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This is the same review I posted on Tripadvisor
Catching the ferry from Pier 2 in Auckland was easy enough. The pier was short walk from our Airbnb in the Britomart area. Unless you are staying on Waiheke Island, I would recommend you purchase round trip tickets for the ferry from here, that way you dont have to get them from the office at Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island, seems to be more convenient this way.
The ferry ride was perfect since the weather was nice so the boat didnt rock too much, that is great for someone like me who doesnt have their sea legs. I did take something for that before the ferry ride just in case. The tour for us started the minute we left the pier in Auckland as taking in the views of Auckland and approaching Waiheke Island was awesome.
As we disembarked the ferry at Matiatia Wharf our tour guide, Simon, met us and a very nice couple from Italy who was part of our tour which brought the total group count to 5, which was pretty nice. Simon was very professional and friendly with a great sense of humor. He pointed out places of interest, mentioned history and interesting facts about the island as we made our way around the area. In between each winery and points of the tour he stopped at scenic areas for us to rest and take in the views, snap some photos and just enjoy ourselves.
Our first tour stop was the olive oil farm, a very interesting experience and we got to sample the best olive oil that I have ever tasted it was very fresh and flavorful. We stopped at 3 boutique wineries after that at each one had its own unique flair. I am by no means a wine expert, but the wines we tasted here were the best I have ever had. I never understood the complexities of wine pairings but I have a better understanding of it now. Our lunch was wonderful, there was more than enough to go around, very tasty and very pleasant company the couple from Italy. We left there entirely satisfied.
When we left, Simon let us know he could drop us off anywhere between there and the Wharf if we were interested and gave us directions on how to get around, catch a bus or cab to get us where we needed to go. I was not feeling well from an ongoing cold and I had asked him to drop us off at the clinic they call it the surgeons office, he was more than willing to do so and before he left us he made doubly sure that we knew how to get back to the wharf.
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is interested. It was well worth the cost I am surprised that they do not charge more. I am guessing if you convert the USD price to NZD price it would seem to be more. I booked this through Viator and the tour operator is Ananda tours, excellent service and excellent employees. From other reviews I have read, all their tour guides are wonderful, but I believe Simon is the best.
A fantastic Day. Tour Leader/Drive Paul was fantastic. Very knowledgeable. First stop was the Olive Oil company which was great, gained a real insight into the making of olive oil. Product was awesome and well worth the visit. Then on to 3 vine yards where we experienced a range of wines matched to food. Great day thank you. Paul thanks for the chocolates you dropped into reception. You really didn't need to but a great touch to end the day.
We had a wonderful day being escorted by our guide David. There were 5 of us Aussies and we had the bus all to ourselves as 2 others didn't turn up.... their loss and our gain was just like a private tour. All the staff at each winery and the Olive Oil establishment were very informative and friendly and took the time to spend with us and explain their processes. The Lunch platter was extraordinary, and the oyster tasting was superb. So glad we picked this tour, well worth the money. Thank you David for your hospitality, patience and expertise, you do your job very well.
It was a great way to see Waiheke Island. We were rushed just a bit at the Olive Oil tasting and would have liked to learn more more having the wines paired with the food tasting was great. Learned a lot about food with wine.
I think Viator could have done a little better job with explaining the Ferry system and what ticket you need for what.
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