Auckland Activities – Waiheke Island

Auckland Activities – Waiheke Island

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:

23 thoughts on “Auckland Activities – Waiheke Island

    1. Thanks Fiona! They are cool little dudes to watch aren’t they! I love seeing them waddle along holding shares!!

  1. I do come from a beautiful country 🙂 Thanks for taking me down memory lane once again Josy. Pleased you enjoyed your trip. Waiheke Island has certainly changed over the years. Home are now more for the rich and famous than the ordinary person, the locals that is, not the visitors!

    1. It did seem like all the homes were very well to do.

      I guess that is what happens when you have somewhere so beautiful, so close to a large city. It’s the same in all the prettiest villages surrounding London, and the coastal areas surrounding Vancouver. Homes with pretty views are only available for a huge price tag these days!!

    1. Thank you so much Ritu! We had such a blast, and then I’ve had loads of fun all over again sharing it with you all!!

  2. There’s definitely more to life than walking. Given the choice between beautiful beaches, oysters catchers and some (presumably choice) NZ wineries on one hand, and a dry parched, ascetic hike in the blazing heat on the other, you’d have been nuts not to make the decision you did.

    I loved every minute of this post right up to the point it ended with no detailed critique of all the wines you tried. Really hoping that’s coming next. I mean walking vs buses is all very well (and very useful), but what about the Sauvignon Blanc? 🙂

    1. Lol, see there is a problem with that. I am not a very strong drinker, and we only had breakfast and icecream to eat all day…so I don’t really remember the wine, other than I really enjoyed it! I should have taken notes!!

  3. I’ve been meaning to visit Auckland and Waiheke sounds like a great day trip. Lol on the bus vs walking though. I’m a fan of walking! It’s a good thing that they allowed refund on your fare!

    1. Yeah, it was only because we bought the ticket from the tourist office rather than the machine!! Phew!

    1. Heh! We need to go back and explore too! We did totally fail to explore Auckland, but we did have a great time!!

  4. The water looks so inviting! Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing a few of the ‘must sees’ to experience something unique. And so important to take time out to relax! I always forget that when I’m travelling.

    1. To be honest, we have always been a bit rubbish at going to official ‘must see’ sites…I do have a weakness for ‘must walks’! though! 😉

      But in the end, as it was so hot, this was waaaay more fun!

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