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“Great excursion from Auckland”
Review of Ananda Tours

Ananda Tours
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$138.69*
and up
Full-Day Waiheke Island Food and Wine Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Ananda Tours is a specialist Waiheke Island Tour Company with over 15 years experience in customised, unique tour experiences. We offer personalised, flexible itineraries designed to showcase the best of the Island’s natural beauty, vineyards and art culture. Discover Waiheke Island’s award-winning boutique wineries and locally produced gourmet delights, while enjoying an informed commentary by one of our professional, local guides. Small groups and personalised service ensure you get the most out of your Waiheke experience.Half and full day tours available.
Reviewed May 1, 2013

What a great way to spend a day in Auckland - ride a ferry (about an hour), relax on a beach, drink some wine... We knew we wanted to visit the island, and visit some wineries, what we struggled a bit with was the getting around part. There is a cheap shuttle that runs about once an hour around the island and stops at most wineries (you need to pre-buy the bus pass), but we wanted both to be a bit more efficient with our limited time (i.e. less waiting around at bus stops) and also get a bit more attention at the wineries and so we decided to hop on a guided tour. There are a couple to choose from although since we called late on Sunday for a Monday trip, we did find some full. We were pleasantly surprised that Ananda picked up the phone at that time and did have room for us. If that doesnt work, there is at least one taxi company that offers guided trips around the island - ofcourse you'll pay a bit more, but the difference isnt that big.

There's a very pleasant ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke, and then you're met at the ferry terminal. Our driver/guide was very friendly and helpful. We were scheduled to visit 4 wineries (some were closed at this time; early April). I'm guessing this has something to with drinking wine, but after the first couple of high energy winery visits, by the time we hit the fourth one both the presentation and the attentiveness of our fellow travellers had fallen quite a lot. Indeed, at the last one they kept on telling us how they were sold out of their most popular wines and thus had none of those for tasting. They also seemed to have little of the solid presentation skills of the earlier wineries we had visited. Although clearly disappointed at this last visit, that's probably just how it goes - some places are better than others. Of the ones we visited, we liked (if I remember the name properly) Peacock Sky best as they had paired wines with food and had a spirited presentation (they have a restaurant too if you want to eat there). After a morning of tasting, there was an opportunity to have a latish lunch at (?) mudbrick. By this time in our vacation (almost last day) we were pretty much done with fancy eating, and although highly rated we were also told by some of our fellow travellers that it was very expensive for what you got.

We just grabbed a relaxed lunch in the small main town of Waiheke and then strolled down to the beach for some downtime before getting picked up to go back to Auckland on the ferry. I'll end this review the way I started it - what a great day to spend in/away when you're in Auckland.

1  Thank jannep123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
anandajenny, Owner at Ananda Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2013

Hi,
Thanks for summarising some of the options available for visiting the vineyards on the Island.
Glad you decided on Ananda Tours and very happy that you had a great time.
Regards
Jenny

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"gourmet food and wine"
in 24 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 44 reviews
"kennedy point"
in 38 reviews
"peacock sky"
in 40 reviews
"olive oil"
in 35 reviews
"great tour"
in 33 reviews
"ferry tickets"
in 18 reviews
"stony ridge"
in 12 reviews
"waiheke wine tour"
in 22 reviews
"oysters"
in 23 reviews
"new zealand"
in 32 reviews
"platter lunch"
in 8 reviews
"food tour"
in 9 reviews
"visiting wineries"
in 5 reviews
"cable bay"
in 18 reviews
"first stop"
in 14 reviews
"different wineries"
in 12 reviews
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380 - 384 of 469 reviews

Reviewed May 1, 2013

We had a great day touring the Waiheke vineyards. The guide was very knowledgeable and took us to some great wineries, including lunch at Stonyridge, which many of us wanted to visit. The wineries were great, wines were delicious and could not have asked for a better group and day!

Thank tlb999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
anandajenny, Owner at Ananda Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2013

Hi,
Thanks so much for the review.
Glad you had a great day.
Thanks for coming so far to see us all on the Island
Jenny

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Reviewed April 27, 2013

We can only rate it 3 = average as we had never taken a guided wine tour before but here goes... Friendly host / coach driver met us at the ferry terminal on Waiheke Island. Ferry cost is additional at $35 pp return to Auckland. We caught the 10am ferry, and met the host / driver at 10.30am on the island, No problems there.
We were in a mixed small party of 8 and we all seemed to enjoy the experience. We were taken to 3 wineries all within a short drive of the ferry terminal and dropped off at our choice of luncheon destination and collected later for the return to the ferry. Host / driver was very engaging and quite genuine. The island is quite large but we only got to see a very small section of it, within a few km of the ferry, this may have been dependent on the day of the week and the wineries available to us that day. We had a good time. This was the first guided wine tour we have taken. We have been to hundreds of wineries around the world, all self driven and in retrospect, self drive is the better way to go if you can do it. As we did not have access to a vehicle on Waiheke Island, the tour bus was the means of access on this occasion. Maybe I should give it 4 stars and I mean no disrespect to the operator as it was an ok tour.

1  Thank KimandCheryl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
anandajenny, Owner at Ananda Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2013

Hi,
Thanks for your Trip advisor review and Im sorry your experience was just "average" which seems to be based on that fact that you didnt see much of the Island as everything else you seem to be happy with. Our tours are arranged around choice of vineyards and choice of lunch venues.
Not everybody has to do the same itinerary or nor to the same lunch venue. You chose Fenice a cafe in the village which, I agree is 1km from the ferry.
I think Im missing something.

Regards
Jenny

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Reviewed April 27, 2013

As I am currently on a work assignment in Auckland, I thought it would be fun to get out and do something different for the weekend. A work colleague suggested visiting Waiheke Island so, taking his advice, I Googled it and came up with a few wineries and tour companies. I booked this one online on the spur of the moment - just the night before in fact - for no particular reason, other than I liked their logo.
I chose 'The Essence of Waiheke' Wine Tour and it surely did not disappoint. The whole operation ran smoothly from start to finish. The owner Jenny texted me my ferry booking number first thing in the morning; I simply went to the ferry terminal, quoted the number and was promptly issued a return ticket, no hassle. The ferry ride itself was just as much part of the tour, just 35 minutes out of central Auckland, with fantastic views of other small islands, yachts skimming past and of course looking back towards the City skyline in the distance.
Tour guide Nick was there to greet us at the other end, grinning and holding up a placard with names on it, no ambiguity there. Nick is an affable, chatty fellow who belies his true age by about 15 years (I'm guessing this is down to taking pleasure in his work, and being well-preserved from the wine!).
I was travelling solo, but there were four other people on the tour with me, a young couple visiting from Hawaii and a slightly older couple from Auckland on a weekend getaway. I found all of them to be very friendly, and once we had hopped on the minibus and Nick had driven us to the first winery, conversation started flowing like the delicious liquid we were tasting.
In all, we visited 3 wineries -Mudbrick, Kennedy and Obsidian - and found all of the vintners to be informative and passionate about their work. I found the Kennedy vineyard of particular interest, as it is apparently the only truly 'organic' one on the island, and despite (or because of?) it's small size, has won awards overseas. We also got a peek behind the scenes there, at the fermentation tanks and wine barrels, although unfortunately the actual process had already taken place a few weeks earlier. Interestingly, the first vineyards on the island were established less than 30 years ago, but Syrah and Chardonnay varietals have found a particular niche there.
All too quickly the wine-tasting part was over, and we were driven to the respective places we had chosen for lunch. The Aucklanders chose to lunch at a place called Stoneridge, which by all accounts is extremely popular and needs to be booked in advance. I lunched in Oneroa village with the Hawaiian couple, at an expensive but great open-style restaurant (the name of which escapes me) with a view of the ocean, awesome fish & chips and the biggest and best oysters I have ever tasted. Just to be totally indulgent we washed these down with Laphroaig single malt!
This too was over all-too-quickly, and suddenly it was time to meet up with Nick again, who was standing at the end of the road frantically waving at us, lest we should miss our ferry back to the mainland.
In the end however there was nothing to worry about, we got there 10 minutes early - nowhere in Waiheke is anywhere more than a relative stone's throw away - thanked our excellent guide and bid him farewell. Then we ambled onto the ferry, where we continued our conversation until returning to the relative hustle and bustle of the City, exchanged contact details and parted ways.

Thank Adzaaahhh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
anandajenny, Owner at Ananda Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2013

Hi,
You would make a great travel writer.
Reading your review made me feel like doing the tour myself sometime...as a visitor rather than a driver.

Hope you make it to Hawaii sometime
Cheers
Jenny

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Reviewed April 21, 2013

After first asking our hotel concierge about Waiheke wine tours, and not goetting much useful information, we decided to rely on the Trip Advisor research I had done before leaving home. We made a last minute booking with Ananda Tours the morning we arrived in Auckland. The owner Jenny was very accommodating, willing to work with our need to get 4 ladies showered and alert before heading to the island. It was a Sunday, not too crowded, and I knew we made the right choice as soon as we landed and I saw lots of people getting on very large tour buses.

Jenny took us to her large comfortable van, and off we went, making stops as needed for us to photograph the beautiful scenery. We went to three wineries (Mudbrick, Obsidian, and Stony Ridge) and elected some gallery and shopping time over the possible fourth winery as we were "hitting the wall" of jet lag.

Jenny was very knowledgeable, friendly and personalized the tour to our tastes. Having noticed that we were intrigued by the local birds, she stopped in at the rooster colony in a local park, knowing that we would find it very entertaining. All four of us loved everything about the tour, Jenny, and Ananda Tours. Don't hesitate to make this booking!

Thank Lynn O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
anandajenny, Owner at Ananda Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 23, 2013

Hi,
I'm always amazed at people like yourselves who arive in Auckland after an all night flight and arrive on Waiheke the same day ready to explore!!
Congratulations. Glad you came.
It always makes the day fun to match up your interests with what we have to offer on the Island.
We love being flexible.
Hope your conference went well.
Cheers
Jenny

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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