Waiheke Island sunny harbor, Auckland, New Zealand

Things to do in  Waiheke Island

Where Aucklanders (and stars) go to dine

New York has the Hamptons, London has the Cotswolds, and Auckland has Waiheke Island. Just a ferry hop from downtown Auckland, this island getaway is sculpted from patchwork vineyards, sweeping green hills, and white-sand beaches, providing an idyllic antidote to urban life. The third most populated island in New Zealand (after the North and South Island), Waiheke has a reputation for world-class wines, 5-star dining, and sensational views, giving its celebrity visitors plenty of things to do—household names from Bill Gates to Beyoncé have holidayed on the island.

Top 3 attractions in Waiheke Island

Stonyridge Vineyard

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In a country famous for sauvignon blanc, Waiheke Island’s Stonyridge Vineyard is highly regarded for its Bordeaux-style cabernet reds. The vineyard follows French winemaking techniques to create wines that are unusual for New Zealand and on par with varieties produced in France. You can sample wines and enjoy Stonyridge’s Veranda Cafe.More

Mt. Victoria Reserve (Takarunga)

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Mt. Victoria Reserve(Takarunga) is located on a volcanic hill in Devonport, a seaside town on Auckland’s North Shore. The climb to the top is quite quick and manageable for active travelers, and the views are impressive, as you can look back to the central Auckland skyline with its skyscrapers and sailboats bobbing in front.More
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Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

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Just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has great beaches, some of New Zealand’s best boutique wineries, a number of art galleries, scenic walking trails, and acres of olive groves, making it the ideal getaway. The island’s calm waters—perfect for watersports like snorkeling, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding—and the relaxed bohemian atmosphere in Oneroa Village draw a steady stream of visitors year-round.More

All about Waiheke Island

When to visit

The beaches of Waiheke Island are a magnet for sunseekers in summer (December through February), with average highs between 72°F (22°C) and 79°F (26°C). Summer also brings events, including the Waiheke Olive Festival and the Waiheke Island Wine and Food Festival. Wine lovers and foodies could also time their visit for fall (March through May), the main harvest season for the island’s vineyards and olive groves, and an ideal time for tasting tours.

Getting around

Regular car and foot-passenger ferries cruise across the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island, taking less than 40 minutes from downtown Auckland. Once you’re on the island, it’s easy to get around with your own vehicle by renting a bike or scooter or using the public buses, which run between Kennedy Point and Matiatia. Alternatively, the fastest (and most luxurious) option is to take a small plane or helicopter to the island—about a 12-minute flight.

Traveler tips

The island’s most impressive hike is the Matiatia Walkway, which takes about 1.5 hours to walk. It follows the coastal cliffs along the Matiatia Channel and then loops back along the forested headland. It’s a scenic route at any time of year, but the most impressive time to visit is for the biennial Sculpture on the Gulf outdoor art exhibition, the largest of its kind in New Zealand.

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People Also Ask

Is Waiheke Island worth a visit?

Yes. Waiheke Island is one of New Zealand’s most popular vacation spots, and for good reason. The island boasts miles of sandy beaches, hiking trails, award-winning wineries, and excellent restaurants. It’s also a great destination for outdoor activities, including sea kayaking, ziplining, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

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What is Waiheke Island known for?

Waiheke is New Zealand’s Island of Wine. It's home to about 30 boutique wineries, many of which have won international awards for their merlots, syrahs, and other wines. Waiheke’s wine prowess goes hand-in-hand with its celebrated foodie scene, but it’s equally renowned for its beautiful beaches and coastal hikes.

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How long should you stay on Waiheke Island?

Most visitors to Waiheke Island opt for a short getaway. Two to three days is enough time to enjoy the coastal hikes, go wine tasting, and relax at the beach. If you’re short on time, a day trip is also possible—Waiheke is only 40 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland.

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Can you explore Waiheke Island without a car?

Yes. Waiheke is well-serviced by public transport, with six bus routes connecting the island’s towns, attractions, and wineries. Buses run regularly and are timed to coincide with ferry arrivals at Matiatia and Kennedy Point ferry terminals. Prepurchase an Auckland Transport HOP card to use the public buses.

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How long is the ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke Island?

Two ferries run to Waiheke Island. The fastest route is the Fullers Passenger Ferry from downtown Auckland to Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke, which takes about 40 minutes. Alternatively, take the 1-hour Sealink Car Ferry from Half Moon Bay in East Auckland to Kennedy Point.

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What does Waiheke mean in English?

Waiheke Island—pronounced “Why-heh-key”—takes its name from the 19th-century Maori name of Motu-Wai-Heke, meaning “the island of trickling waters.” In the Maori language, “Wai” means water, while “Heke” means to drip, trickle, or descend. Before this, the island was known as Te Motu-arai-roa or “the long sheltering island."

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Frequently Asked Questions
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