A delightful small island, home to picturesque coastal villages, Waiheke is famous for its vineyards and beaches, gourmet food and thriving artistic culture.
Just 20 kilometres wide, Waiheke Island is a stunning location popular with day-trippers from Auckland who come to relax on its stunning beaches, tuck in to delicious food at its gourmet restaurants and sample the wine from its vineyards.
Home to over 100 artists, the island is a popular creative haven. Visit the community gallery near at Oneroa, as well as the studios dotted across the island, to discover why. Oneroa is also home to a popular musical museum, where you can try your hand at playing instruments dating back to the 16th century. At Onetangi, you can explore a woolshed museum as well as two restored cottages with photos and textiles on show.
With more than 30 vineyards on the island, it’s a popular place to come and sample the wines on offer. Some vineyards also grow their own olives, which you can try if you decide to stay for lunch at their on-site cafés and restaurants.
For something a little more adventurous on the island, you can hang above Onetangi on its zip lines or take a sailing tour on the surrounding waters, where you may get the chance to see orca whales. Ask about available sailing tours from the kiosks near the island’s main ferry terminal.
Whakanewha Regional Park, located on the island’s southern tip is a great place to visit. Enjoy a walk through the forests and wetlands, looking out for some of the region’s rare bird species including the dotterel and the banded rail. It is also a good camping spot.
It’s only a short ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke, but small charter planes and sailing boats are also available. Ferries depart from the mainland throughout the day and you can either book your ticket in advance or turn up at the terminal at Viaduct Harbour when you want to board. The island itself has a bus service which runs from the ferry terminal, but it pays to buy an all-day bus pass, which will give you more flexibility.