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Paradise in Motion at the Oyster Inn, Waiheke

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12th Apr 2013

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Remember those idyllic sunlit postcards from the 70s, where hazy images of sailing boats float in crystal seas and blue skies overlook pristine, vacant beaches? Postcards from little towns with more charm than sense, where the vibe meant everyone knew your name at the ferry pier and being a local actually meant something? Long since overrun and discovered, such visions often seem long lost in the modern world.

But just 30 minutes from Auckland and nestled into the heart of Waiheke island is a meeting point that after just a few months has become not only the talk of the town and country, but a place on the lips of a certain cognoscenti that know no bounds.

Welcome to a weekend at the Oyster Inn, where it feels like 1976, but with way better lighting, food and design.

A 25 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland but a world away, Waiheke has recently been launched into the to-do list of the global jetset with the opening of the Oyster Inn, a cute little boutique project by the London and Hong Kong duo of Jonathan Rutherfurd Best and Andrew Glenn.

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Three perfect rooms, a well curated shop, private entertainment room and gorgeous verandah anchored restaurant have raised the bar of sophistication on the island, which has long been known as a kind of new world bohemian stomping ground.

Waiheke is less pretentious than Australia's Byron Bay and milder than Montauk. It has better wine than Plettenburg Bay, is more lush than Punta del Este and has chillaxin down like Formentera, but was missing a bit on the food scene, with locations that were dominated by formal dining at the islands vineyards and a dearth of sophisticated fare in the island's tiny one street villages.

With simple menus and wholesome fare, a focus on fun entertainment and personalized customer service, along with an airy, sophistobeach vibe, the Oyster Inn is the type of place one could imagine settling in to write that long anticipated novel --- only to discover a week later that you haven't started because you've been drinking Man O' War chardonnay and staring at the sunlight dappled Hauraki Bay and distant Coromandel peninsula.

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Rooms here feature plenty of space with giant fluffy towels and beds from which you might never emerge, Aesop toiletries and ready-to-go beach kits with towels of the widely striped variety. Breakfast is baked bacon and egg pie and home-made granola, sunset is a flight of wine from Waiheke vineyards with properly selected glasses and a friendly staff smile pointing out the local landmarks from the terrace. During the buzzy evenings, it is the type of place where an open Dior dress shirt goes perfectly with your Olebar Brown shorts and Havaianas.

Around the magnificently clean island you'll enjoy sparkling hilltop views and pristine perfect beaches, abundant fishing and over thirty magnificent vineyards. There's not much to do here but relax and soak in the quality of life - a kind of slow-rolling paradise with a warming aftertaste of the past.

The Osyter Inn, (and Waiheke in general) is a legend in the making along the likes of La Huella... and as it becomes 'discovered' will be a source for many perfect postcards from the future.

The Oyster Inn, 124 Ocean View Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1081 New Zealand + 64 9372 2222 Bookings