If you fancy a bit of treat while you’re in Auckland then check out The Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island, a real gem that opened less than a year ago. Occupying the top story of an old wooden colonial style building and beautifully fitted out with a covered veranda looking out across the shops of Oneroa village and the beautiful bay, the kitchen of this fresh restaurant and bar is open all day, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The breezy dining room is a wonderful spot to enjoy a summer cocktail or crisp glass of wine (they offer a selection of Waiheke Island’s finest) or savour a mouth-watering meal. As well as their speciality, oysters (of course!) light bites such as pork rib sliders or crispy salt and pepper squid, or classics along the lines of Roast Cambridge duck breast or Wakanui sirloin are particularly appealing. Staff seemed a little overrun on first opening but since then the enterprise has settled in well and on our last visit service was friendly and efficient. The kitchen makes excellent use of local produce and fishing boats.
Waiheke Island itself, just 35 minutes on a beautiful ferry ride from downtown Auckland, warrants at least a day’s visit with its beautiful beaches and wineries, and if you can’t tear yourself away (which is likely) there are also three boutique rooms at the Oyster Inn which make for a truly lovely overnight stay, though it might burn a bit of a hole in your pocket. Discounts are available online – and while you’re there look out for special events too such as Sunday DJ sessions. www.theoysterinn.co.nz