Day 1. I've just arrived at our rented bach on Waiheke Island and already my stress levels have dropped from sky-high to barely noticeable. It's hard to believe we're only a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. I sit on the deck listening to the waves breaking on Palm Beach, 50m across the road, and write myself a "to do" list: Visit wineries and art galleries. Go for long walks. Hire bikes and cycle around island. Go to the weekend market. Eat at nice restaurants. Swim. Read books. And last but not least, relax.
Day 2. Gorgeous weather so we spend all day at the beach, swimming, reading and relaxing. Tick those off my list. Tomorrow will look into bike hire. Palm Beach is smaller than the long sweep of white sand at onetangi and the horseshoe-shaped bay at oneroa, but it's still perfectly formed and family -friendly.
Day 3. Finish one book, start on the next. Look around shops in oneroa, which sell everything from fancy soaps to jewellery and clothes. Browse at Toi Gallery and wish I could afford the gorgeous paintings. Tick art galleries off my list. Yummy lunch at a café, afternoon at the beach. Cycling tomorrow, promise.
Day 4. Friends come over for the day and we go to the lovely oudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard, where we enjoy wine-tasting then walk up a small hill to take in spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland city. Tick wineries off list. Spend the afternoon at the beach.Dinner at Red Crab Thai restaurant in oneroa. Gorgeous views, divine food. Tick fine dining off list. Think again about biking. Isn't it the thought that counts?
Day 5. Spend most of the day at the beach. Fall asleep after strenuous sand castle building. Finish second book, start third. Walk 500m to get fish and chips. Tick walking off my list. Give up on cycling idea.
Day 6. Market at ostend. Buy delicious sourdough bread, tamarillo chutney, lavender soap and a necklace. Afternoon at beach and a siesta in a sun lounger. Any more relaxed and I'd be comatose.
Day 7. Home today, sadly. Throw list away and write new note to self: Come back soon.