We are a 60-year old couple planning to take the ferry to Waiheke for a day in September on our first full day in NZ after a flight from the U.S.(Friday the 13th!). We enjoy being on our own and would like time to explore shops and see some sights so I am torn between the convenience of a tour that will plan everything for us or the flexibility of taking the HOHO bus. I also know there are taxis, but read something about $30 for a taxi.
Tours - seem to be about 5-6 hours, but it is unclear whether this includes the ferry transportation or if this is all wineries. Do tours basically just drive you from one winery to another for several hours or will we have any time to shop or explore the area besides the wineries?
HOHO - I initially liked the HOHO bus because we could ride it the entire route to get a nice tour of the island and then get off at a couple places and stay as long as we wanted. But, will we be wasting a lot of time waiting for the bus to pick us back up? And how busy will it be in September? Will we need to make reservations on our own for some tastings and lunch?
Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.