Located just 35 minutes from Auckland City, Waiheke island can be reached by just a short scenic ferry ride with Fullers. The Island is famous for its stunning coastline, with beautiful sandy beaches, and world-class wineries.
Waiheke comes from Moari Language, and means ‘cascading waters’ and after the Great Barrier Island is the second-largest island in the gulf. It even has its a own unique microclimate! There is a network of fantastic walking trails throughout the island to help you explore, ranging in difficulty and in length!
The only place to stay on Waiheke
If you have a few days spare and are planning to stay on Waiheke island, I would highly recommend the hostel I spent 3 nights at in Little Oneroa; The Hekerua Lodge. The hostel has a variety of private room and shared dorm options, starting from around £18pppn. The hostel is managed by Kiwis Sean and Tom and run daily by Dutch Thomas all whom are great and super helpful regarding the island and your stay in general. The hostel facilities are fantastic, with a pool, hot tub, bbq, fully equipped kitchen (probably the best kitchen I have come across yet) games, great social areas and clean bathrooms, you couldn’t ask for much more!
How to Get to Waiheke Island
Take the Ferry from Auckland City Ferry Terminal or Devenport Ferry Terminal to Matiatia Wharf, Waiheke, running daily, with a varying timetable depending on the day. http://www.fullers.co.nz – its worth checking online as if you book in advance you may be able to get a discount, standard pricing is £19.00pp return.
Transport on Waiheke
Public buses service the Waiheke Island, and you can jump on at the Matiatia ferry terminal for £1.75 per journey, or an all day pass for £5.00. (The number 2 and 1 can get you to Hekerua lodge – just ask the driver!) Alternatively there are plenty of Taxi services on the Island.
Things to do on Waiheke Island
Oneroa – This is the main town on the island, and is where you will find shops, cafes, restaurants, a pretty good ice cream stall, supermarkets, and bottle shops.
Vineyards – There are plenty of fantastic vineyards and wineries all over New Zealand, Waiheke is famous for its wine, the first vines were planted on Waiheke in 1977. There are now 22 wineries on the Waiheke Island.
We attended a wine tasting at the lovely Cable Bay Winery,
We tasted 4 wines, the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Reserve Sauvignon Blanc at a cost of $10 (£5). I really enjoyed the Chardonnay, despite not usually being a fan of the dryness, this particular wine was much lighter, less dry and really very nice. The Cable Bay Winery is in walking distance to the Hekarua Lodge, offers stunning views over the island. As I visited in Spring, in the vineyards were full of grape vines unlike my recent visit to Mendoza, Argentina where the grapes had already been harvested and there were only branches.
The Tasting Room is open from 11am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
Beaches – Waiheke’s scenic coastline boasts a diverse range of beautiful beaches.
Walking – from the Hekarua Lodge, you can access many walking trails around the island, there are plenty of maps available with detailed routes marked out. On our first day on the Island we took the Coastal Walking Route around the North West of the Island toward the Ferry terminal, this walk is really nice, and you pass through some lovely beaches and though the main town on Waiheke, Oneroa.
Cycling – Bikes are available to hire on the island from various companies, including the option of electric bikes. Cycling is a great way to explore the island, and discover some of the beautiful beaches.
Water Activities – There are various companies on the island that offer water activities such as Kayaking and Stand up Paddle boarding, Unfortunately the wind was too strong for me to get out on a paddle board on waiheke. Waiheke Board Riders offer some good paddle board options.
Explorer Bus – Only have time for a day trip from Auckland? Why not see all that Waiheke has to offer by jumping on the Explorer Hop-on Hop-off bus, the tour includes your return ferry from Auckland, tours start at 9:50am and run every 30 minutes until 7:15pm. Cost $60.00 (£30)
If you are in Auckland, definitely jump over to Waiheke for however long that you have. You really won’t be disappointed!
Love B x