An island that many consider the Martha's Vineyard of New Zealand takes a similarly relaxed approach to life. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Waiheke Island, a 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland, is a popular day trip for Kiwi’s and visitors alike.
While its topography and shoreline beg comparisons to Martha’s Vineyard on the other side of the world, it’s less than half the size of the Massachusetts island.
As I experienced as a guest of New Zealand tourism, Waiheke can be a respectable Vineyard knock off, especially for New Yorkers.
"It's island living to a T, it’s the perfect kind of balance after you leave the city, people here are not stressed, they work to live instead of living to work," says Ali Duncan, a transplanted New Yorker.
Many of those who work to live are artists, as there is a substantial gallery and studio community that keeps its doors wide open.
"First and foremost it is a gentle place, it’s an amazing island in that it has a softness to it, it’s a place where you are very close to the elements. You look out from my studio doors and its all there to be absorbed by my canvases," says Gabriella Lewenz, a visual artist.
With a temperate climate influenced by the surrounding ocean, Waiheke is a youngish wine producing island.
"We don’t have that 700 years of history that says you must grow this grape here. We experiment and see what works," explains Bob Scott of Mudbrick Vineyards.
What works well are reds. Eighty percent of the wines produced fall into the Bordeaux and Rhone categories. In all, 14 wineries cultivate grapes for 26 labels.
Many of the vineyards have gourmet dining. Waiheke also is home to award winning olive oil where you can drop in for tastings.
If you opt to stay overnight, hotels on the island range from blow-your-budget to backpackers.