 30 wineries on the island! Wine tours are a big attraction.
The biggest difference is that there are 1,400 residents who commute to Auckland by ferry everyday. There are several small villages with city centers around the island. Most are located on beautiful bays where boats anchor regularly. Many of the people we have met at the marina head out to Waiheke Island for the weekends.
Once again we saw the outstanding public transportation system of New Zealand at work. There are bus stops everywhere so it is easy to get around the island.
|One of the many beautiful anchorages on Waiheke Island|
|This is the longest beach on the island. Beautiful!|
After we left the dock, she asked how we knew there was a Saturday morning ferry. I said that I saw it is in the schedule brochure. She then pointed out that there is no weekend ferry at 7:30 AM or any of the other times on that schedule! They had made a run across to drop off crew and we happened onto the return run along with a young couple from Germany who had made the same mistake.
So the next question was: how do we get back to Gulf Harbour. It looked like we were about to learn the ins and outs of the local bus routes! So after a lovely day on Waiheke Island, we returned to Auckland and went to the Britomart to check out the bus schedules. Unfortunately, there were no express buses on the weekend so we were going to experience a very long and round about way home.
|Back "home" in the marina.|
The buses are very clean and comfortable and the drivers and other passengers were very helpful as we had to make a transfer. The positive was that it was relaxing and we saw many of the small inland and coastal communities that we would not have visited. Detroit metropolitan area could take a lesson on how to operate a great public transportation system from Auckland.
In general, we have to say that the Kiwis and Maori are the most helpful people. They are very friendly and giving of their time and knowledge. It is a real treat to spend six months here! Beautiful land, beautiful people.