The Must-Dos on Waiheke Island
If there’s one Auckland city escape you can’t miss, it has to be Waiheke Island. Waiheke brings the best of city life, with good food and good drink, and mixes it with the best of island life, with golden sand beaches. Like many of us, you probably have limited time on the island so make the most of it by choosing some of the Waiheke Island must-dos! Check out the list below for an idea of the glorious things to do on Waiheke Island.
1. Taste Waiheke Island Wine
Waiheke Island is not only one of the most popular wine regions in New Zealand, but it’s also one with the best vistas! There are many ways to experience the wine scene in Waiheke, from tastings in cellar doors to wine tours that can take you all around the island to different wineries. Take a look at the wineries to visit in the 21 Vineyards & Wineries on Waiheke Island or join a wine tour with Waiheke Wine Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Wai Tiki Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Enjoi (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Ananda Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, book an all-inclusive wine tour with ferry tickets on Klook.
Location: See the above links for specific locations of wineries and tour departures.
2. Relax on Oneroa Beach
Waiheke Island is equally renowned for is its beaches as it is for its wine. Although you are spoiled for choice with beaches on Waiheke Island, if you are only visiting for the day then the most accessible beach is Oneroa. It’s about a 30 minutes walk from Matiatia Wharf where the passenger ferry arrives. A walk eastern end of the beach will give you some awesome views of Oneroa Beach and Little Oneroa Beach.
Location: Follow Ocean View Road until you reach Oneroa then follow the signs down to the beach.
3. Taste Waiheke Olives, Oysters and More!
Waiheke Island has all the food and culture of a city set in the stunning surrounds of an island. Tasting the local cuisine is another Waiheke Island must-do and you are spoiled for choice! Taste oysters at The Oyster Inn in Oneroa. Visit olive groves, such as the Rangihoua Estate or Azzuro Groves to taste their homegrown olive oils. Craft beer, whisky distilleries, French cafes and Italian restaurants all exist on the island so take your pick!
Location: The Oyster Inn – 124 Ocean View Road, Oneroa. Rangihoua Estate – 1 Gordons Road. Azzuro Groves – available at Island Grocer, 110 Ocean View Road, Oneroa.
4. Kayak or SUP on the Coast
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore the Waiheke Island coastline then kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) would be the way to do it. Either freedom-hire your gear from Matiatia Wharf (ferry terminal), Oneroa or Onetangi Beach or join a guided tour with Hekerua Lodge, for example, to explore the island’s hidden gems. Island life is all about getting out on the water!
Location: Kayak Waiheke – Matiatia Beachfront, Oneroa. Waiheke Adventure Centre – Matiatia Beachfront, Oneroa. Onetangi Beach Apartments – 5/7 Fourth Avenue, Onetangi. Hekerua Lodge – 11 Hekerua Road, Oneroa.
5. Cycle Around the Island
Getting around Waiheke is half the fun, but for the more adventurous, hire a bike and make your way around the island. Pop into the Onetangi Sports Park for some fun grade 1-4 trails. For more information, check out Mountain Biking in Auckland. (Note: There are quite a few hills in Waiheke, so consider getting an electric bike if you are not up for the challenge).
6. Zipline Over the Vineyards and Through the Trees
See Waiheke Island from a different perspective as you zip through the trees on three giant ziplines (or flying fox, as they say in New Zealand). Ziplining with Ecozip Adventures takes you through and above native forests and vineyards, while you get to enjoy a walk back up to base learning about the ecosystem along the way. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: 150 Trig Hill Road. Ecozip Adventures can also pick up from the ferry terminal. Alternatively, book your ferry, island transport and zipline experience together or an all-inclusive zipline and wine tour with ferry tickets on Klook.
7. Do an Art Crawl
Culture yourself with some art on Waiheke Island! Visit art galleries and see open-air sculptures in Alison Park. Other art galleries worth checking out include the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, Toi Gallery, Kauri Art Studio and the Red Shed Art Gallery. Either pick up a leaflet for a self-guided tour or book onto a guided art tour with Terra & Tide (available on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook).
Location: Alison Park – corner of Oceanview Road and Mako Street. Waiheke Community Art Gallery – 2 Korora Road, Oneroa. Toi Gallery – 145 Ocean View Road, Oneroa. Kauri Art Studio – 32 Goodwin Ave, Little Oneroa. Red Shed Art Gallery – 74A Palm Road, Palm Beach.
8. See Fascinating Bird Species
Although there are other islands in the Hauraki Gulf that are pest-free bird sanctuaries, you might be surprised to find that Waiheke Island also has its fair share of fascinating native New Zealand birds! Kereru, grey warbler, fantail, kingfisher, tui, blue penguins, New Zealand dotterel and even kaka parrots can all be seen on the island. We suggest hitting the walking trails away from the towns for your best chances of seeing the birds. Check out the 7 Best Walks on Waiheke Island for more information.
Location: Check out the link above for specific locations.
[CLOSED] Walk in the Onetangi Reserve
[Update: Onetangi Reserve is closed to reduce the spread of kauri dieback].
For your dose of Waiheke Island wilderness, go for a walk in the Onetangi Reserve. A network of walking trails will take you through Kauri tree stands, nikau palm forests and to open hilltops with awesome views across Waiheke Island! You’re bound to see a lot of birds too. For more walks on Waiheke, check out 7 Wonderful Walks on Waiheke Island.
Location: Access along Trig Hill Road or Waiheke Road.