A day on Waiheke Island, New Zealand

If you’re visiting Auckland, a day trip to Waiheke is a must. It’s just a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland harbour to this vibrant island haven of beautiful vineyards, beaches, and friendly locals.

Getting there

Waiheke is the Hauraki region’s most populated island, but it’s a world away from nearby Auckland. Purchase a return ticket to Waiheke and before you know it, you’re on your way. It’s under 40 minutes to Waiheke and there’s even a cafe on board in case you feel like a coffee, tea or a snack, and if the weather is clear, you’ll be treated the stunning harbour views.

Things to Do on Waiheke Island: Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Waiheke Island, New Zealand: Photo on Flickr by Brian Lamb / CC BY 2.0

Getting Around

Once at Waiheke, the best way to get around is to rely on the local bus network, especially if you plan to ‘explore’ the island’s many excellent wineries. Buses depart from Matiatia Wharf and head through Oneroa and travel as far as Onetangi in the Island’s west, and it takes about 35 minutes from one end of the island to the other. There are also private taxis and bicycle hire available on the island.

Things to do on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Wineries

Cellar doors and wineries are spread out all over Waiheke Island and unlike Australian wineries, they charge a small fee for tastings. In many cases, this fee is refunded if you purchase some wine. Waiheke mostly produces reds, with Syrah, Cab blends and Bordeaux-style wines taking pride of place on the region’s wine lists. You will find whites at some wineries as well.

Things to Do on Waiheke Island: Vineyards on Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Vineyards on Waiheke Island. Image Credit: Brian Lamb / CC 2.0

Stop for a feed

Waiheke Island is blessed with great restaurants to accompany its great wine. Head to Poderi Crisci for a long lunch of elegant, delicious Italian food, or for something a bit more casual, swing by Francos Bakery for awesome pies and pastries. If you feel like eating on the beach, Dragonfired takeaway is a safe bet, or for rolling vineyard views its hard to go past Peacock Sky Vineyard.

Head on home

Make you way to Matiatia Wharf to catch the ferry back to Auckland, wine and treats in hand. That’s unless you’ve decided to stay on in this charming island paradise to explore another day – there’s plenty of accommodation on the island.

Things to Do on Waiheke Island: Palm Beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Palm Beach, Waiheke Island. Image Credit: Phillip Capper.

If you’re passing through Auckland International Airport on the way home, why pick up a souvenir of your time in the land of the long white cloud or purchase a special duty free treat?

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