Waiheke Island is New Zealand’s very own tropical paradise, conveniently located just a quick ferry ride away from Auckland City. Despite its easy access, you will feel a million miles away from reality on this beautiful island, which boasts stunning white-sand beaches, lush green landscapes, boutique vineyards, and some fabulous fine dining. The island has a relaxed bohemian feel, but there is no shortage of luxury for those who enjoy the finer things in life, and a number of upmarket bars, restaurants and cellar doors will tantalise your tastebuds, whilst the luxury villas here will be hard to tear yourself away from.
The Island is split into two main sides: Oneroa is the main hub of the Island, with most of the shops, cafes and restaurants, whilst Onetangi is a more relaxed area with a handful of bars and cafes and the longest beach on the island. In between the two you’ll find hidden coves, countless vineyards, and luscious tropical greenery.
In Summer, Waiheke Island is bustling with visitors who flock there to enjoy the endless sandy beaches and abundance of vineyards on this tropical island paradise, and it’s easy to see why: Nothing screams holiday more than sunshine, sand and scrummy local wines. With secret bays dotted around the island, there are lots of beaches to choose from, and cellar doors to suit all tastebuds. A sweet collection of boutique stores and cafes in upmarket Oneroa are normally bustling with visitors who enjoy shopping for local crafts and luxury fares. Summer on Waiheke Island is very busy and you will need to book in advance to avoid missing out, especially over the very popular Christmas and New Year period, when most accommodations operate a minimum 7-night stay. Some of the most popular restaurants book weeks (or months!) in advance, so plan ahead for all aspects of your holiday!
There is a refreshing cool breeze in the air of Waiheke Island come to Autumn-time which cuts through the humidity, making it a great time to get out and about to explore. Stroll the warm beaches, wander the walking trails, and make the most of the break in the heat to indulge in lazy long lunches at the wineries, as you overlook vineyards full of glowing Autumn-hued vines. This pop of colour against the blue sky and ocean backdrop is simply magical, and you’ll avoid the masses of crowds by visiting at this time of year.
Waiheke Island is peaceful in the winter months when tourist numbers decline due to inclement weather – take advantage of reduced nightly rates and enjoy a peaceful holiday over this off-season period. The temperatures are normally slightly warmer than Auckland city, but still probably not warm enough for beach days unless it’s for an afternoon stroll and you are suitably rugged up. The wineries offer a nice warm haven to escape the winter weather, with gorgeous open fireplaces at Mudbrick and Tantalus Estate, and you’ll definitely find it much easier to secure a table at some of the most popular spots on the island. You may find some of the stores and cafes are operating on reduced opening hours in winter due to the lower visitor numbers, so make sure you check before arriving.
Spring is in the air, and Waiheke Island is slowly starting to ramp up ready for the busy summer. The fresh Spring air is filled with the aromas of nature, and the tropical flora are starting to bloom into a vibrant array of colour. The days are starting to get longer and warmer, so you might get lucky enough to enjoy the odd beach day, but for the most part, enjoy wandering the walking trails and exploring the vineyards, taking in the beautiful luscious scenery of the Island as you go.
The closest airport is Auckland Airport (AKL) which offers both international and domestic flights. From Auckland Airport, you can either take a helicopter directly to the island, or transfer to Auckland City (30-60 minutes) to connect with the ferry. Waiheke Island is easily accessed via ferry from Auckland City Centre, with regular departures throughout the day.
During these dates, when the town fills with visitors, it will pay to plan ahead and book early to avoid disappointment:
A selection of some of our favourite places to dine out for a special treat:
Waiheke Island is mostly considered a relaxing destination famous for its beaches and food and wine scene, but if you want to book some activities for your stay, some of the most popular options are:
There are some beautiful short walks around Waiheke Island. Some of the most popular ones include:
If you’d like some help planning a Waiheke Island holiday, you can browse our luxury Waiheke Island properties here or contact us now to discuss your needs and we’ll do all the hard work for you.