Not so long ago, Aucklanders seeking more peace and quiet in their lifestyle would quit the mainland and head to Waiheke.

That might all change if Lonely Planet has its way.

The jewel of the Hauraki Gulf has been named as one of the world's best regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016, the publisher's annual summary of the travel trends for the upcoming year.

It's a deserved accolade. Waiheke is one of the few places in New Zealand that can deliver the kind of high-end food-and-wine experience for which international travellers will drop serious coin. The island also delivers the kind of jaw-dropping natural beauty that visitors to New Zealand have been conditioned to expect. Every time I arrive by ferry on the island, I'm struck by the sensation of reaching a new climate.

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True, these awards are a bit of a grab-bag, with enough pearls thrown to the wind to ensure plenty of press coverage globally -- on which note: a shout-out to Ferg Burgers in Queenstown, who provide, apparently, the world's fifth-best Burger Experience.

But Waiheke deserves its salute. It's increasingly a key part of the Golden Triangle of New Zealand tourism -- Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown.

Lonely Planet is by no means the first to heap praise on Waiheke. A week ago, the island came in fourth on Conde Nast Traveller's list of the Best Islands in the World.

Such success deserves a toast. Now then, which vineyard shall we choose?

ROTORUA DAILY POST
26 Oct, 2015 6:54am
2 minutes to read