Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Just a 35-minute ferry ride away from the bright lights of Auckland, Waiheke Island is home to dozens of wineries, a thriving community of artists and stretches of unspoiled beaches. Here you can sit down to afternoon tea or enjoy a glass of cream-coloured chardonnay against the backdrop of New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf. Oneroa is the island's largest village and hosts restaurants and cafés as well as huddles of art galleries and boutiques selling locally made crafts. And although Waiheke's mentality encourages a laid-back approach to life, thrill-seekers can still get their adrenaline fix on a zip line tour that flies high above the vineyards.
When to go
Waiheke is blessed with its own warm and dry sub-tropical micro-climate, so it's the perfect break all year round.
Who to take with you
Your low-maintenance friend.
Most likely to bump into
Artists and bohemians (reminders of the island's recent past as a hippie commune).
Boutique wineries (Batch Winery, Mudbrick Vineyard and Cable Bay are highly recommended) and oysters from Te Matuku Bay. If you're looking for a more high-octane experience, try zip lining above the vineyards. Water sports fanatics can head to one of the island's beautiful beaches for kite surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and some of the best diving in the South Pacific.
Essentials you need to bring with you
Sensible shoes, a waterproof camera and your appetite.
How to get there
Chug downriver on the 35-minute ferry from Auckland.