Waiheke Island is little island just of the coast of Auckland (New Zealand). It is a fantastic island getaway close to a big city. If you are visiting Auckland or even if you are a local and you have never been – it is an absolute must.
The top 4 reasons you should visit:
1. Boutique vineyards
There are around 20 vineyards on the island. The micro climate of Waiheke makes it ideal for producing strong clarets. All of the vineyards are small and boutique, and do not usually make it into the supermarket bulk wines that you may be used to. Most of the vineyards have tasting cellars that are open most of the year and some of the bigger vineyards have beautiful surrounds and views and offer plenty of great dinning options. My personal favourite is Cable Bay which has a beautiful outlook of Auckland city and has a very relaxed atmosphere and great food.
2. Beautiful beaches
The 3 main beaches on the island are Onetangi beach, Palm beach and Oneroa beach. Onetangi beach is a northfacing sandy beach approximately 2km long. It is somewhat exposed and can get a bit windy, but it has beautiful white sand and plenty of space!
Palm beach is a sheltered cove. It is very child friendly beach and my preferred beach when we take the kids. It has a great playground next to the beach. Little palm beach is to to the left of the beach past the rocks, and probably most beautiful beach on the island. It is also clothing optional.
Oneroa beach is next to the main town centre of Waiheke. It is an okay beach with them main draw card being the proximity to the shops and restaurants.
3. Plenty of places to stay
There are lots of places to stay, either rent a holiday home through waihekeholidayhomes.co.nz or there are a few serviced apartment in Onetangi such as The Sands or Onetangi Beach Apartments. Palm beach has the Waiheke Island Resort which is advertised as the largest accommodation provider on the island. My suggestion would be to stay at or near one of the beaches. There is cheaper accommodation away from the beaches, but my opinion s that if you come here on holiday, you should stay somewhere with a view. Whenever I have tried to be cheap and paid for accommodation without a sea view on a beach holiday on vacation I have regretted it.
4. Getting there is a breeze
Waiheke is just a short ferry ride away – either from downtown Auckland on the Fullers passenger ferry, or from Half moon Bay catch the SeaLink car ferry. The trip is only 45 minutes from either location. If you are going for more than a day, especially if travelling with kids, I would recommend taking a car to make it easier to explore the island. You can rent bikes on the island or catch buses or taxi’s if you prefer. The island is quite hilly, so if you want to cycle, you need to have a decent level of fitness.