What to Do on Waiheke Island?
One of the top day trips in the Auckland Hauraki Gulf has to be Waiheke Island! Waiheke Island is like an extension of the Auckland city life set in the beautiful bays and beaches of the island. Taste good wine, good food and dare to be adventurous along the way with walks, biking and even ziplining. Check out the list below for an idea on the glorious things to do on Waiheke Island!
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to stay awhile, so plan your visit over at our Waiheke Island – Guide for Backpackers!
1. Taste Waiheke Island Wine
The number one thing that Waiheke Island is known for is its wine. Going to Waiheke Island without tasting its local produce would be a crime! There are many ways to experience the wine scene in Waiheke, from tastings in cellar doors to wine tasting tours which can take you all around the island to different wineries!
2. Relax on Oneroa Beach
And the second thing Waiheke Island is renowned for is its beaches! You are spoiled for choice with beaches on Waiheke Island, but if you are only visiting for the day, then the most accessible beach in 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. Walk in the Onetangi Reserve
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.
4. Taste Waiheke Olives
Waiheke isn’t just about the wine; it’s also about the culinary delights! You’ll find many little eateries across the island with the biggest hub being in Oneroa. You’ll also find olive groves with doors open for olive oil tastings, such as the Rangihoua Estate, Azzuro Groves and Matiatia Grove.
5. Kayak or SUP on the Coast
Island life is all about getting out on the water! There’s plenty of opportunities to do so in Waiheke Island with tours operating from Matiatia and Hekerua Lodge backpackers.
6. Cycle 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).
Bike hire is available from outside of the ferry terminal. Alternatively, guided bike tours are available with Hike Bike Ako.
7. 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). Zipline takes you through and above native forests, while you get to enjoy a walk back up to base learning about the ecosystem along the way.
Location: 150 Trig Hill Road. Ecozip Adventures can also pick up from the ferry terminal.
8. Do an Art Crawl
Culture yourself with some art on Waiheke Island! Visit art galleries and see open-air sculptures in Alison Park (corner of Oceanview Road and Mako Street). Other art galleries worth checking out include the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, Toi Gallery, Kauri Art Studio, Tuatara Art Gallery and the Red Shed Art Gallery.
Either pick up a leaflet for a self-guided tour or book onto a guided art tour.
9. 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, such as the Onetangi Reserve mentioned above.