Thursday 26 February 2015
We are just popping over to Auckland (one of our all time favourite destinations) for a cheeky extra long weekend. We have a great deal on some Emirates flights purchased last year and the time has finally arrived. Woohoo.
Luckily we are anxious sleepers before a flight and awake early cause I’ve accidentally set my alarm for 5:00 pm and not 5:00 am. Oops – rookie mistake.
We are on a 8:25 am flight out of Brizzie but due to those pesky time differences we don’t arrive in Auckland until 2:35 pm (its only a 3 hr 10 min flight). Snap – half a day gone!
The plan is to catch the 4:00 o’clock ferry from Auckland Harbour to Waiheke Island – that gives us a very tight deadline to get off the plane, collect our bags, through customs and quarantine (thats the hardest bit) and taxi to the ferry terminal in downtown Auckland. And by some miracle we make it – somehow we pick the right lines (we are notorious for picking the wrong line – you know the one where there is a militant stickler that triple checks everything, or the equipment is faulty, or the person in front of you doesn’t know they have forms to be completed and can’t find their passport) and we get a brilliant taxi-driver that is happy to bend the rules to get the job done! We make it to the ferry with just a minute to spare – literally.
On the ferry we grab a beer and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Auckland Harbour from the back deck. It’s a brisk, sunny day and all is perfect in the world.
We are getting picked up at the ferry by our host and are to be driven to our lodgings for the next 3 nights. I check my instructions and oops I was supposed to ring as we got on the ferry (not off it). So we have to wait half an hour for George. We get talking to a porter at the wharf, a wirery Scotsman who has made the island his home for 25 years. After chatting to him about the beauty of the island, his time in Australia (10 or so years) and how friendly Kiwi’s are, Howard starts to grill him on where to find the best pies, fish and chips, bread, beaches, fresh seafood, bottle shop etc etc .
Before too long George arrives to take us to the “Beach Batch”. This batch is on his farm see www.bookabatch.co.nz (check it out – I recommend this website). George and his wife have a farm at the end of Gordons Road on Awaaworoa Bay. Its about a 20 minute drive, the last 5 being on dirt roads, through the farm gate, up the dirt track, along a ridge and then down a very steep track past the farm house which is nestled between the hills and the bay, 50 metres around the corner is the “Beach Batch”.
Totally secluded our small one room house sits metres from the oyster shell strewn beach. Its perfect! George shows us around and points out the outdoor heated spa, the kayaks (NO!), the kitchen facilities etc. And makes arrangements to come back in 3 days time to take us back to the ferry and leaves us in peace.
As the Batch is very isolated and a four wheel drive is required to get on and off the farm, a car comes with the holiday rental. It’s a dirty old beaten up Rav 4, it even comes with a resident spider in the passenger rear vision mirror that rebuilds his web every night. Its perfect!
After dropping off our bags we jump back in the Rav 4 and head to the Countdown (don’t forget to return you trundler!) for some supplies – nibbles, milk, beer, wine etc. We decide that while we are out we might as well have an early dinner before we retire back to the Batch. Following our instructions from our friendly Scottish porter we head to Palm Beach (“Pam” Beach to the locals) for the best fish and chips on the island. But first we go for a quiet walk along the beach – there are a few families around enjoying the sunset and having BBQ’s.
At the appropriately name Palm Beach Fish and Chips I grab one of the picnic tables and Howard orders us a not so healthy feast, which we enjoy with a BYO beverage. The fish is deliciously fresh and the chips light and crunchy.
As the sun very slowly sets we head back to the Batch for the night. We crack open a bottle of wine and sit back in our loungers just enjoying the peace and quiet. A small yacht has come into the bay and thrown over its anchor just off our beach. Its the only sign of civilisation in sight. Sheer bliss!