In landscape, lifestyle and experience, Waiheke is a world away.
Come for a visit and you’ll find beautiful galleries and craft boutiques in this homeland of artists. There are plenty of places to enjoy a good coffee or a taste of New Zealand's fresh Pacific Rim cuisine. The island also boasts more than a dozen high-quality vineyards, many with relaxed restaurants onsite. Enjoy local wine while looking out over vine-covered valleys to the blue sea beyond.
The white sandy beaches at Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi slope gently down into the Hauraki Gulf. They are perfect for swimming, kayaking, strolling along or having a picnic in the sun.
If you’re a walker, explore the island’s trails which meander along cliff tops, down to the beaches and into cool enclaves of native forest. At the eastern end of the island the Stony Batter walkway leads you to a system of World War II gun emplacements and underground tunnels. The tunnels are open to the public, so bring a torch and a sense of adventure.
There are many places to stay on Waiheke. Rent a beach house and wake up to the sound of the waves breaking on the beach or, if you’re on a bit of a budget, there are a number of friendly backpacker hostels.
Getting around is easy too. Catch one of the regular ferries that run to Waiheke from downtown Auckland. Once on the island, there are public buses and taxis, or you can hire a mountain bike, motor scooter or car. And if you've already got a car or bike, you can bring it over with you on the ferry.