Waiheke Island – “The Jewel of Auckland”
Waiheke Island, the Jewel of Auckland, is an absolute must visit and stay destination – whether it’s for the day or a month! Be sure not to miss out on saying “I have visited this magical island!” Located only 35 minutes from downtown Auckland City and accessed by the excellent and regular passenger ferry service, or alternatively drive onto the car ferry that also departs regularly from Auckland’s eastern Half Moon. Both ferry services offer licensed bars, quality seating, and lots of room to spread out, sit back, relax. You’ll enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery; from luxury houses to high rise buildings, remote islands, protected reserves and even volcanoes!
Famous for it’s picturesque natural landscapes that seamlessly blend stunning golden sand beaches, with rolling farmland, and pockets of native forests. There are fine specimens of the Pohutukawa tree that blooms in brilliant red during summer and Christmas, hence often being referred to as the Maori Christmas tree. Whilst on Waiheke be sure to check out the arts and culture, observe the many vineyards and olive groves, visit the Saturday market, and dine in the many fine restaurants, bars or cafes dotted all over the island.
Waiheke is the second largest island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, after Great Barrier Island. It is a great place to unwind and relax in nature. You can find clean pristine sandy swimming beaches, dramatic coastal and bush walks. Waiheke is renowned for its international award-winning wines and Easter Jazz Festival, the High Life dance parties at the infamous Stoney Ridge Vineyard – which attracts musicians and followers from all over New Zealand and the world.
Waiheke Island is a creative haven for local and internationally renowned artists. Visitors can go to see local artists in their very own private studios and galleries, with paintings, sculptures, jewellery, carvings and pottery all available for purchase. Waiheke is also a sanctuary for those looking for relaxation and self-discovery. The Waiheke Wellbeing Collective offers holistic and spiritual therapies, including yoga, massage, counselling, meditation, and healing arts. Some of them are located in Oneroa Beach, Palm Beach, and Onetangi – just to name a few!
Bird watchers must go to the Onetangi forest and bird reserve, set in a 125-acre nature reserve, perfect for nature and bird lovers alike.
For campers we highly recommends Whakanewha Regional Park, located on the south-western side of the island. It has basic sheltered campsites just back from the park’s main swimming beach. The park encompasses scenic walking tracks and native wildlife.
Waiheke Island offers a diverse range of excellent holiday accommodation, from boutique hotels to luxury lodges, or stylish bed and breakfasts to backpackers. More recently we have seen a huge growth in the demand to rent private holiday homes – whereby individuals can rent basic to luxury vacation homes off the owners themselves or off professional property managers. Whatever your accommodation needs be assured Waiheke offers it all… and make sure you stay as long as possible as its always a sad day when you have to pack up and leave!