Friday, August 26, 2011

Sheep on Stilts

Last weekend we went to a magical place of hope and wonder called Waiheke Island.  It is a 45 minute ferry ride from Auckland, and it is filled with beaches, art galleries, wineries and alpacas.  With highlights like that and with its relaxed island feel, you instantly want to lie on the grass and start singing “Hakuna Matata”. (Hakuna. Matata. Hakuna. Matata. It means no worries!”).  
You all know you just sang that in your head.  I win.
And while you can’t see dancing warthogs named Pumba on the island, you can see skipping alpacas. And that’s kind of the same thing.
Cue Azzuro Groves.  It is a small boutique farm where you can taste olive oils.  But we had bigger aspirations.
“We would like to pet your alpacas please”
Then the nice lady handed us some alpaca food, and the alpacas came awkwardly skip-running towards us.  If you have never seen an alpaca in real life, it is actually a sheep on stilts.  Those sheep are pretty talented too because not a one of them lost their balance while we were there.  If I was a sheep on stilts, I would fall down.   Actually if I was a person on stilts, I would still fall down.

See the stilts!

After playing with the alpacas, we visited two beaches, Onetangi and Palm Beach.  Onetangi has a great shell collection, and Palm Beach has impressive rock formations.
At Palm Beach, my friend and I started taking lots of pictures: rocks, us on rocks, rocks with boats in the distance, etc.  We had travelled a little ways down the beach and just rounded a corner when David urgently whispered behind us:
“Um, guys...”
We whipped around. Cameras poised in the air, and.....
Oh, ummm, well hello nudist beach.  Wasn’t expecting that one.  
I’m not quite sure who looked more shocked, us or the old, naked people who we unintentionally had our cameras pointed at.
I feel like they really need a sign: “WARNING, there are naked, old people around the corner.  Proceed at your own risk”.  

Do NOT go past this point.
Oh and don’t worry, we also visited some of the 38 wineries on the island.  Besides some decent wine, Stonyridge has a pretty vineyard, Wild on Waiheke has a good brewery, and Te Whau and Mudbrick both have fantastic views.

Fantastic Views, Te Whau
So you may be asking, “This island you speak of, it really exists?”
Absolutely it does, people.  Come visit us, and we will take you there.  I will even buy you a glass of wine.  And we will avoid the nudist beach. 
- Meredith

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