Things to do in Waiheke
Waiheke Island is a true slice of paradise in the Hauraki Gulf, and a firm favourite kiwi destination for a day trip or for a full summer holiday! Whether you’re a keen fisherman, a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, amateur art curator or just someone who simply wants to swim and sunbathe the day away, there are countless reasons to visit Waiheke island.
Read on to learn what to do on Waiheke Island
1. Visit award winning Vineyards
A visit is never complete without a stop at one of the world famous Waiheke wineries. There’s something rather therapeutic about sitting back and looking out over a field of vines with a full glass in hand! You can book a guided wine tour or plan your tasting tour solo. Either way it’s bound to be a memorable (or forgetful) afternoon.
First head to Cable Bay. This vineyard has stunning views facing back towards Auckland, to help you truly appreciate the distance between you and busy city. Here you can enjoy some award winning wine or some olive oil tastings for a more unique Waiheke experience. Then head over to Mudbrick vineyard and restaurant. This vineyard is a popular choice for wedding venues and wine tastings alike due to its wonderful garden filled with sculpted hedges, fresh herbs and fragrant flowers. What better environment to sip the day away? Finally stop off at Man O’ War vineyard. This is the only Waiheke vineyard that is found right on the beach. Our favourite choice on the menu are the generously sized platters, perfect for nibbling on throughout an afternoon!
If you’d rather sit back and let someone else do the driving, you can get to experiences some of the island’s stunning boutique vineyards with a “Views, Vines and Wines” tour.
Waiheke Island Wine Tours offer small, highly personalised experiences with no more than ten people per vehicle and you’ll visit beautiful vineyards where you’ll be greeted like old friends.
2. Fly through the forest by zip line
Ecozip Adventures offers state-of-the-art flying-fox zip-lines set among a beautiful forested backdrop. This Waiheke Island activity is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers of all ages. Starting with a Waiheke highlights tour, you’ll head into the native forest where you’ll ride a range of giant ziplines, before cooling off under the canopy of a fascinating regenerating rainforest. While you glide through the canopy you can rest assured the rainforest is in good hands, conservation is central to this business! EcoZip passionately preserves and protects this area and guides here will share stories about its history, from the history of the Maori people to the European settlement.
3. Tour the island by Segway
Segwai tours let you experience the island one of the most unique modes of transport – the segway! This is guarantee to generate some laughs, as you learn to balance before zooming off on your adventure. Segways are great for those wishing to see the entirety of the island, while also breathing in the sea air and enjoying the wind in their hair while doing so. This is the perfect activity for a family day out or for a group of friends seeking some friendly competition. Whoever balances first and travels the fastest wins!
4. Head to the beach
Swimming, sunbathing and sandcastle-making are all iconic Waiheke Island activities. Without a doubt one of the best beaches on offer here is Oneroa beach. Two crescents of firm, golden sand make up Oneroa and Little Oneroa. Located on the western end of Waiheke Island both popular swimming and anchoring spots and a strip of boutique and local shops and cafes can be found just a short walk up the bank making it a great lunch spot. Another beach calling out to be explored is Onetangi. Located in the heart of Waiheke, this is a beautiful stretch of white sand. Its central location makes it a good base to reach both sides of the island and if you enjoy fishing, don’t miss out on chartering a boat and casting out with Adventure Fishing Charters. Also, remember to tell your kids about the pohutukawa swing right on the beach!
5. Soak up some culture on an art gallery trail
Waiheke has various different art galleries and artists living in its midst. So why not enjoy both the natural beauty of the island alongside the man made beauty of local art on a Waiheke art trail? Starting at Matiatia ferry terminal, you can choose to take either the Atawhai Whenua native bush reserve track or walk alongside the main road for ocean views. Head up the hill as if taking your towards Oneroa beach, and you’ll soon find Alison Park, a beautiful sculpture park with incredible sea views. A little further along is the Artworks Centre which holds the Waiheke Community Art Gallery. This features creative work from around both New Zealand and Waiheke. Also on this trail is Connells Bay sculpture park where you can enjoy a guided tour through giant sculptures by kiwi artists. For smaller scale sculptures head to Toi Art Gallery. This is an insightful trail showcasing the very best talent that both Waiheke and New Zealand has to offer.
Over to you…
Do you have a favourite activity in Waiheke? A secret swimming spot or a must-include winery? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments section. If reading this has made your wallet feel a little bit more empty, then check out our cheap things to do in Auckland article!