It’s my birthday! Well, it was. And here’s a little bit about how it went!
Have you ever been to Waiheke or heard of it before? If not, this is the perfect blog for you!
I’m in the process of writing another blog about love languages but one of my greatest love languages is quality time! Robbie, my husband, knows me so well – he spent the several days leading up to my birthday with me exclusively. That’s a norm for us but this was EXTRA special because we got to take a vacation to Waiheke Island near Auckland, New Zealand. We had been wanting to go to Waiheke for over two years!
We started our long weekend with a trip to Auckland for the night so we didn’t have to wake up too early for our ferry ride the next morning. Robbie surprised me with the most romantic dinner ever at the Sky Tower (the restaurant is called Orbit 360°). WOW! The food was incredible and the prices weren’t actually bad for all that’s included (portions, the view, and access to the Sky Tower itself). We will 100% be going back.
I even figured out how to wrap my infinity dress is a new way and matched my beautiful Mesamie NZ earrings with it! Mesamie gifted me three pairs of earrings for my birthday and I wore one pair every day to celebrate. They were all so comfortable and unique. Find me on Instagram to see even more pictures of me wearing them!
The next morning we woke up bright and early, walked to Krispy Kreme (which BTW if you sign-up for their email list you get free donuts on your birthday – I am going to add all the New Zealand birthday freebies that I got to my Deals Directory so you can check them out). It was Robbie’s first time at a Krispy Kreme and it definitely didn’t disappoint!
Our ferry ride to Waiheke Island was NUTS. The water was so stormy, we were bobbing up and down like crazy. I actually said, “I can’t believe it’s legal to be on the water when it’s like this!”
It was a bit calmer on shore and as soon as we arrived, we headed off to our zip line adventure on Waiheke Island! There were only three zip lines but to get back to the start, we got to hike through their private forest which was filled with natural wildlife (especially birds)! The best part of the zip lining tour/adventure, besides the zip lining itself, was that all of the proceeds from our tickets went to helping restore the forests natural habitats.
After zip lining, we headed to our Airbnb to get ready to continue our day with a few wine tastings. We went to everything from a smaller commercial tasting to a gorgeous, homely Italian winery to a beer and wine tasting at a larger restaurant/winery. One thing that I found really interesting about Waiheke was that every winery was SO different. You never knew what to expect!
The Italian winery, Poderi Crisci, was like something out of a movie. Imagine this: the moment you step out of your car you’re transported to an Italian chef’s backyard – you walk through his renaissance style garden lined with raised garden beds filled with vegetables and herbs that he uses for his dishes. You see a handmade swing hanging from the tree tops and as you sit down and lift your feet, you feel the fresh breeze flow through your hair as you gaze at the mountains, trees, and vineyard. You’re welcomed into the chef’s kitchen to enjoy a beautiful wine tasting accompanied by fresh baked bread and homemade olive oil. As you walk inside you immediately smell the freshly picked daffodils on the table. Each time the doors open, you hear the clinking of his pots and pans that are hanging from the ceiling on an old metal gate.
The rest of the weekend was spent tasting wine, exploring the island, eating beautiful food, and having plenty of more tours!
One major highlight of our time in Waiheke was with head chef and winemaker, Connie Festa from Peacock Sky. We had our first and only Degustation Wine Tasting! What is does degustation mean? Degustation is “the careful, appreciative tasting of various food, focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company.” Connie says, “[Degustation] is the fine art of food and wine pairing!”
Connie prepared several small bite sized dishes to accompany the wine we were tasting. The pictures don’t do it justice. We felt like royalty in our private tasting room as we got to hear directly from the chef herself.
We loved hearing about Connie’s journey of opening Peacock Sky, her love of cuisine, and all of the wonderful classes and events she hosts (everything from cooking classes and tours to hen’s dos and weddings)! She even sell their divine brownie as a mix so you can make it at home!
We left Waiheke feeling like we had checked off everything we wanted and more. The saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” couldn’t have been more true. On Monday morning, we packed our things and headed back to the Ferry to spend the day in Auckland. We didn’t get a chance to go to the top of the Sky Tower after dinner, so we went up on Monday! We had the whole place to ourselves which was absolutely magical. We shopped and hit up all the birthday deals we could before heading back home (with a stop off to see Robbie’s parents).
If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen that on top of the incredible weekend that Robbie put together, I also got a wine fridge (which I have been wanting for a long time) and a distiller (thanks dad)!
Thank you SO much to everyone involved in making my birthday weekend so special! I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful.
If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!
Mary Taylor <3