“The first time Taylor Swift visited, she sat in the dining room with everyone else,” general manager Oscar Jones recounts while showing us around Mudbrick Vineyard on Waiheke Island. “There’s a photo of my dad [Nick Jones], a bottle of our flagship wine the Mudbrick Velvet and a young Taylor Swift. The next time, she had an entourage and private area.”
Waiheke may be small (19.3 km long) and sparsely populated with just under 10,000 residents, but it’s been attracting big names thanks to its close proximity to Auckland (via ferry or helicopter), renowned wine scene, beautiful beaches and laid–back vibe. A steady stream of celebrity visitors has only boosted its popularity among tourists.