Hikes and Walks on Waiheke
Tie up your hiking boots (Ok, so it’s more like your trail runners on Waiheke) and hit the walking trails of Waiheke Island! It’s the best way to soak up the coastal and forest scenery on Waiheke Island. Plus, all these walks are absolutely free to access! So what are the walks on Waiheke Island?
In this list, we’ve put together a mix of walks easy to access from the passenger ferry terminal, as well as others that are worth hiring a vehicle or taking the bus for. Walks on Waiheke Island are mostly a mix of off-road walking tracks, residential streets and roads. However, if you are looking for more things to do on Waiheke Island, be sure to check out 9 Glorious Things to Do on Waiheke Island, as well as 5 Waiheke Island Must-Dos.
1. Church Bay Circuit (3-hour Loop)
For hike easily accessible from the passenger ferries at Matiatia Bay, check out the Church Bay Circuit. This 3-hour loop starts by following the path to the southern end of Matiatia Bay. Cross the footbridge and follow the track uphill to a lookout. You’ll then follow a coastal track on Te Miro Bay and Church Bay. To complete the loop, follow Church Bay Road all the way to Alison Park where you can either access Oneroa Beach or return to Matiatia Bay via Ocean View Road or the Atawhai Whenua Reserve pathway. Note that the walk is strenuous in places.
Location: Start from Matiatia Bay.
2. Whakanewha Regional Park (Varied)
On the southern side of Waiheke Island, Whakanewha Regional Park is well worth making your way to for its lush coastal forest, cascading streams and sweeping beach. The easy walks in the park include Nikau Track (2.5 hours), Pā Loop Track (30 minutes), Park Walk (2.5 hours), Rua Loop Track (30 minutes).
Location: Access is via Gordons Road.
3. Matiatia – Owhanake Loop (2-3 Hours Loop)
Another awesome walking option where you don’t have to venture too far from the ferry terminal is the Matiatia – Owhanake Loop. From the ferry terminal, head north on the track to Cable Bay then Owhanake Bay – the first part of the walk is outlined on the Department of Conservation (DoC) website. There are some excellent coastal views along the way. When you reach Island Bay, follow the green and yellow markers to Korora Road until you reach Oneroa Beach. From the beach, return to Matiatia Bay via Korora Road to Alison Park then via Ocean View Road or the Atawhai Whenua Reserve. This walk takes 2-3 hours and includes some hill climbs.
Location: Access via Matiatia Bay.
4. Little Oneroa Beach Walk (30 Minutes or 2-hour Loop)
A short walkway (30 minutes) joins Oneroa Beach and the Newton Reserve, which is an easy walk. This walk can be made into a more challenging loop walk via residential streets, making the full loop about 2 hours. This is another good option in Waiheke Island’s main town and within walking distance of the ferry. From Oneroa Beach, walk along the beach at low tide to Little Oneroa Beach. Alternatively, there is a track to get to Little Oneroa Beach on the corner of Puriri and Ocean View Roads. From Little Oneroa Beach, there is a track leading to a lookout at Fisherman’s Rock, which features Waiheke’s longest staircase. To complete the loop, take the track to Newton Road, then Queens Drive to Goodwin Avenue which leads back to Little Oneroa.
Location: Access from Oneroa Beach or Little Oneroa Beach
5. Hekerua Bay to Palm Beach (2 Hours One Way)
A mix of easy-going walking tracks and residential streets provide a great taste to Waiheke Island coastal scenery in around 2 hours. The walk starts from Waters Glen at the end of Queens Drive, which joins a concrete zigzag track to the Hekerua Bay Reserve. Follow the track to Sandy Bay. Then follow Great Barrier Road and turn on Empire Avenue through the McKenzie Reserve. Come out on Coromandel Road, turn left onto Hauraki Road then Cory Road to the Mawhitipana Reserve and along Palm Beach.
Location: Access is via the top of Goodwin Avenue and Queen’s Drive.
6. Rocky Bay’s Te Whau Loop (3h30mins Loop)
Another awesome and easy walk on Waiheke Island is at Rocky Bay. Start at the Onetangi Sports Park and follow the track on the righthand side of O’Brien Road. Turn right on Magaret Reeve lane which leads down to Okoka (Dead Dog) Bay. Cross the beach then follow the markers uphill onto Vintage Lane. Turn right onto Te Whau Drive and follow the road to the Hitapa Bay walkway leading steeply down to the beach. You’ll now follow a scenic coastal path until you reach Kuakarau Bay. Head back inland on Wairua Road then follow the paths into the Kuakarau Bay Forest Reserve. There are two tracks in the reserve that will take you to either Te Whau Drive or O’Brien Road.
Location: Access via the Onetangi Sports Park.
[CLOSED] Onetangi Reserve
The Onetangi Reserve (or Forest & Bird Reserve) is your dose of wilderness on Waiheke Island. Situated behind the huge Onetangi Beach, a network of walking trails takes you through a mix of kauri, nikau palms and manuka forest. It’s a good spot for bird watching too, even for the North Island kaka parrot. Hikes in the reserve range from 10 minutes to 2 hours one way.
Location: Access along Trig Hill Road or Waiheke Road. (We recommend starting at the entrance on Trig Hill Road and making your way down.