From downtown Auckland a fast ferry can whisk you over to Waiheke Island, the ‘Suburb on the Sea’.
Waiheke has a special charm and seaside holiday atmosphere. The laid-back, independent island lifestyle epitomises the traditional Kiwi way of life. The pure green landscape is there, the outdoor heritage, the do-it-yourself attitude, the informality and genuine hospitality of the people.
These qualities find their expression in many ways; family picnics on the beach, barbecues on the back lawn, bushwalks in the reserve, wine tasting at local vineyards and browsing through arts and crafts. The predominant aspect of island life is a love affair with the sea. Aucklanders can justifiably claim that, proportionately, they have more boats than any other city in the World. Waiheke, as the largest island in the Hauraki Gulf, is pivotal to the overall boating scene in the ‘City of Sails’.
The main settlement of Oneroa straddles a ridge, which affords expansive views over the other Gulf islands. The visitor centre can be found here in the Artworks complex just 1 km from the ferry wharf. Little Oneroa and Palm Beach are two delightful little coves on the north coast. Onetangi, the most eastern settlement, has a long sandy beach popular for swimming, surfing and wind surfing. The eastern end of the island is mainly farmland and has public walking access to an interesting old coastal defence installation called Stony Batter.
Waiheke has a range of bus tours around the island including scenic trips and visits to art studios and vineyards. Growing conditions are ideal for grapes here with hot dry summers and stony soils and the island has a reputation for boutique winemaking. Increasing sophistication has bought more à la carte restaurants, wine bars and cafès to Oneroa. Out in the countryside you can enjoy alfresco lunches in vineyards and olive groves. The island attracts a variety of artistic folk including writers, potters and painters and their work is on display in a number of galleries and craft shops.
Scheduled transport services operate from the Auckland Ferry Building and day trippers can book island bus tours.
Waiheke is a world of sparkling waters and peaceful living. A great place to relax during your stay in Auckland.