Located in Waiatarua in the picturesque Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland sits the Waitakere Estate, with a long, concreted driveway which leads you through dense west Auckland bush and past a helipad, you will soon reach a white building with a number of over night rooms and a brick driveway winding up towards a car park with a gorgeous view.
I decided to treat my friend Olivia to lunch somewhere which wasn't the typical boring mall cafe'. After high tea crossed my mind I was on the internet looking for high tea locations in Auckland, the obvious restaurants in the city flashed up on my computer screen but I soon came across the Waitakere Estate and it looked better than perfect for a Sunday lunch date.
Luckily the weather held out for us and was a beautiful sunny day with barely a cloud in sight, the only downfall was the rate I was melting my make up off due to the heat. We got to Waitakere estate about 30 minutes before our high tea booking so we took a stroll around the garden and snapped any possible photo opportunities. The garden and views definitely did not disappoint, perfectly mowed and even green lawns, a fish pond with a water feature and white pillars draped with vines. We took a stroll further down the garden beyond the white pillars and witnessed a gorgeous view overlooking the Waitakere ranges out towards Auckland City with Rangitoto Island sitting on the horizon. There looked to be a small walking track at the end of the garden but neither Olivia or I had appropriate walking shoes or clothes so I thought I would give that path a miss this time.
The estates interior is slightly old fashioned and outdated but it only added to the character of Waitakere estate, there are private rooms with balcony views that face out towards the city, and a lounge just opposite reception with 6 chandeliers gracing the ceiling. 12pm rolled around and we were ushered from the lounge to our table in the dining room.
Waitakere Estate is perfect if you want to treat yourself and a loved one to a special lunch out, or whether you just want some cute pictures to grace your instagram.
Waitakere Estate allows bookings for high tea every weekend from midday to 4pm. If you're wanting to splash out a little more and make the most of the trip out west and enjoy the views a little longer, you can purchase a high tea weekend escape package; which includes high tea for two on arrival, a 3 course dinner, 1 nights accommodation and a cooked breakfast for two. Check out their package deals for prices on all 8 of their get away packages if this sounds a bit like you!
The venue is a pretty straight forward 15 minute drive from Titirangi, a GPS is handy though in order to pin point the exact location of the estate, as if you blink you might just miss the driveway.
I didn't get any good pictures of the high tea itself unfortunately, to be honest I was way too hungry and just wanted to dig in to the cute mini food and enjoy my cup of tea.
For those of you who haven't experienced a high tea lunch, or don't know that much about it, high tea is a British tradition that began in the 1700's as a meal usually served mid afternoon and originally for the working man, enjoyed standing up or sitting on tall stools, hence where the name 'high' tea originated. Eventually high tea transitioned into an event which would be marked on social calendars and attended by ladies and gentlemen of class, usually enjoyed before attending the theatre. High tea is usually served with small cakes, scones, sweet treats and various savouries, which is accompanied by a pot of tea or even a glass of champagne at some venues.
If you do have any allergies though, please remember to inform the staff when making your booking. Olivia is allergic to nuts, kiwifruit and raw egg so any food which contained those ingredients the chef put on my side of the high tea arrangement. Olivia and I both did get a little bit confused at one point though as to what contained deadly ingredients and what didn't, near the end of our lunch Olivia did just about ate a mini cupcake which contained hazelnut, but it's all right the crisis was adverted and I didn't end up killing my high tea date, thank goodness! Otherwise that definitely would have put a dampener on our afternoon...
We both left the estate surprisingly full, the small cakes and savouries are awfully deceptive so don't go eating a meal before-hand thinking that 3 small plates stack with mini cakes won't even curve your hunger for the afternoon.