The Waiheke Island Guide
How lucky are people who live in Auckland? A 40-minute ferry ride from downtown and you’re on Waiheke Island. Just 93.2 square kilometres, Waiheke is known as a little Mediterranean jewel nestled in the Hauraki Gulf. A jewel that has 128 km of coastline and is famous for its wineries. What more could you ask for? Whether you’ve got a few hours or a couple of days, here’s our guide to island life:
Purchase your tickets at the Downtown ferry terminal in the city, where boats leave every hour. If you aren’t hiring a car over on the island, grab a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket here so that you can get around and explore easily.
Waiheke is home to more than 100 beaches, with two of the most popular being Oneroa and Onetangi. They’re both favourite spots for city dwellers and visitors alike, with white sands, safe swimming, great fishing and coastal walking tracks.
Taste of Waiheke
Stop in to the town of Oneroa and cool off with a taste of Island Gelato, a company started by MasterChef New Zealand’s 2012 runner up, Ana Schwarz. The gelato is out of this world, offering everything from salted caramel to heirloom green apple sorbet in scoops and delicious waffle cones. 124 Oceanview Rd, Oneroa, 1081, New Zealand
With more wineries than you can possibly fit into a day, you’re spoilt for choice on Waiheke – but here are a few of my favourites:
Wild on Waiheke: the laid back vibe is perfect for families. Sample a few local wines, grab a bite to eat and check out the Waiheke Original Craft Brewery while you’re there. 82 Onetangi Rd, Waiheke Island, 1971, New Zealand
Stonyridge: right next door to Wild is this world-renowned Cabernet-blend winegrower. Nestled in a shimmering valley of olive trees, colourful vines and the aromas of the south of France, Stonyridge is a great spot to enjoy a long lunch sampling award-winning blends at the Verandah Café. 80 Onetangi Rd, Waiheke Island, 1971, New Zealand
Mudbrick Winery: Back over in Oneroa, Mudbrick Winery boasts some of the best views on the island. On a clear day you can see Auckland City in the distance. The first plantings at Mudbrick were in 1992 by Nick and Robyn Jones, who still own and operate the property today. Spend some time sampling their Gold Medal-winning wines while dining on fresh, seasonal produce straight from the incredible, aromatic gardens. 126 Church Bay Rd, Waiheke Island, Oneroa 1971, New Zealand
Award-winning olive oil
If wine isn’t your thing, then maybe Olive Oil is! Rangihoua Estate is a multi-award-winning producer of Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Stop by to taste their oils, all pressed within 24 hours of being picked. 1 Gordons Rd, Waiheke Island, 1971, New Zealand
Arts, crafts and local markets
The Ostend Village Island Farmers Market takes place every Sunday from 8am-12pm. The market is a great place to pick up fresh local produce and all sorts of yummy treats, fruit and veggies, fresh bread, local honey and organic goods. 76 Ostend Rd, Ostend, Waiheke Island
If you’re looking to check out the local arts scene, you can’t go past the Waiheke Community Art Gallery. Acclaimed artists from Waiheke and all around New Zealand exhibit their work here regularly. Every three weeks there is a new collection of eclectic, iconic and stimulating art, including national exhibitions of paintings, ceramics, jewellery, photography and design. 2 Korora Rd, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1081, New Zealand
You’ll also want to check out Space Art Gallery, which showcases a collective of seven Waiheke Island artists. With four distinctive exhibition areas, you’ll get to see art from using mediums – from sculptures and bronzes to ceramics, abstract and figurative paintings. Shop4, 114 Ocean view road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island, 1081, New Zealand
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