There is nothing more welcome and appreciated than arriving from a long-haul flight to a familiar face at the airport, a warm shower, and a beautifully made-up double bed. After a few days of settling in and waiting for the stormy weather to pass, my friends and I packed up our overnight bags and headed off on a maritime adventure. 

There is no better way to see Auckland than from the water. Especially if you have access to a yacht as gorgeous as this one!

We set off towards Waiheke Island, stopping in a secluded bay for burgers on the boat in the sunshine, and a walk along the shore.

Waiheke is a beautiful place. A perfect spot for exploring, and it's 24 vineyards make it an extremely popular day trip from Auckland. 

We ate dinner at the Oyster Inn, in Oneroa, where I tentatively sampled my first ever oysters.

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I'm not sure they're going to be a firm favourite from now on, but they were definitely an interesting new food and I ended up quite liking the 'Bloody Mary' style oysters.

Check out that sunset.

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After a surprisingly good night's sleep on the yacht we headed back onshore. 

The easiest way to get around Waiheke is to rent a car, however you can take buses to each vineyard if you don't mind waiting around a bit. What was great about having the car was the chance to stop at the various look out points on the way to each vineyard. 

After a delicious wine tasting at Man O' War vineyard - who knew red wine could taste so good? - we selected a few favourites and sat out on their deck with a local tasting platter. 

Before heading off to the next one.

Each vineyard was charmingly different.

The perfect place to sit and watch the world go by, paired with a few local tipples, of course. 

Sailing back to Auckland we passed some gorgeous houses perched high up on the surrounding islands. 

Maybe one day I'll even go back to Waiheke on my own boat.

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