The long sufferings carefully worked out itinerary for our second day hinged on us hiring two retro scooters to tour this very hilly, highly populated, second largest island in the gulf. Neither of us had ever ridden any form of motorised two wheeled transport before, slightly worrying!
The ferry crossing over to Waiheke island from Auckland took about forty minutes on a flat calm sea. Our arrival on the island started thus: bus to scooter pick up – long suffering leaves hat on bus, very morose, lots of grumbling, it’s his favourite! First hire place won’t hire to us – big, beautiful, red scooters..not for novices..cases of accidents reported!! All was not lost they did recommend someone who might hire!
Long sufferings shoulders severely slumped as we made the short walk into town -his itinerary already on shaky ground. Sure enough on the forecourt of a shop that was in the process of being renovated six small scooters were lined up and strung together by a locked chain.
On a small chalkboard was the owners number to call. There followed a period of us both typical tourist – especially long suffering in his newly purchased emblazoned Waiheke cap – walking up and down the parade of shops in our quest for first a phone card – we ended up with a hopper bus one? And then a SIM card for the spare phone back in our hotel room! Eventually the deed was done, phone card purchased, box located, phone call made, and long suffering placated.
Brian when he arrived on his huge motorbike did not disappoint, a few wobbly moments ensued when a) he realised the road bikes we rode at home were actually push bikes and b) my trial ride saw me disappearing into the distance at a painfully slow, jolting 5mph my feet scooting either side. Happily long-suffering saved the day and rode like he was born to it, the hire was on……
I would seriously recommend hiring scooters to get about. We covered the island over the day almost end to end. Stopping at secluded hidden coves, walking through wooded trails to get to some, exiting undergrowth we were treated to breathtaking views over the bay and beyond at every turn.
Scooters are a fun, safe – even in my wobbly hands – way to get around. We were our version of ‘easy riders’, teenagers again without a care in the world, as we followed – sometimes slowly uphill – the quiet steep winding roads snaking higher and then dropping downward to beautiful coastlines below.
Recommended by Brian we spent time lazing on Onetangi beach a stunning 1.87km in length, of gorgeous soft golden sand and almost empty of other people. Two restaurant/bars either end – we tried them both -supplied us with tea and beer – only one – we did not want to be drunk in charge and add to the casualty count!
All too soon it was time to head back, dropping off the bikes we caught the bus back to the ferry and joy of joys same bus, same driver = one lost favourite hat. The long suffering was elated a perfect end to a perfect day and we still had the Auckland sky tower to experience later………