How to Spend a Day on Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island is the perfect place for a scenic New Zealand day trip
Waiheke Island is the perfect place for a scenic New Zealand day trip | © Chris Hooton / Alamy Stock Photo
Thalita Alves

Waiheke Island is worth spending at least a couple of days exploring, but if you’re short on time or just yearning for a scenic New Zealand day trip, we can help you map out a one-day itinerary. Here’s how to make the most of the island’s best attractions in 24 hours.

A morning spent discovering the island

Take a ferry from downtown Auckland. You can choose to purchase an all-day hop-on/hop-off bus pass with your ticket, or simply hire a bike when you get to the island, and do your own self-guided tour. On arrival, you can pick and choose from any of these activities.

1. Exploring Oneroa

Natural Feature

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand, with a view across to Mount Rangitoto.
© travellinglight / Alamy Stock Photo

This is one of the first places you’ll pass through. It is also where you’ll find the central township with all the best restaurants and art galleries, as well as the beautiful Oneroa Beach. The latter is quite popular with swimmers, sunbathers and beach-loving families.

Little Oneroa Beach on Waiheke Island is great for a swim

2. Ziplining across the native bush

Paintball Venue

EcoZip Adventures offers a special treat for adrenaline junkies – a series of three, 200m (657ft) flying foxes running along the forested plains. If you want to make this your primary experience, the company also offers special island tours that pass through some of Waiheke’s top tourist destinations.

3. Discovering Onetangi Beach

Natural Feature

With 1.87km (1.16mi) of coastlines to play with, Onetangi is a wonderful place for a morning stroll. Its golden sands and turquoise waters will delight all beach goers. Onetangi is also great for kayaking, swimming or simply soaking up the glorious sunshine. If you time your visit well enough, you might even catch Onetangi’s famous beach races.

4. Te Ara Hura Trail

Natural Feature

This is Waiheke’s main walking trail, and will take you along some of the best spots in the vicinity. The two-hour trek starts around Matiatia Bay, then carries on to the Atawhai Reserve and Oneroa Village. Throughout the hilly walk you’ll be able to set your sights on spectacular views and native forestry.

An afternoon of wine tasting

Waiheke is renowned for its incredible assortment of vineyards. Most of them open their doors at 11am, so the afternoon will be the ripest time for a bit of degustation.

5. Cable Bay Vineyards

Winery

Cable Bay is among the most popular wineries of the region. The vineyards are propped up against some of the island’s oldest rock formations. Tastings are adorned by beautiful harbour views, which are perfectly complemented by the finest contemporary cuisine.
Cable Bay Vineyards is one of the most popular wineries on Waiheke Island

6. Mudbrick Vineyard

Restaurant, European, Seafood

Mudbrick Winery Oysters
© s.ho/flickr

Another must-see vineyard for all Waiheke-bound visitors. Mudbrick is home to award-winning winemakers and viticulturists, and produces a variety of Chardonnay and Bordeaux blends. The stunning winery and restaurant is surrounded by breathtaking gardens and their namesake mudbrick buildings.

Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant is a must on a visit to Waiheke Island

7. Kennedy Point Vineyard

Winery

This vineyard is surrounded by 300-year-old Pohutukawa trees, and is the only organic winery in the entire island. Kennedy Point is more than a prime wine tasting point – you’ll also be treated with a selection of oysters, cheeses and seafood delicacies.

Dinner with a view

What better way to end your trip than with some scenic fine dining? Visit any of these restaurants to get a taste of the island’s best offerings.

Enjoy a wine tasting at the Casita Miro vineyard on Waiheke Island

8. Casita Miro

Bistro, Spanish

Spanish tapas, award-winning wines and a high altitude setting make Casita Miro a viticultural and gastronomical dream. Along with incredible views and delicious food, you’ll marvel at the incredible sculptures surrounding this venue.

9. The Oyster Inn

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

The Oyster Inn Exterior
© Image Courtesy of The Oyster Inn
This restaurant and boutique hotel will give you some of the best views of Oneroa. It takes a lot of pride in its freshly produced dishes — especially the wholesome seafood, fish and shellfish offerings. Grab a table upstairs and prepare to marvel at this incredibly scenic dining venue.

10. The Shed at Te Motu Vineyards

Winery

This rustic vineyard has made a name for itself by producing a highly esteemed collection of reds as well as a delectable dining menu. Te Motu’s award-winning restaurant, the Shed, takes pride in the fact that most of its dishes are made with its own produce. Rural landscapes are plentiful, inviting guests to truly relish the sunset.

11. Charlie Farley's Restaurant and Bar

Brasserie, Seafood

Another venue that has been added by the seaside, Charlie Farley’s has outdoor seating where you can embrace the stunning Onetangi coastline. While you’re appreciating the soothing scenery, make sure to browse through the restaurant’s simple yet beautifully diverse menu, which includes oysters, fish pies, risotto and a hearty gourmet burger selection.

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