How to Spend a Day on Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Te Whau Vineyard | © Jameson Fink/Flickr
Te Whau Vineyard | © Jameson Fink/Flickr
Truth be told, Waiheke Island is worth spending at least a couple of days exploring. That said, there are various ways to maximise your visit. Whether you’re short on time, you’re yearning for a scenic New Zealand day trip, or you simply need a bit of help mapping out your itinerary, here’s how to make the most of the island’s best attractions.

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 island to do your own self-guided tour. On arrival, you can pick and choose from any of these activities:

Exploring Oneroa

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.

Beach Parade, Oneroa © weta2000nz/Flickr

Ziplining across the native bush

EcoZip Adventures offers a special treat for adrenaline junkies – a series of three, 200-metre (657-foot) flying foxes/ziplines 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.

Discovering Onetangi Beach

With 1.87 kilometres (1.16 miles) 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.

Onetangi Beach Races © brent simpson/Flickr

Hiking the Ta Ara Hura track

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 Matitaia 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.

#tearahura #waiheke #newzealand #traveler #oceania #NZ

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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. Some of the best wineries you’ll pass through include:

Cable Bay Vineyards

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.

View From Cable Bay Vineyard © Kevin McManus/Flickr

Mudbrick Vineyard

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 © Kevin McManus/Flickr

Kennedy Point Vineyard

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.

From where you'd rather be #waihekeisland #winetasting #holidaymode #hatessundayafternoon

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Te Whau Vineyard

Bring a 360-degree panorama into your winery experience. Te Whau Vineyard’s magnificent cliffs provide plenty of picturesque vistas, which will greatly complement all those award-winning wines and classy European cuisine you’ll be indulging on. This winery also takes pride of the fact they were pioneers in the sustainable winemaking industry.

Te Whau Vineyard © Jameson Fink/Flickr

An evening dinner with a view

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

Casita Miro

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.

It's nearly time for Bic! #bicrunga #liveatthecasita #casitamiro

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The Oyster Inn

This restaurant/boutique hotel will give you some of the best views of Oneroa. They take a lot of pride of their freshly produced dishes — especially their wholesome seafood, fish and shellfish offerings. Grab a table upstairs and prepare to marvel at this incredibly scenic dining venue.

The Shed at Te Motu Vineyards

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 their own produce. Rural landscapes are plentiful, inviting guests to truly relish the sunset.

The Shed at Te Motu © Gregor Dodson/Flickr

Charlie Farley’s Restaurant & Bar

Another venue that has been added to by the seaside, settle yourself along Charlie Farley’s outdoor seating to 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.

🍔29. Pulled lamb, mint and feta #baogeradventure #NZ

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