Sometimes plans are just not meant to be! We ended up on the gorgeous Waiheke Island on a whim, with virtually no planning! It was a lovely place to explore for a few hours with beautiful beaches, cool birds and quite a few wineries to sample!
We only had a day (well, an evening and a day) in Auckland, so I had planned out a pretty epic itinerary for us. My original plan (which I still think sounds amaaazing) was do the coast to coast walk from the Pacific Ocean all the way across NZ to the Tasman Sea on the other. That hike goes through urban areas, over several volcanoes and pretty parks. However, despite my planning, the weather was soooo hot that a 16 km urban trek sounded like too much. We confirmed this when we took our bags to the harbour – just walking a couple of blocks was enough to make us both sweaty. However we really appreciated the cool, sea breeze so we hatched a plan to abandon Auckland in favour of wineries and beaches on Waiheke Island. I’m sorry Auckland! I promise I’ll explore properly next time we visit Kiwiland!!
Waiheke Island – the basics:
Ferry: The ferry from Auckland takes 35 minutes and costs $38 return
The ferry we took was pretty full, but we just took seats upstairs and relaxed in the sun. Well…I also covered myself in sunscreen, a hat and a shoulder protecting scarf because the sun in New Zealand is super-strong!
That’s it really. You don’t need much information to have a blast on Waiheke Island. It is all really easy to explore.
These are the views leaving Auckland harbour. It all looks so pretty in the sun. We even got to see a Maori Waka boat, which looked a little strange against the industrial scenery!
After a relaxing 35 minutes you’ll arrive in the beautiful azure blue waters around Waiheke Island. There should be a coastal path along the edge of the island to Oneroa beach, but the tide was a little too high when we arrived, so we couldn’t wander along that route. Ah well.
Buses vs Walking
We’d been advised to take bus from the ferry terminal to the village of Oneroa. We bought tickets and lined up for the bus, but there were soooo many people that there was no room for us on the bus. The next bus was 20 minutes away. Rubbish. Then, we found out that the village was only 20-30 minutes walk away(!) If you are in a similar situation and the bus looks busy, don’t bother buying a ticket, it’s nicer just to walk. In the end we asked for a refund for the bus tickets and just walked everywhere. There was a place to hire bikes right by the ferry terminal, so if you want to go further afield, that would be a great option too.
After less than 25 minutes we found ourselves on this mini paradise on Oneroa beach. The depth of the water increases reeeally slowly, so you can wander out really far, without really soaking your knees!
Isn’t this lovely!? But now we were very glad that we’d decided to walk on a beach, rather than through the city!! Oneroa beach was lovely and long. One end has super-fine sand, and the other end is rocky and covered in broken up shells.
I loved watching the oyster catchers!
They were really skilled at finding the best shells.
We had planned to have lunch in one of the lovely bistros in Oneroa, but it was so hot that neither of us was particularly hungry. So we sampled some local Waiheke Island beer and wine. This was probably the nicest final drink I’ve had on any holiday!
After only a few hours, we had to wander back to the ferry to make sure we’d get back to Auckland in time for our flight. There was just enough time to grab an icecream and watch all the seagulls on a tin roof next to the ferry.
So, in the end, our day exploring Auckland turned out to be a day relaxing on Waiheke Island! We may not have done any of the ‘must see’ Auckland adventures, but we did have a really fun trip!
New Zealand, you are awesome! I hope you liked my posts about hiking around Kiwiland! Our time on Waiheke Island may have been slow-paced, but we crammed more amazing walks into our time in New Zealand than I could have dreamed for twelve days (after Kendra’s wedding)!!
It’s taken me a while to write about it all, so here are all my Kiwi blog posts if you missed them:
- Our epic Volcanic adventure – Tongariro Crossing
- Lake Taupo Maori Carvings followed by hiking around the Wai-o-Tapu thermal pools and relaxing in the Okoroire hot springs
- Wandering along New Brighton Beach in Christchurch
- Lake Tekapo Mount John Walkway along with some other easy hikes around Lake Tekapo
- Aoraki / Mount Cook – the stunning day hike to Mueller Hut
- More hikes near Aoraki / Mount Cook – The Hooker Valley track as well as hiking to a glacier
- After all that hiking, we spent time relaxing by Lake Wanaka
- Beautiful Roy’s Peak
- Fiordland – We visited the Te Anau Glowworm caves as well as hiking the Kepler track, peeking at Lake Mistletoe and the Boyd Creek Track
- Milford Sound – We went on a Milford Sound boat tour hen hiked to Key Summit and Lake Marian
- Queenstown – Bob’s Peak
- Auckland – Waiheke Island