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Planning a Galapagos Islands Vacation? Here’s Why a Cruise is Your Best Bet

The Galapagos Islands are a treasure trove of natural beauty and unique wildlife. If you’re planning a vacation to this stunning archipelago, one of the best ways to explore all that it has to offer is by taking a cruise. A Galapagos Islands cruise offers unparalleled access to the diverse ecosystems and allows you to visit multiple islands during your trip. In this article, we will explore why a cruise is your best bet when it comes to experiencing the Galapagos Islands.

Access to Remote Locations

One of the biggest advantages of taking a Galapagos Islands cruise is the opportunity to visit remote and secluded locations that are not easily accessible by other means. These islands are protected areas, and many of them have limited or no infrastructure for tourists. By embarking on a cruise, you can reach these hidden gems and witness untouched landscapes that few people have seen before.

For example, Bartolome Island is famous for its iconic Pinnacle Rock and breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. However, reaching Bartolome Island independently can be challenging due to its remote location and lack of visitor facilities. On a cruise, however, you can easily include Bartolome Island in your itinerary and enjoy its pristine beauty.

Flexibility and Variety

Another advantage of opting for a Galapagos Islands cruise is the flexibility it offers in terms of destinations and activities. Each island in the archipelago has its own distinct features and wildlife population, making every stop on your journey an exciting adventure.

Whether you’re interested in snorkeling with sea lions at Gardner Bay or observing giant tortoises in their natural habitat on Santa Cruz Island, there’s something for everyone on a Galapagos Islands cruise. The itineraries are carefully planned to maximize your experience, allowing you to explore different islands throughout your trip.

Expert Guides and Educational Opportunities

A Galapagos Islands cruise is not just a vacation; it’s also an educational experience. The guides on board are experts in the flora, fauna, and geology of the islands. They will accompany you on excursions and provide valuable insights into the unique ecosystems that make the Galapagos Islands so special.

These knowledgeable guides will help you spot wildlife, explain their behaviors, and answer any questions you may have along the way. They are passionate about conservation and sustainability, and their expertise will enhance your understanding of the delicate balance of nature in the Galapagos.

Comfortable Accommodations and Onboard Amenities

While exploring the Galapagos Islands is undoubtedly an adventure, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Most cruises offer comfortable accommodations with private cabins, en-suite bathrooms, and air conditioning. You can relax after a day of exploration in your own cozy space while enjoying breathtaking ocean views.

Moreover, many cruises provide onboard amenities such as dining areas, lounges, sun decks, and even swimming pools. These facilities allow you to unwind and socialize with fellow travelers while taking in the beauty of your surroundings.

In conclusion, if you’re planning a vacation to the Galapagos Islands, a cruise is undoubtedly your best bet for experiencing everything this enchanting archipelago has to offer. From accessing remote locations to enjoying flexibility in your itinerary, from learning from expert guides to indulging in comfortable accommodations – a Galapagos Islands cruise provides an unforgettable journey through one of nature’s most remarkable destinations.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


waiheke island day trip


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Waiheke Island Day Trip: Things to Do & One Day Itinerary

Julie Last updated: November 5, 2023 New Zealand 2 Comments

Waiheke Island Day Trip from Auckland

Taking a day trip to Waiheke Island is one of the best things to do in Auckland, New Zealand. This small island is home to long stretches of beautiful beaches and coastlines, olive oil and gin distilleries, hiking trails, and restaurants. But for many people, the biggest draw are the wineries. Waiheke Island is covered in vineyards, so wine tastings or a wine pairing with lunch or dinner are one of the best things to do on Waiheke Island.

In this guide, we cover the best things to do on Waiheke Island, plus important travel planning information, including how to get to Waiheke Island, how to get around the island, and how to plan your time.

Table of Contents

Interesting Facts about Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. It sits within view of Auckland and getting here is a breeze, with regular car ferries connecting Auckland and Waiheke Island throughout the day.

Long strips of white sandy beaches line some of the shoreline of Waiheke Island. Small coves harbor boats, yachts, and kayakers exploring the island. Vineyards cover a large portion of this island, which makes visiting at least one winery a must-do on a visit to Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island is referred to as New Zealand’s “island of wine.” The climate is well suited to growing Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc wines. There is a long list of wineries to visit in Waiheke Island and we’ll get into that in more detail later in this guide.

Every other year, the island hosts “Sculpture on the Gulf,” which is an outdoor sculpture exhibition held from January until mid-March. This event attracts over 30,000 people per year.

In 2015, Lonely Planet listed Waiheke Island as the 5th best region in the world to visit.

Best Things to Do on Waiheke Island

In no particular order, here is a list of the best things to do on Waiheke Island. At the end of this list, you can see all of them on a map.

1. Spend Some Time on the Beach

Oneroa beach.

Oneroa Beach is a long strip of white sand that sits beside the town of Oneroa. To get here from the Fullers ferry station, it is a very short car or bus ride or a 30-minute walk. If you don’t plan on renting a car for the day, this is the easiest beach to get to. There are bathrooms and picnic areas here. From the beach, it also a short walk to the shops and restaurants in Oneroa.

Oneroa Beach

Oneroa Beach | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Palm Beach is a smaller beach than Oneroa Beach. It is located on the north side of the island, not far from Oneroa Beach.

Palm Beach Waiheke Island

Palm Beach | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

This beach is split into two sections. The main section, generally referred to as ‘Palm Beach,’ is a popular swimming spot on the island. There are picnic areas under the shade of the trees, as well as toilets and gas BBQs.

The second area, ‘Little Palm Beach,’ is at the western end of the beach. This section sits behind a small group of rocks and is open to nude sunbathing.

Onetangi Beach

This 2-kilometer-long beach is the largest on Waiheke Island. Like Oneroa and Palm Beaches, there are public toilets, picnic areas, and access to a few restaurants.

Onetangi Beach

Onetangi Beach | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

2. Visit Man O’ War Vineyards

Lunch at Man O’ War Vineyards was one of our favorite experiences on Waiheke Island.

This is New Zealand’s only beachfront wine tasting experience. Man O’ War Vineyards is located on the far eastern end of Waiheke Island. The winery and tasting room sit on a shaded grassy area just steps away from the beach.

You can come in for a tasting or lunch with a view. Reservations in advance are highly recommended and for the best experience, request a table outside, where you will have the best view of the beach.

Man O War Vineyards

Man O’ War Vineyards | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Man O War Vineyards Lunch

If you don’t plan on renting a car for the day, Man O’ War runs a shuttle from the Fullers ferry port to their tasting room.

Learn more about Man O’ War and make your lunch reservation on the official website.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: The drive to Man O’ War Vineyards and the Stony Batter Historic Reserve is one of the most beautiful on Waiheke Island. See photos of the drive next, under our information for Stony Batter.

3. The Stony Batter Historic Reserve

The main reason for visiting the Stony Batter Historic Reserve is to see the rock formations and the gun sites that remain from World War II. But just getting here is a worthwhile experience.

The Stony Batter Historic Reserve is located on the east side of Waiheke Island. To get here, from Waiheke Road, turn left onto Man O’ War Bay Road. This is a gravel road but it is well-graded and suitable for standard cars.

During the 15-minute drive on Man O’ War Bay Road, you get breathtaking views of the east end of Waiheke Island. On this drive, you pass farms, sheep, and vineyards. The green rolling hills and views of the coastlines makes this one of the best scenic drives on Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island East Side

The view from Man O’ War Road

Turn left onto Stonybatter Road, take this to the end, and you will arrive at a small car park. From this point, you will continue on foot. GPS: 36°46’02.9″S 175°09’48.0″E

Stony Batter Trailhead

The start of the walk to Stony Batter Historic Reserve and tunnels

To get to views of the unique rock formations, it is a 1.2 km (0.75 mile) one-way walk from the car park. This walk is along a gravel road and has a few ups and downs but nothing too strenuous.

You can continue past these rocks for views of the gun installations. Guided tours are offered of the Stony Batter tunnels. We can’t comment on how good the tour is because the tunnels were closed during our visit. Learn more on the official website.

Stony Batter Historic Reserve | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Rock formations at Stony Batter Historic Reserve | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Stony Batter Historic Reserve Walk | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

One of many beautiful views along the walk in Stony Batter Historic Reserve

If you only want to walk out to the rock formations, plan on spending about an hour here, which gives you enough time for the out-and-back walk. If you add on a tour of the tunnels, your visit could last up to three hours.

There is no public transportation to Stony Batter so you will need a car to get here.

4. Connells Bay Sculpture Park

The Connells Bay Sculpture Park has on display sculptures and photographic works created by New Zealand artists. It gets great reviews but can be a little challenging to work into your day.

The sculpture park can only be viewed on a guided walk. These walks are at 10:30 am and cost $30 NZD per person. You must prebook your guided walk in advance. Tours are offered from late October through early April. Learn more on the official website.

Connells Bay also has a two-bedroom cottage you can reserve for the night. If you stay at the cottage, you are permitted to visit the sculpture park unguided.

5. Omaru Bay Viewpoint

Not far from the sculpture park is an amazing viewpoint over Omaru Bay. On Cowes Bay Road, there is small turn out here where you can safely pull over and snap a photo. Here are the GPS coordinates: 36°49’44.8″S 175°08’47.6″E

Omaru Bay Viewpoint Waiheke Island

Omaru Bay Viewpoint | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

6. Visit Tantalus Estate Vineyard

Located in the rolling hills of Waiheke Island, Tantalus Estate is one of the most beautiful vineyards to visit.

Tantalus Estate Vineyard | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Tantalus Estate Vineyard | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Tantalus Estate

Tantalus Estate offers several different tasting experiences, plus a beer and wine tasting, for something a little bit more unique. They also offer lunch, dinner, and have a shop where you can purchase their wine.

This is one of the more popular vineyards to visit on Waiheke Island so make your reservation in advance for a tasting, lunch, or dinner.

Here is a link to the official website.

7. Waiheke Distilling Co.

Wine is not the only thing to taste on Waiheke Island. If you like gin, visiting Waiheke Distilling Co. is one of the best things to do on Waiheke Island.

This small gin distillery is located on the eastern end of the island, just a short drive from Man O’ War Vineyards.

The setting here is fantastic. The “tasting room” is a wide, grassy area, filled with picnic tables and bean bag chairs. From this hilltop setting, you get panoramic views of Cowes Bay and the eastern coastline of Waiheke Island. It’s one of the best viewpoints of the island.

The experience gets even better once you start tasting the gin. Waiheke Distilling Co. produces award winning gins as well as flavored vodkas.

Waiheke Island Gin Distillery | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Distilling Co. | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Distilling Co View

The view from Waiheke Distilling Co.

Waiheke Island Gin Tasting | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

On a visit here, do a gin tasting, a vodka tasting, or simply have a cocktail and enjoy the view.

Waiheke Distilling Co. is a great place to visit after a nice lunch at Man O’ War Vineyards…the view alone is worth the visit.

When we did this in March 2023, they weren’t very busy and we were able to do a tasting without a reservation.

Learn more about the distillery on the official website.

8. Batch Winery

Batch Winery is another popular winery to visit on Waiheke Island. From its location on a hilltop cliff, again you get more stunning views of the island and on a clear day, can see the skyline of Auckland.

We visited Batch Winery for the Legacy Wine and Food Pairing , which was fantastic. Four bite-sized dishes are perfectly paired with Batch wines. The food was delicious and it was an all-around wonderful experience.

Batch Winery Waiheke Island | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Legacy Wine and Food Pairing at Batch Winery

If you are a foodie or just like the idea of having a small, gourmet meal served with a wine pairing, this is an experience not to be missed on Waiheke Island.

You can also dine in the restaurant or have a wine tasting at Batch Winery. Learn more on the official website.

9. Rangihoua Mill

If you want to take a break from the wine tastings, how about tasting olive oil?

At Rangihoua Mill, you can tour the mill and taste a variety of olive oils from olives grown on Waiheke Island. This is a very busy place to visit so we recommend booking a tasting in advance.

Waiheke Island Olive Oil Tasting

10. Kennedy Point Vineyard

Sit in the shade of the oldest Pohutukawa trees on Waiheke Island, overlook Kennedy Bay, and taste Kennedy Point’s wine. Two Scottish cows roam the property but unfortunately, they did not make an appearance during our visit.

Kennedy Point Vineyard

Kennedy Point Vineyard | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

11. Stonyridge Vineyard

With its hip vibe, lovely outdoor seating area, and vine-covered buildings, Stonyridge Vineyard is another top winery to visit on Waiheke Island.

For the best experience, book a table at the Veranda Café, dine on a meat and cheese platter, and have a glass of wine. They also offer wine tastings and serve lunch in their restaurant.

Stonyridge Waiheke Island | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Stonyridge Vineyard | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

12. Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Garden

A visit to this tranquil oasis is a must-do for nature lovers and gardeners. Located on a hillside overlooking Enclosure Bay and Sandy Bay, this garden is filled with orchids, roses, magnolias, and hibiscus. Monarch butterflies and native birds find refuge here. Throughout the garden, sculptures enhance the atmosphere with their beauty.

The highlight for us was seeing the newly hatched monarch butterflies right after they emerged from their chrysalis.

Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Garden | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Garden | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Monarch Butterfly

A visit to the garden lasts at least 30 minutes. With picnic areas and lots of nooks and crannies to explore, you could spend a lot longer here.

Visit the official website for hours of operation and pricing.

13. Go Ziplining

For families and thrill seekers, put ziplining on your Waiheke Island to do list.

The EcoZip Adventure is a 3-hour experience that includes three ziplines and a forest walk. On this tour, you will zipline over both the forest and a vineyard. If you don’t have transportation, they can pick you up from several locations on the island.

Get pricing, learn more about the experience, and make your reservation on the official website.

14. Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant

Mubrick Vineyard and Restaurant has a little bit of everything…beautifully manicured gardens, stunning views of Hauraki Gulf, wine tastings, hotel rooms , and one of the top restaurants on Waiheke Island. This is a popular venue for weddings and special events.

We ended our visit to Waiheke Island with dinner at Mudbrick and it was a fantastic finale to the day.

Mudbrick Waiheke Island

Mudbrick Vineyard | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

They have both a restaurant and a bistro. For the better views and more upscale experience, have lunch or dinner in the Mudbrick Restaurant. The Archive Bar & Bistro is a more casual experience, with seating in the garden and outdoor terrace. We had dinner on the outdoor terrace at the bistro and it was a wonderful experience.

Learn more about Mudbrick and make your reservation in advance for lunch or dinner on their website.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: We could only visit so many wineries in one day. There are a two more wineries that kept coming up in our research as great places to visit, so these would also be worth looking into: Obsidian Vineyard and Peacock Sky Vineyard.

Our 7 Favorite Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Narrowing down the list above, here are our seven favorite experiences on Waiheke Island.

  • Lunch at Man O’ War Vineyard
  • Gin tasting at Waiheke Distilling Co.
  • Seeing the monarch butterflies at Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Garden
  • Dinner at Mudbrick
  • The scenic drive to Stony Batter and Man O’ War Vineyard
  • The Legacy food and wine pairing at Batch Winery
  • Tantalus Estate Vineyard & Winery

Best Things to Do on Waiheke Island: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

How to Get to Waiheke Island

You can get to Waiheke Island by ferry and helicopter.

There are two ferry companies that connect Auckland and Waiheke Island. Which one you choose mainly depends on whether or not you have a car.

Fullers operates a passenger ferry. It takes approximately 40 minutes to travel from Auckland to Waiheke Island. Ferries run very frequently, leaving at least once an hour from both Auckland and Waiheke Island, from 6 am to almost midnight. We used the Fullers ferry to get to and from Waiheke Island.

The Fullers ferry port on Waiheke Island is in Matiatia Bay, on the west end of the island.

For timetables, pricing, and to book your tickets in advance, visit the official website.

Tickets are also available on GetYourGuide. The last we checked, GetYourGuide allows you to cancel up to 24 hours in advance and get a full refund, should your plans change at the last minute.

ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCE: In advance, Tim purchased round trip tickets, for an 8 am departure from Auckland and an 8 pm departure from Waiheke Island. We finished dinner a little earlier than expected at Mudbrick and were able to get on the 7:30 pm ferry with our 8 pm ticket.

Sea Link operates a car ferry to and from Waiheke Island, so if you plan to travel to Waiheke with a rental car, this is the ferry you want.

The ferry runs from Half Moon Bay in Auckland to Kennedy Point on Waiheke Island. Travel time ranges from 45 to 60 minutes. You will need to check in at least 30 minutes before departure.

See the timetables and make your booking in advance on the official website.

By Helicopter

For the ultimate luxury experience, INFLITE Experiences offers helicopter flights to and from Waiheke Island and also offer package tours. From Auckland, you can fly to Waiheke Island, land in the Mudbrick vineyard or the Man O’ War vineyard, have a three course lunch or dinner, and return to Auckland. There are even more options on their website.

Auckland Skyline

The view of the Auckland skyline from Fullers Ferry

How to Get Around Waiheke Island

There are multiple ways to get around Waiheke Island: by car, by bike, by bus, and by tour.

For the most freedom and to travel on your own schedule, the best way to get around is by car.

You can either bring a car to Waiheke Island on the Sea Link ferry or rent one once you get here.

We took the Fullers ferry to and from Auckland and rented a car on Waiheke Island from GO Rentals. This small rental car facility has an office at the Matiatia Bay ferry port, where you disembark the Fullers ferry. Tim made the reservation in advance and I recommend doing the same thing, to make sure you get a car when you are here.

You can also rent a car from Waiheke Car Rental.

As you can see, we ate (and I drank) quite a bit this day, since we were trying to visit as many wineries, distilleries, and restaurants as possible to write this article. Tim, who had the job of safely driving us around the island, skipped out on most of the drinks. If you don’t want to miss out on wine and gin tastings, consider using the bus to get around the island, but you will be limited in where you can go.

Waiheke Bus Company runs a hop-on hop-off bus service that gives you access to most of the island. There are also bike racks on front of the bus, if you plan to get around on a combination of cycling and riding the bus.

Get timetables and pricing on the official website. You can also purchase your ticket on GetYourGuide, which has the advantage of free cancellation up to 24 hours with a full refund, should your plans change at the last minute.

You can also get around by bike, but Waiheke Island is relatively large and hilly, so unless you are very fit, consider renting an e-bike. You can also use the bus to cover some of the longer distances on the island.

Waiheke Bike Hire has an office next to the Fullers ferry port in Matiatia Bay. They rent mountain bikes and e-bikes.

There are also a number of tours of Waiheke Island. This option is perfect for those who don’t want the hassle of driving or renting a car or using the bus.

This tour includes a visit to three of the best vineyards on Waiheke Island, Mudbrick, Stonyridge, and lunch at Batch Winery, plus your transportation on Waiheke Island (wine tastings are included in the price but lunch at Batch is at your own cost; check the details before making your booking).

This small group tour includes your transportation on the Fullers ferry to and from Waiheke Island and a visit to four wineries.

This tour includes a visit to Mudbrick Vineyard, Kennedy Point Vineyard, and Obsidian Vineyard, lunch, and transportation on Waiheke Island.

Where to Eat on Waiheke Island

We had three meals on Waiheke Island and each of them was fantastic.

Tim and I agree that our best meal was lunch at Man O’ War Vineyard. The setting (sitting outdoors with a view of the beach) and the food were unbeatable.

If you like the idea of a food and wine pairing, book the Legacy Food and Wine Pairing at Batch Winery. The amount of food you get is similar to a small meal or a very big snack. They also have a restaurant where you can order full meals.

Dinner at Mudbrick was also a very nice experience. It’s a great place to end the day, since it is not too far from Matiatia Bay and the Fullers ferry (if you will take the Fullers ferry back to Auckland).

The Oyster Inn also gets rave reviews as does a small Mexican restaurant called Waixican – Mexican Food. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Island Gelato.

Waixican Waiheke Island

Waixican – Mexican Food

How Much Time Do You Need on Waiheke Island?

Plan on spending one full day on Waiheke Island. This gives you enough time to visit a few wineries, have a leisurely lunch and/or dinner, and add in some activities such as olive oil tasting, gin tasting, ziplining, time at the beach, or the walk out to Stony Batter Historic Reserve.

For an even better experience, spend one or two nights on Waiheke Island. This gives you more time to visit the beaches and wineries.

One Day on Waiheke Island Itinerary

This one-day Waiheke Island itinerary takes our favorite experiences and puts them all together into one wonderful day on the island. It is similar to what we did with some modifications. For this itinerary, you will need a car.

Take the 8 am ferry to from Auckland to Waiheke Island (the Sea Link ferry if you will be bringing a car onto the island or the Fullers ferry if you will rent a car on the island).

In the morning, spend your time at one of the beaches, spend 30 minutes to an hour at the Sacred Blessing Sanctuary Garden, or drive out to Stony Batter to see the rock formations and take a tour of the tunnels.

At noon, have lunch at Man O’ War Vineyard.

After Man O’ War, go gin tasting at Waiheke Distilling Company, go olive oil tasting at Rangihoua Mill, and then go wine tasting at Tantalus Estate or Stonyridge Vineyard. You have the option to squeeze in the food and wine pairing at Batch Winery…it is a lot to eat in one day (you still have dinner!) but we both liked this experience.

End the day with dinner at Mudbrick, either at the restaurant or the bistro. Take a late ferry back to Auckland.

Where to Stay on Waiheke Island

If you want a 5-star luxury accommodation with panoramic views over the Hauraki Gulf, take a look at Delamore Lodge. They offer several suites and each suite has floor to ceiling windows with views of the gulf. Onsite is a waterfall with a tropical pool and a sauna. It is located on the northwestern tip of Waiheke Island.

If you like the idea of staying at a vineyard, check out The Lodge at Mudbrick.

There are lots of mid-range prices places to stay that get rave reviews, including Boho Hill , the Guest House at Te Whau Retreat , the Settlers Hut , and Bach on Burrell.

For budget travelers, Wai-knot Accommodation gets excellent reviews.

Waiheke Island View

Waiheke Distilling Co. view | Things to Do on Waiheke Island

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Waiheke Island worth it?

With beaches, vineyards, olive groves, historical sites, scenic drives, ziplining, and fabulous restaurants, Waiheke Island is one of the best places to spend the day in New Zealand. It’s easy to get to from Auckland, it’s a gorgeous place to visit, and it is fun for all ages.

How much time do you need on Waiheke Island?

Plan on spending one full day on Waiheke Island. This gives you enough time to visit a few wineries, have a leisurely lunch and/or dinner, and add in some activities such as olive oil tasting, gin tasting, ziplining, time at the beach, or the walk out to Stony Batter Historic Reserve. If you have extra time in your itinerary, one or two nights on Waiheke Island gives you enough time to thoroughly explore the island.

When is the best time to visit Waiheke Island?

The best time to visit Waiheke Island is from October through April. This is when the weather is the warmest and driest. June, July, August, and September tend to be chilly and these are the wettest months of the year on Waiheke Island. The busiest time to visit Waiheke Island is late December into early January (for 3 weeks after Christmas), when a lot of Kiwis visit the island just after Christmas. Our visit was at the end of March.

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Waiheke Island or how to plan your visit to Waiheke Island, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to New Zealand

NORTH ISLAND: Top experiences on the North Island include spending a day or two in Auckland , hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing , visiting Cathedral Cove , touring Hobbiton , cruising the Bay of Islands , and seeing glowworms and blackwater rafting in the Waitomo Caves. For the full list, read our article about the Best Things to Do on the North Island.

AUCKLAND: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Auckland, which also has hotel and restaurant recommendations. Learn how to plan your time with our Auckland Itinerary.

SOUTH ISLAND: On the South Island of New Zealand, visit Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound , hike the Hooker Valley Track , visit Akaroa and Banks Peninsula , go on a helicopter flight to see Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers from the sky, and learn about the best things to do in Queenstown. For the full list, read our article Best Things to Do on the South Island.

NEW ZEALAND ROAD TRIP: With 3 weeks in New Zealand , visit the highlights on a road trip to the North Island and South Island. If you have less time, you can shorten this itinerary by spending 2 weeks on the South Island.

Read all of our articles about New Zealand in our New Zealand Travel Guide.

Waiheke Island Day Trip from Auckland

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Auckland Itinerary

Hello, My wife and I are considering a holiday to New Zealand. I see that you loved your day trip to Waiheke Island (near Auckland). Do you still recommend it for non-wine drinkers? We are intrigued with a visit to the Gin distillery you mentioned, but with no interest in wine tastings, is it still worth a day-trip there?

Love your travel blog – it’s my go-to source for good information. Proud you’re a fellow Marylander!

Happy Trails!

Avatar for Julie

Hello Don. To visit the gin distillery, you will need to rent a car (either on Waiheke Island or rent one on mainland NZ and bring it over on the car ferry), since the gin distillery is on the far end of the island and I don’t think you can get there using public transportation. If you are OK with that, and like the idea of scenic drives, doing an olive oil tasting, and having lunch at one of the wineries (you don’t have to have wine), then it is worth it. It may not be a full day like it was for us so you could get a later start or go first thing in the morning and have the late afternoon and evening in Auckland. Auckland is nice, and worth one full day to see the city sights, but if you have 2 or more days, I think Waiheke Island would still be worth it. Go Maryland! Cheers, Julie

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A Day Trip to Waiheke

Published by: Paul Ashworth

Waiheke Island is a beautiful and unique destination located just a short ferry ride from Auckland. There is a tonne to do on our lovely island, which is well-known for its stunning beaches, wine, and scenic hiking paths. Everybody can find something to enjoy on Waiheke, whether they love the outdoors, good food, or just want to chill.

Our recommendation is that you spend a few days on the island, but if you are short on time here’s an itinerary that will help you make the most of your visit.

1. Take the ferry to Waiheke Island

Take a ferry to the island from Auckland. Although some sailings allow for boarding at Devonport, the majority of passengers board at the Auckland Ferry Terminal in town. The journey takes around 40 minutes. Buy tickets online to receive a discount and make sure you try to catch one of the first ferries to make the most of your day and to avoid the long queues.  You can read this article for more information on getting to Waiheke .

2. Explore the village of Oneroa

Once you’ve arrived on the island, head to the village of Oneroa . This charming village is the perfect place to get a feel for the island’s laid-back, friendly atmosphere. Take a walk down the main street and you’ll find a variety of shops and cafes, where you can pick up souvenirs or grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

One of the best things about Oneroa is the friendly locals. Take a moment to chat with the shopkeepers and café owners, and you’ll quickly discover that Waiheke Island is a close-knit community of welcoming people. You might even get some insider tips on where to go and what to see during your visit!

3. Visit the Waiheke Island Wineries

Waiheke Island is famous for its wineries , and there are many to choose from. Take a private tour of some of the best wineries, where you can sample a variety of wines, learn about the island’s winemaking history and culture, and enjoy the stunning views.

Fullers also offer a hop on / hop off explorer bus tour that you can combine with your ferry ticket. The journey will have onboard commentary and stop at multiple vineyards and restaurants. However if you are on a strict budget you can simply catch a public bus from Oneroa to Onetangi and along Onetangi straight you will find Wild Estate , Stonyridge , Tantalus and the Heke Kitchen all next door to each other.

If you are looking to do tastings or plan to dine in, please book directly with the venues. To avoid being disappointed, bookings are essential especially during the busy months.

4. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Onetangi Beach

After a morning of wine tasting, it’s time to take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch ( if you haven’t already dined at one of wineries of course ). Onetangi Beach is a great place to stop for a picnic, with plenty of grassy areas and stunning views of the ocean.

5. Scenic Walking Trails

After lunch, it’s time to get some exercise and explore the island’s natural beauty.  Walking the spectacular two kilometre long stretch of white sand on Onetangi Beach seems an obvious choice but if you want to enjoy the islands native bush and coastal views there are many other alternatives.

One option is to walk from Onetangi Beach to Palm Beach , roughly a 5km track that forms part of the Te Ara Hura trail . The walk will take approx. one to two hours to complete and once at Palm Beach you can return to Oneroa by bus.

View all walking options

6. Dinner back in Oneroa

Choose from a selection of great restaurants in Oneroa for dinner. The oyster inn for example has a great reputation for its delicious seafood dishes, including fresh oysters, fish, and crab. They also have a variety of meat and vegetarian options available.  After dinner grab an ice cream for desert on the way to the theatre. The award wining island Gelato company offers a wide variety of homemade ice cream flavours and is definitely worth a visit.

7. Visit the Artworks Theatre

As the day draws to a close, head to the Artworks Theatre, which is a community-based theatre that showcases a variety of performances, from plays to live music, and more. A great way to end your day on Waiheke.

View what events are on during your visit.

8. Take the ferry back to Auckland

Once you’ve finished your day on Waiheke Island, it’s time to take the ferry back to Auckland. Thankfully ferries depart late into the evening.

Waiheke Local Tips for a great Waiheke day trip:

  • Try to be there for the first ferry in the morning, and the last one of the day, to make the most of your time on the island and to avoid long queues ( especially during the summer months ).
  • Buy your ferry ticket online to receive a discounted rate.
  • Consider combining a hop on / hop off tour ticket to your ferry ticket.
  • Make sure to book your winery tours, restaurants, wine tasting and Artworks Theatre tickets in advance
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat
  • Wear comfortable shoes for walking and take something warm and a rain jacket for those questionable weather days.
  • Check the ferry timetable to ensure you don’t miss the last ferry back to Auckland.

About the author

Paul ashworth, at http://www.waihekelocal.co.nz.

I am Paul Ashworth, the founder behind Waiheke Local. Waiheke Local is produced by a small but passionate team who strive to deliver a quality website that aims to promote the island and the local business.

Latest Posts by Paul Ashworth

  • Biking on Waiheke Island | 18th Jan 2023
  • Exploring the Best Waiheke Wineries | 18th Jan 2023
  • Waiheke Island Accommodation Guide | 18th Jan 2023
  • Annual Waiheke Walking Festival | 18th Jan 2023

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THE 10 BEST Waiheke Island Tours & Excursions

Tours in waiheke island.

  • Wine Tours & Tastings
  • Ports of Call Tours
  • Sightseeing Tours
  • Private Tours
  • Walking Tours
  • Multi-day Tours
  • Historical & Heritage Tours
  • Cultural Tours
  • Literary, Art & Music Tours
  • Self-Guided Tours & Rentals
  • Beer Tastings & Tours
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
  • Free cancellation
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • Likely to Sell Out
  • Special Offers
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

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1. Wine on Waiheke PREMIUM WINE full days scenic and wine tasting

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2. Waiheke Island Gourmet Food and Wine Tour

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3. Taste & Graze Wine and Platters + Dessert best value on Island

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4. Premium Full Day Waiheke Wine Tour

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5. Waiheke Island Half Day Scenic Wine and Lunch

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6. Waiheke Island: Zipline And Forest Walk

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7. Small Group Boutique Waiheke Island Wine Tasting

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8. Waiheke 3 Vineyard Tastings Tour, best value on Island

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9. NEW Quintessential Wine Tour + Lunch at Award Winning Restaurant

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10. Waiheke Island Winery Tour

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11. Waiheke Island Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus

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12. Full-Day Tour of Waiheke Island with Wine Tastings

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13. 3.5 hour Sunset Tour on Waiheke Island

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14. 5 or 7 hour Far End of Waiheke Scenic Wine Tour in Electric Vans

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15. eRide Waiheke 5 bays ride

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16. Waiheke Island: Sip & Savour Tour

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17. Waiheke Island Vineyards and Bush Walk

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18. The Afternoon Artisan Food and Wine Tour

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19. 1.5h Waiheke Guided Scenic Tour in our Electric Van

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20. Private Essence of Waiheke Wine Tour

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21. Waiheke Island Double Headland Coastal Walk

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22. Private Dog Friendly Wine Tour with your Local Guide

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23. Waiheke Island Private Art Walk

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24. Private Vineyard Bush Walk Tour in Waiheke Island

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25. Private Personalized Tour in Waiheke Island

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26. Waiheke Island Art Walk

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27. Waiheke Island Cultural Experience

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28. Waiheke Island Private Personalised Walk

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29. Waiheke Island Bush & Beach Walk

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30. Waiheke Island Private Luxury Experience

What travellers are saying.

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  • Waiheke Island Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
  • Wine on Waiheke PREMIUM WINE full days scenic and wine tasting
  • Waiheke Island: Zipline And Forest Walk
  • Waiheke 3 Vineyard Tastings Tour, best value on Island
  • Premium Full Day Waiheke Wine Tour
  • Waiheke Island Wine Tours
  • Waivino Wine Tours
  • eRide Waiheke Bike Shop
  • Ananda Tours
  • EcoZip Adventures
  • Fishing Waiheke - Day Tours
  • Waiheke Dive and Snorkel
  • The Wine Tasting Company
  • Potiki Adventures
  • Big Aroha Tours
  • Waiheke Custom Wine Tours
  • Chas'n Tail Charters

Waiheke Island: Tours Information

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Waiheke Island Day Trip: The Best Activities For Your Itinerary

Posted by Francesca Brooking | New Zealand , Oceania | 0

Waiheke Island Day Trip: The Best Activities For Your Itinerary

Waiheke Island is a microcosm of New Zealand’s North Island. Here, you can get a snapshot of the North’s glorious golden sandy beaches, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline walks and top-quality wine all under 100km². 

And the best bit? Just a short ferry ride from Auckland, it makes for an easy day out! So, if you’re planning a Waiheke Island day trip, I’ve put together a roundup of the best activities to add to your itinerary. 

Don’t have time to read it all right now? Pin for later!

Just a short ferry ride from Auckland New Zealand, Waiheke Island is a stunning paradise of golden beaches, emerald landscapes and mild temperatures. Discover the best things to do, top wineries to visit, where to eat and how to get to Waiheke Island.

Waiheke is the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf. Its sheltered location gives it the benefit of a mild microclimate that’s perfect for winegrowing, winter escapes and summer breaks from the city. 

I absolutely adored Waiheke Island when I visited. It was hands down one of my favourite places in New Zealand. The abundance of vineyards and incredible wine reminded me so much of the Mediterranean, but with a much greener landscape. 

That, tied in with all the many things to do there, it’s an island well worth visiting. Inspired? Here are the best things to do on your Waiheke Island day trip. 

I’ve built this Waiheke Island day trip into my North Island New Zealand itinerary. See how it fits together here.

Best time to visit Waiheke Island 

Located in the Haruki Gulf east of Auckland, Waiheke Island is partially sheltered from extreme cold and wet weather. This means its climate stays mild all year round, making it a great day trip even in winter!

The summer months (November – March) are Waiheke’s peak season. You have the benefit of warmer temperatures and longer days, but attractions are a lot busier which is worth bearing in mind. Try visiting on a weekday and booking activities in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Just like the rest of New Zealand (except maybe Queenstown’s ski central! ), the shoulder and winter months are generally quieter which is ideal if you would prefer to avoid the crowds. Just a heads up though, July is the wettest month if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activities!

Read what to wear in New Zealand for both summer and winter here!

How to get to Waiheke Island 

View of the ferry at Matiatia Wharf with boats in the bay.

The easiest and cheapest way to get to Waiheke Island is to catch the ferry from Auckland. There are two ferries available depending on what you need. These are: 

Fullers passenger ferry

Ideal if you don’t have a vehicle, Fullers departs from the ferry terminal in Downtown Auckland City (Quay Street). Adult tickets are 42 NZD (New Zealand Dollars) return or 35 NZD during off-peak times. 

The ferry runs 25 times throughout the day with the first one leaving Auckland at 6am and returning from Matiatia Wharf at 12:30am during the week. Check the ferry timetable here. 

The journey is an easy 40 minutes and you can admire the view from the breezy top deck or enjoy a coffee and a nibble below deck. There’s complimentary WiFi on board too. 

Editor’s tip: It’s a good idea to buy your tickets online and arrive early to avoid long queues. Fullers also do wine tour packages with ferry tickets included.

SeaLink car ferry

If you do have a vehicle, you’ll want to catch the SeaLink car ferry. SeaLink ferries depart from both Wynyard Quarter in Auckland and Half Moon Bay, East Auckland. The ferry terminal on Waiheke Island is Kennedy Point. 

Adult tickets with a vehicle are approximately 120 NZD depending on the day and which terminal you choose. Another option is to take the passenger ferry and hire a vehicle on the island. View fares and timetables here. 

Getting around Waiheke Island 

There are several ways to get around Waiheke Island depending on whether you’re doing a tour or if you’re travelling independently. These are: 

Group wine tour 

If you’re doing a group wine tour then you can kick back and relax because all your transport on the island is included in your ticket. Most tours don’t include ferry ticket transfers so you’ll need to get them separately. 

The one downside to doing a tour is you don’t have the freedom to go where you choose. We’ll dive more into what wine tours you can do later. 

Editor’s tip: If you want the convenience of a tour without the booze, there’s also a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket that allows you flexible access to the island. This eco-certified bus pass includes 16 stops and a ferry ticket at a very reasonable price!

Public transport 

There is a regular bus service on the island, running from Matiatia Wharf along four main routes to Blackpool, Oneroa, Surfdale, Palm Beach, Ostend, Rocky Bay, Onetangi and Kennedy Point. 

You just have to be aware of bus times and you don’t have complete flexibility but it’s one option if you don’t have a car. View fares and timetables here. 

Hire a bike 

Want an eco-friendly way to get around Waiheke Island? Hire an e-bike! You’ll be thankful for the extra push when you’re cycling through the island’s hilly landscape in comparison to a standard pushbike. 

Daily Electrical Bike Rental allows you to hire an e-bike for about £45 for the day (usually 8am-8pm). A helmet, lock, map and tips on the best routes are included as well as pickups from the ferry terminal. 

Hire a car 

If you would prefer to hire a car there are several options to choose from including Waiheke Auto Rentals and Waiheke Rental Cars. 

Another option is to book a taxi, however, it’s not the cheapest. Island Taxis is the longest-running taxi firm on the island. You can arrange transfers or even do a flexible tour of the island with a local driver who can share insider tips. Tours start at 80 NZD an hour. 

Read more: What It’s Really Like to Travel New Zealand with Kiwi Experience

Best Waiheke Island day trip activities for your itinerary

Now onto the fun part; planning your day trip itinerary! Here are the best things to do on Waiheke Island. 

Visit Oneroa Village 

Just a 5-minute drive (or bus ride) from Matiatia Wharf is Oneroa, a settlement with a population of about 1500 people. Oneroa is a good place to start (or finish) your Waiheke Island day trip itinerary. 

The village has a main street packed with boutique shops – hello souvenirs! – restaurants, bars, cafes and art galleries. You can also wander around the Sacred Blessings Sanctuary Gardens or relax on the beach of the village’s namesake. 

Do a wine tour 

The Gaudi-inspired Spanish bar at Casita Miro, one of the best things to do on your Waiheke Island itinerary.

Above all else, Waiheke Island is particularly known for one thing – vino! High-quality red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc grape varieties are what it does best. 

There are about 30 boutique wineries on the island so one of the best things to do is a wine tour. 

The top wine tours to do are: 

Premium food and wine tour 

A day of incredible food and wine? What could be better! The small-group tour (no more than 12 people max) picks you up bright and early at Matiatia Wharf and takes you to three boutique vineyards and an award-winning olive oil mill.

The tour includes a platter lunch at one of the vineyards and you also have a chance to try Waiheke’s famous oysters! View the tour here.

Afternoon small-group tour

This is the tour I did and I can confirm that it was one of the highlights of my entire New Zealand trip. The tour has a relaxed start later in the day so you can squeeze in another activity in the morning. It’s also fairly flexible as you can do a beer and gin tasting along with the wine. 

A platter lunch is included too to help balance out the booze. If there’s a particular winery that takes your fancy, the coach can drop you off there at the end.  View the tour here.

Winery tour from Auckland 

Here’s a nice and easy one that includes your ferry ticket from Auckland to Waiheke and back. The tour takes you to four vineyards with a tasting at each. There’s a lunch break halfway through although you’ll need to pay for your food and any extra drinks.  View the tour here.

If you prefer to do your own vineyard-hopping, the top ones to include on your wine trail are: 

Casita Miro

Rolling green vineyards with a blue sky above.

My favourite of all the vineyards on Waiheke, Casita Miro has a vibrant Spanish vibe thanks to its Gaudi-inspired architecture and colourful handmade mosaic walls. The rest of the estate is just beautiful to look at too. 

The owners have incorporated Spain into everything, from the wine to the tapas restaurant. Enjoy a selection of full-bodied wines including red, white and a cheeky brandy or two! 

Tantalus Estate 

One of the best wineries on Waiheke, Tantalus is a new estate on the block with an impressive string of international accolades under its belt. The beautiful vineyard and dining experience is also home to olive groves, macadamia trees, an apiary and a kitchen garden. 

Award-winning Stonyridge is surrounded by a landscape of vineyards and olive groves. It’s most famous for its Bordeaux-style reds that leading establishments the world over serve on their wine list (including the Dorchester in London!). It’s another great stop for dinner or lunch. 

Man O’ War Vineyards 

Aside from its amazing name, Man O’ War is a Waiheke wine giant, owning 75 vineyards across the island. In fact, the estate does its own private tours.

Its best feature is the beachfront Tasting Room where you can sample a range of different wines with breathtaking sea views. It’s advisable to book a table in advance. 

Mudbrick Vineyard

Mudbrick is probably the place I would go for a destination wedding (in fact, all of these wineries are frequently booked for weddings). Located up in the hills, this beautiful winery has panoramic views of the island.

The light and airy architecture blends seamlessly with the landscape. Sustainable viticulture is a passion of the husband and wife owners too. 

Wines to try are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo as well as Chardonnay and Viognier. You can also enjoy a spot of fine dining here. 

Other great vineyards include: 

  • Batch Winery
  • Peacock Sky Vineyard
  • Goldie Estate
  • Te Motu Vineyard

Editor’s tip: Most wineries and cellar doors close around 4-5pm so make sure you time your visits in good time. If you plan to eat at any of them, booking in advance is highly recommended. 

Do an olive oil tasting

A girl sitting on a chair outside surrounded by fruit trees at Rangihoua Estate.

Fancy a palate cleanser after all those wine tastings? Waiheke is also known for its exceptional olive growing climate. Plenty of wineries have their own olive groves but the place to go to sample the best olive oil is Rangihoua Estate. 

Rangihoua Estate  

Managing 80% of the groves on Waiheke Island, the award-winning Rangihoua Estate has become one of New Zealand’s best olive oil producers. In 2013, it even ranked among the ‘Best 20 Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the World’ by the Italian guide, Flos Olei.

Visitors can come to Rangihoua and taste some of its prestigious olive oils. You can also learn about the harvesting process and how the oils are made. 

Go hiking 

Waiheke Island has plenty of lovely walks you can do. Most of them are gentle walking trails rather than challenging hikes, and you can spend a few hours or an afternoon enjoying coastal views and native bush. They’re all free to do too!

The best hiking trails in the area are:

Church Bay Circuit 

This three-hour loop starts from Matiatia Bay so it’s easily accessible from the ferry. It’s a little strenuous in parts but otherwise, you’re treated to pretty views of the bay and bird watching opportunities. 

Little Oneroa Beach Walk 

You can either do the short version of this walk (30 minutes) or the long one (a two-hour loop). Starting from Oneroa Beach, the trail is within walking distance of the ferry and main settlement so you don’t have to worry about going too far. 

The trail offers pretty northern coastline and residential street views. As you follow the track, you’ll come to Fisherman’s Rock where you’ll find Waiheke Island’s longest staircase!

Matiatia Owhanake Walk

A pathway leading towards a beach with a boat. Hiking is one of the best things to do on your Waiheke Island itinerary.

This 2-3 hour loop is another great walking trail close to the ferry terminal, so it’s ideal if you don’t have a vehicle. 

From Matiatia Bay, instead of going south to Church Bay, go north following the track to Cable Bay. I did a little bit of this track before my wine tour. 

It was a gorgeous sunny day and I was treated to beautiful coastal scenery and views out towards the Auckland City skyline in the distance. 

Hekerua Bay to Palm Beach

This two-hour one-way walking trail is pretty much a continuation of the Little Oneroa Beach Walk. It’s easy and suitable for all fitness levels. 

Starting from Waters Glen, you follow the coastline round with a stroll through some residential areas. There is an option to turn this walk into a loop with stunning beaches along the way. 

One thing to note, the western end of Palm Beach is a nude beach! 

Check out this interactive map of popular Waiheke Island walks  

Waiheke adventure activities

Two yellow kayaks on the water by a green coastline.

It’s not all wine and walking on Waiheke. The island is packed with unique excursions, activities and outings to keep you busy. 

Fun adventure activities include: 

Sea kayaking 

Explore Waiheke Island’s coastline from the water by kayaking or paddleboarding. You can do guided tours or hire kayaks and paddleboards for 1-2 hours at a time. It’s a great way to get to secluded beaches too! View booking options here. 

Waiheke Island horse tours 

Enjoy the island sights on horseback with Waiheke Horse Tours. Rated 5-stars on Tripadvisor, the tour provider offers a range of experiences including private treks to secluded beaches, tours and lessons and more.  View booking options here.

Waiheke Island EcoZip

For adrenaline meets ecotourism, you can’t go wrong with a zipline high in the canopies. The eco-tour lasts about three hours with three dual ziplines to soar along. You also get to zipline over a working vineyard on top of experiencing a tour of some of Waiheke’s most glamorous beaches! View activity here.

Twilight segway tour 

Instead of hiking, why not venture across Waiheke Island’s glorious landscape on a segway?

This two-hour experience takes you off-road as you follow the setting sun over the island. Suitable for all fitness levels, this tour finishes at Mudbrick Vineyard where you can enjoy the spectacular sunset over a glass of wine and nibbles.  View activity here.

Go beach hopping

A beach at sunset with the sky lit up orange.

Waiheke has 80 miles of coastline so it comes as no surprise that it has an abundance of glorious beaches with golden sands and turquoise waters. The island’s sheltered climate also makes it great for swimming or sunbathing. 

Some of the best beaches on Waiheke Island are:  

Oneroa Beach 

Located close to the village of its namesake, Oneroa Beach is a one-mile-long stretch of pristine golden sand on the narrowest part of the island. Sunbathe, swim, enjoy the public BBQ area or use it as a starting point for a coastal walk. There’s also an off-road walkway to Matiatia Wharf from here. 

Fun fact: ‘Oneroa’ is Maori for ‘long beach’ which is rather fitting here. 

Little Oneroa Beach

Just a short stroll up from Oneroa Beach, Little Oneroa is a picturesque bay tucked in a corner of the coastline. There are public BBQs here too, an ice cream parlour and a fantastic fish ‘n’ chip shop (Little Oneroa Takeaways).

I watched the sunset here over a bag of chips and a can of beer before my ferry back to the city and it was pure bliss.

Onetangi Beach 

A little further along the northern coastline is Onetangi Beach. This scenic stretch of white sand has hotels and restaurants nearby. It’s also within walking distance of Casita Miro – so a good spot to go to after wining and dining. 

Little Palm Beach 

Little Palm Beach sits next to Palm Beach in a relatively sheltered bay. It has gorgeous white sand and pristine waters to enjoy. Heads up though, this is the one with the nudie beach on the western side. Clothes are strictly optional! 

Sandy Bay 

Just like its name suggests, Sandy Bay is a quiet sandy bay with shallow waters that make it ideal for swimming or splashing about. There are also picnic tables and public toilets. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a pod of orcas feasting on stingrays nearby. 

Matiatia Beach 

A handy one if you want to be near the ferry, Matiatia Beach is slightly rockier than the others and often has boats anchored in the bay. There are walking trails you can follow here and you might be lucky enough to spot stingrays and dolphins. 

Other great beaches include: 

  • Man O’ War Bay
  • Enclosure Bay
  • Shelly Bay 
  • Surfdale Beach 

Best Waiheke Island restaurants 

You’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to dining out on Waiheke. Plenty of wineries do their own amazing fine dining experiences, but many of them close in the evening. 

If you want to grab a bite before your ferry back, here are a few of my top restaurant and eatery recommendations for all budgets. 

And if you’re really looking for something adventurous? Why not go to the local supermarket and pick up some ingredients for a beach BBQ? Or head to the Island Grocer where you’ll find delicious deli food for a picnic. 

Cheap eats on Waiheke Island

Open bag of fish 'n' chips from Little Onera Takeaways, a can of beer and a beach with a sunset behind. A must do on your Waiheke Island day trip itinerary.

Little Oneroa Takeaways

The place to go for affordable fish ‘n’ chips, Little Oneroa Takeaways was where I went during my Waiheke Island day trip. It’s popular among the locals so it’s likely that you’ll have to queue. 

Too Fat Buns 

Open Wednesday to Sunday, Too Fat Buns is a small restaurant in Oneroa serving up great-value burgers and sides. Vegan and vegetarian options are available as well as gluten-free buns. Order your meal as a takeaway and eat it on the beach. 


Located near Little Oneroa Beach, Dragonfired is a pizza truck with a range of delicious and affordable wood-fired pizzas, calzones as well as desserts and drinks. It’s open every day in the summer and from Friday to Sunday in the winter. 

Mid-range to fine dining 

A building with big windows with restaurant tables behind and a waitress at Mudbrick Restaurant.

Purveyors of luxury Spanish food, Casita Miro has a delicious tapas and a la carte menu to enjoy with much of its produce being locally sourced from the island. There’s a hard to resist dessert menu too… Booking is highly recommended. 

Back to my dream wedding location, Mudbrick’s restaurant is a romantic spot for a bite to eat over a glass of wine. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, you have stunning views to enjoy. All menus are seasonal and use fresh local produce. 

Fenice Cafe and Restaurant 

Located in Oneroa, Fenice does delicious wood-fired pizzas and Italian food. You can eat in or takeaway. 

Waiheke is famous for oysters and where better to sample them than at Oyster Inn? Located in Oneroa, this award-winning seafood restaurant serves up a sustainably caught coastal-inspired menu. Oysters are delivered daily from Waihele’s Te Matuku Farm and shucked to order.

Waiheke Island accommodation 

View from the blacony looking at towards the sea from the Boatshed, one of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Fancy staying longer than just a day? Here are the best hotels and accommodation: 

Wai-knot Accommodation 

Looking for affordable meets something different? Wai-knot offers boutique caravans and private rooms with a shared kitchenette and communal lounge. It’s a hostel, guesthouse, glamping experience rolled into one. Located in Onetangi, it’s just 1km from Stonyridge Vineyard. 

View on Booking.com 

Cable Bay Views 

Rated superb on Booking.com, these self-contained guesthouse apartments and larger houses give you privacy and luxury with stunning views. All accommodation includes a kitchen, making it easy if you want to save money on food. Plus, it’s just a five-minute walk from both Cable Bay Vineyard and Mudbrick. 

The Boatshed 

Splash out on real luxury at the Boatshed. Right on a secluded spot on Oneroa Beach, the accommodation offers vintage boat sheds, bridge rooms, bungalows and a lighthouse for guests to stay in. Gourmet dining experiences are also available either in your room or on the beach under the stars. 

View on CoolStays  

Read more: Best Places To Stay In New Zealand (2021): Insider Guide To The Top Hotels

Final thoughts on Waiheke Island day tripping

View of white boats on the blue water surrounded by lush greenery.

As you can see, there are heaps to do on Waiheke Island. You can make it any kind of day trip you want from boozy to activity-filled, foodie, hiking or just relaxing on the beach. 

If you’re building your itinerary for just one day, I recommend catching the ferry in the morning and doing one or two activities. Give yourself time to relax and soak it all in too, whether it’s walking, on a beach or languishing over an excellent meal. 

If you decide to stay longer (I don’t blame you – it’s one of my favourite places!), lucky you, there’s a lot you can play around with. 

Although Waiheke Island is technically in Auckland, you’ll find it’s a much slower and more relaxed atmosphere with hints of the Mediterranean coming through. Enjoy! 

Looking for more New Zealand travel inspiration? These articles can help!

  • Epic 2-Week South Island New Zealand Itinerary
  • Ultimate Three-Day Bay of Islands Itinerary for the Best Stay
  • Your Complete New Zealand Travel Guide
  • The Ultimate Guide to the Hobbiton Movie Tour in New Zealand

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Discover Waiheke Island, an oasis near Auckland New Zealand. From wineries to tours, outdoor activities, beach hopping and award-winning seafood restaurants, here's how to spend one day on Waiheke Island.

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Francesca brooking.

Francesca Brooking is the Founder of Little Lost Travel. A writer with a passion for travel and the planet, Francesca is on a mission to help you travel well. Email: [email protected]

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Last Updated on 14/03/2023

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island boasts 92km2 of pristine beaches, stunning coastal headlands, wineries, olive groves and seaside villages and is approximately a 40-minute cruise from Downtown Auckland. One of our most popular destinations, Waiheke Island has been rated as one of the top island escapes in the world.

Waiheke Island ferry

Waiheke Walk-up and Waiheke Reserve

Additional info.

*Sailing via Devonport. Approximately 10 minutes longer than other sailings.

** Waiheke Reserve sailings start on 3 November Friday to Sunday. From 1 December, Monday to Sunday. From 12 February, Wednesday to Sunday. From 1 April to 28 April, Friday to Sunday.

Auckland to Waiheke Island return tickets do not include a stopover at Devonport. If you disembark the vessel at Devonport, an additional fare will apply for travel back to Auckland.

Fares and information

Adult tickets, auckland city to waiheke island - waiheke reserve $95.

Pre-book your travel date and departure times in advance. Tickets will be valid for the time and date specified. Boarding will open up to 20 minutes before your booked departure time.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island - Waiheke Walk-up - adult $55

Buy online and save. Walk up price is $59. Valid one year from date of purchase.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island off-peak return deal - adult $29.50

Depart downtown Auckland from 1pm until the last sailing of the day. Return from Waiheke Island to downtown Auckland from 7pm. Return sailings between Devonport and Waiheke are not eligible for this deal. Off-peak terms and conditions apply. Valid one year from date of purchase.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island one way - Waiheke Walk-up - adult $27.50

Buy online and save. Walk up price is $29.50. Valid one year from date of purchase.

Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus - adult $89

Price includes ferry. Bookings are essential and valid for travel on date indicated on ticket.

Child tickets

Auckland city to waiheke island - waiheke walk-up - child $26.

Child must be 5-15 years old. Children under 5 years old travel for free. Valid one year from date of purchase.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island off-peak return deal - child $13

Auckland city to waiheke island one way - walk-up - child $13.

Child must be 5-15 years old. Children under 5 years old travel for free.

Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus - child $45

Price includes ferry. Bookings are essential and valid for travel on date indicated on ticket. Child must be 5-15 years old. Children under 5 years old travel for free with a parent or guardian.

Infant tickets

Auckland city to waiheke island - waiheke walk-up - infant $0.

Children under 5 years old travel for free with a parent or guardian.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island one way - Waiheke Walk-up - infant $0

Hop-on hop-off explorer bus - infant $0.

Price includes ferry. Bookings are essential and valid for travel on date indicated on ticket. Children under 5 years old travel for free with a parent or guardian.

Family tickets

Auckland city to waiheke island - waiheke walk-up - family $122.5.

Valid one year from date of purchase. A family ticket includes two adults and two children. Children must be 5-15 years old. Children under 5 years old travel for free.

Auckland City to Waiheke Island off-peak return deal - family $85

Hop-on hop-off explorer bus - family $195.

Price includes ferry. Bookings are essential and valid for travel on date indicated on ticket. A family ticket includes two adults and two children. Children must be 5-15 years old. Children under 5 years old travel for free with a parent or guardian.

Select a date


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Waiheke Reserve

Enjoy a streamlined ride on the Waiheke Reserve ferry. Hop directly onto your pre-booked service, perfect for travellers with fixed schedules.

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Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus

Waiheke Island is known for its breath-taking vineyards, beaches, and seaside villages and the best way to access these beautiful destinations is with Fullers360’s Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus.


Taste of Waiheke

Looking for the ultimate day out on Waiheke Island? The Taste of Waiheke tour ticks all the boxes with a vineyard lunch and a variety of tastings at the best spots on the island.

Waiheke Island Wine and Dine - Fullers360

Waiheke Wine and Dine

Enjoy return ferry tickets, a tour of Waiheke Island and an iconic winery experience as part of Fullers360’s Waiheke Wine and Dine package.

Waiheke Island Vineyard Explorer - Fullers360

Vineyard Explorer

Experience three of Waiheke Island’s best wineries and take a tour of the island with the Fullers360’s Vineyard Explorer package.

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Ferry and Car Hire

Fullers360’s Ferry and Car Hire provides you with the flexibility to explore Waiheke Island end to end.

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Waiheke Sea, Land and Sky

Experience the gorgeous Waiheke Island by ferry, bus and a scenic plane as part of Fullers360’s premier experience package.

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Southern walk

Explore Oneroa Village and southern destinations by foot on the Waiheke Island southern walk.

Waiheke Island e-bikes

Ferry and e-Bike Hire

With expansive vistas at every turn, Waiheke Island is an e-bikers dream. Hit the pedals and cycle between the many vineyards on the island, stop at cafés and boutique shops, enjoy a pit stop at the beach or get adventurous and cycle one of the islands rugged coastal tracks.

Ecozip Adventure Waiheke Island - Fullers360

EcoZip Adventure Tour

Fly on three separate ziplines high above a vineyard and lush forest canopies, taking in breath-taking views over the Hauraki Gulf and back to the city.

Waiheke Island wine tours - Fullers360


Waiheke Island boasts 92km2 of pristine beaches, stunning coastal headlands, wineries, olive groves and seaside villages and is just a 40-minute ferry from downtown Auckland. One of our most popular destinations, Waiheke Island has been rated as one of the top island escapes in the world.

Located in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. You'll cruise past Auckland's stunning coastlines and beautiful islands as you journey towards Waiheke Island. You can also catch a Fullers360 ferry from Devonport Ferry Terminal. 

Things to do - vineyards

Home to more than 30 boutique vineyards, Waiheke has become known as New Zealand’s island of wine. Winegrowers on the island have successfully matched the maritime climate and ancient soil structures to produce some of New Zealand's best wines. Visit cellar doors for tastings or enjoy wine and food pairings at vineyard cafes and restaurants.

Things to do - food

You'll find a range of options from food pairings to platters and casual lunch options, to gourmet meals at award-winning restaurants. Oneroa Village has beautiful cafes and takeaway options. For a relaxing lunch, take in sea views from The Oyster Inn's restaurant verandah, or venture to Onetangi for casual beachside dining at Charlie Farley's. Visit Rangihoua Estate to sample internationally-awarded Extra Virgin Olive Oil or stop by Te Matuku Oysters to purchase locally farmed seafood.

Things to do - beaches

Waiheke is best known for its pristine beaches and its warm microclimate means the water is perfect for swimming. Oneroa Bay and Little Oneroa sit side-by-side and are walking distance to the main village. Spend the day at Little Oneroa and enjoy the playground and sprawling grassy area. Onetangi Beach is the place to be with beautiful white sand and must-visit bars and restaurants along the water's edge.

Things to do - walking tracks

Waiheke offers plenty of native bush tracks and scenic coastal walks with sensational views of surrounding islands and the Coromandel. Starting from Matiatia Ferry Terminal, the Northern Walk features the most diverse track without venturing too far from the ferry. Follow the headland track to Cable Bay, Owhanake Bay, and Oneroa Village before completing the loop back to Matiatia.

Things to do - shopping

Oneroa, Ostend and Surfdale are great shopping destinations. Unique stores are bursting with local art, gifts, jewellery, clothing and more. The Ostend Market runs every Saturday from 7.30am to 1pm.

How to get around

Hire a private vehicle and explore at your own pace, check out our Waiheke Island car hire .

Make use of the Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus , a flexible and convenient way to see Waiheke your way. The bus meets each ferry on arrival every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and stops at 17 stops around the island including popular vineyards, beaches and restaurants.

Public transport is available on the island and most services connect with ferry arrival and departure times.

Hit the pedals and explore Waiheke Island on a mountain bike or e-bike. Cycle to cafés, past vineyards, or on rugged coastal tracks. Check out Waiheke bike and e-bike hire .

Hauraki Gulf destinations

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Rangitoto island.

Sitting majestically off the coast, Rangitoto’s distinctive symmetrical cone rises 260m over the Hauraki Gulf. Climb to the summit for epic views.

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A world away from the western end of the island, visit the east of Waiheke Island for its untouched beauty, picturesque views and mouth-watering vineyards.

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Coromandel Peninsula

Enjoy a laid-back vibe coupled with unspoiled natural surroundings in the Coromandel.

Travel with us


Understanding our Waiheke ferry fares

We offer a range of fares to provide value and flexibility when travelling to and from Waiheke Island.

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Find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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Accessible travel

Fullers360 strives to offer accessible and affordable transport to all our customers travelling with access challenges and those with limited mobility.

Terms and conditions

Travel to all destinations is subject to   Fullers360 terms and conditions   and code of conduct .

Inspired By Maps

A Simple Guide & Itinerary For The Ultimate Waiheke Island Day Trip!

Posted on Last updated: June 21, 2021

Categories New Zealand

A Simple Guide & Itinerary For The Ultimate Waiheke Island Day Trip!

Expert travel storyteller Jordan Adkins, founder of InspiredByMaps.com, brings a decade of adventures across 101 countries and 450+ UNESCO sites into rich, off-the-beaten-path narratives, melding ecological expertise with genuine, seasoned travel insights.

One of Auckland’s best open secrets – sultry Waiheke is only 40 mins away from Auckland’s downtown via  a scenic ferry  and yet feels an entire world away.

Envisage endless vineyards melting into the turquoise sea, tempting white sandy beaches, stunning cliff top walks, and refreshing enclaves of native forest, and you can get a small sense of the appeal. D

If it is good enough for Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Jeremy Clarkson, its good enough for us! Don’t miss the epic views at Cable Bay Vineyards, any of the trails (some of the best Auckland walks there are), and exploring off-the-beaten-track. Waiheke is just big enough to get lost on, but not so big that you won’t find a friendly local to point you back in the right direction when you do.

A bit of an adventure, every Aucklander has their own opinion and ideas about what to do in Waiheke. Here we present our itinerary for the ultimate Waiheke Island day trip , which includes visiting some of the great beaches, restaurants, and vineyards along with public transport information to get around the island to save you a bit more cash.

Extremely different than the vineyards of Queenstown and Wanaka , we think this is one of the world’s most fabulous islands and a true highlight of New Zealand. 

Just follow this simple plan and we promise you the ultimate Waiheke Island Day Trip. 

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Of course, you need to account for weather, and you can add in a few more stops in the summer months as there is more light – or shorten in the winter months, but in general, this is how we recommend you visit. Of course, you can also make it really simple and book onto a Waiheke Island wine tour . .. but where would be the challenge in that…

We have also tried to give you the bus options, but Auckland Transport changes frequently. Buses will generally meet the ferry but after that – You can use the Auckland Transport app to see live bus locations and departures. We say this because Uber is not available on the island, and – well, taxis here and amongst the most expensive we have ever encountered in the world. 

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A Simple Guide & Itinerary For The Ultimate Waiheke Island Day Trip 🍷

Page Contents

 6am-10am: Ferry Ride To Waiheke

10:00-12:00: breakfast at arcadia café and walk on palm beach, 12:00 – 15:30: wild on waiheke and surrounding vineyards, 15:30 – 19:00: explore oeneroa art café and beach, 19:00– 21:00: dinner at cable bay vineyard, where to stay in auckland.

From Albert park head North to Queens Wharf which is the closest port for getting to Waiheke Island. You’ll be walking through some of the fanciest parts of downtown Auckland and there are plenty of places to grab a coffee and a snack before you jump on the ferry. While you’re at the Waterfront, check out the beautiful harbor. You’ll be able to look out to Auckland Harbour Bridge and also check to see if there any Cruise Ships entering the harbor. These huge watercraft are hard to miss as they are easily the biggest boats in the harbor, towering over everything including a lot of the buildings on the mainland.

The best times to catch the ferry are at sunrise or sunset. If you’re visiting in June or July this means getting to the ferry for 6 o’clock and heading back after spending 12 hours on the island. That’s a long day, we understand so our advice is to aim to catch the ferry back at sunset which ranges from around 10:30 pm in the evening during summer and 6:00 pm in the winter.

Also, in the weekends and busy tourist months of December – February the ferry can be absolutely packed and you may need to arrive up to one hour advance to actually board your planned sailing…

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Once you’ve arrived at Waiheke island it’s time to catch the 2/ 2x for about 15 minutes to the first stop on the itinerary, Arcadia Café just a few houses back from the beautiful Palm Beach. This friendly and welcoming café serves great seafood matched with fantastic wine pairings, but we’d recommend that you stop in for a beautiful brunch.

We’d recommend just a light bite here because soon you’re going to be heading on to Wild On Waiheke for lunch, but if you are looking for something more filling, here they have all the classics. The Eggs Benedict and Brioche French Toast are both dishes that are absolutely to die for, so take your pick depending on how sweet a tooth you’ve got. In terms of the lighter options, the cafe does great smoothies which will keep you refreshed and read ready to head to the beach and get some sand between your toes.

Palm Beach looks out and is a popular mooring spot for pleasure boats enjoying the beautiful island air. If you head West along the beach and over the rocks, you’ll find little palm beach, which is a great spot for a secluded dip in the beautiful clear waters.

 auckland to waiheke ferry ** waiheke island trip ** waiheke island vineyards ** waiheke island tours nz ** waiheke vineyard tour ** waiheke island wine tasting ** travel to waiheke island ** waiheke day tour **

The next step on the journey is out and on to Wild on Waiheke which just a 10-minute 2 / 2X bus ride from Palm Beach promises a host of activities including archery, laser clay pigeon shooting as well as tours around their fully operational vineyard. Summer is the perfect time for exploring their amazing vineyards.

They also offer group tastings of their specialist beers and wines were the local experts can talk you through the story of how Wild On Wines came to be and why Waiheke soil and climate make for such delicious and excellent flavors. Putiki O Kahu is in charge of the wine operations down at Wild On and recommends the wines taste best when enjoyed in beautiful relaxed surroundings and whilst playing a game of chess. It’s lucky that you can do exactly right there at Wild on where there is a free giant chess set and loads of spaces to sit and drink nestled between the hills and the gorgeous vineyards.

Wild On Waiheke offers an experience of the peaceful and playful nature of the island. Waiheke really is a place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just enjoy delicious food and drink in beautiful green surroundings and there are plenty more vineyards within easy distance of Wild on Waiheke.

Within 5 minutes of Wild on Waiheke, you’ll be able to walk to the Tantalus Estate, Stonyridge Vineyard and Te Motu Vineyard. All the vineyards on this western side of Waiheke have taken their little slice of paradise to plant and grow beautiful grapes from around the world. Each offers a slightly different experience, and each has its own wine experts who have carefully crafted the taste from the surrounding land. If you’ve had a few glasses of wine already, just have fun exploring the hills in the interior of the island. Most of the landscape here is cultivated for wine production so it’s easy to spend hours wandering through row upon row of beautiful grapes.

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Oneroa is the unofficial capital of Waiheke Island, and you can reach it by catching the Number 1/4/2 bus from just outside Wild On Waiheke. Again, look on Google Maps in advance, ask the staff or download the Auckland Transport app. The town features the main beach of the island which looks out to the north. Similar to Palm Beach you’ll find the bay packed with day boats on yachts. There is plenty to do in the hills and cliffs surrounding Oneroa including walking out to the headland or visiting the blowhole that separates Oneroa bay from Hekerua bay to the west.

The town proper is only a few shops, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t little gems to find here. If you think you’re going to need cash, here’s a good place to grab some as there aren’t loads of cash points dotted around the island. Many of the businesses here have been set up by retirees from Auckland , and shop owners are happy to welcome visitors and give them stories about the island. Shops that are worth looking out for are Victorian Gilt, a strange little vintage shop that sells antiques and collectibles. It’s a great place to get lost for half an hour as your rummage around its many corners, nooks, and crannies.

Another spot worth visiting is the community art gallery which was set up by a group of local artists. Here you can find 4 separate uncluttered exhibition spaces, that celebrate the light and air of Waiheke. There are original sculptures, bronzes and paintings, and drawings. It’s easy to see how Oneroa has become such a successful community for artists, so you might leave feeling inspired by the calm quiet atmosphere.

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The final stop on our recommended tour of Waiheke is the beautiful Cable Bay Vineyard. It’s just a 20-minute walk up the road from Oneroa. The Cable Bay vineyard was first planted back in 1998 and the estate has now grown to include a winery, olive groves, organic gardens, not to mention a host of small lot vineyards.

The very first vintage produced from this incredible vineyard won a gold medal in London in 2002 and they’ve continued to produce incredible wine ever since. Amongst the restaurants and vineyards, you will find an impressive private art collection from some of New Zealand’s best artists. The art is on permanent display all year round, so keep your eye out for the beautiful works as you stroll around the complex.

Like so many places on Waiheke, Cable Bay champion sustainable and ecological ideas and have developed their organic gardens with that in mind. The gardens not only produce food for the restaurants but are also fed by let over waste from the kitchens, dramatically cutting down on the waste produced by the estate and also creating extra tasty food for the restaurants. When visiting Cable Bay try the food knowing that as much as physically possible is produced locally on the island, and nothing is wasted.

The most recent addition to the Cable Bay estate was added in 2016 when the olive grove was acquired alongside a small fruit tree orchid and 2500 manuka trees. The final ingredient in the recipe was the addition of several bee hives for honey production. Cable Bay truly is one of the jewels in Waiheke’s crown, with an incredible, sustainable complex delivers delicious food and experiences, all with incredible views over the hills, coast and back to Auckland and the mainland. It’s the perfect place to end your day on Waiheke. Watch the sun dip lower with a final glass of wine in hand before making your way back to the ferry with a 15-minute walk downhill. There is a forest trail if it is still daylight, or we recommend sticking to the main road in the evening. 

The journey back to the mainland under the setting sun is one that you simply won’t forget after a packed day on Waiheke Island.

**waiheke to auckland ferry ** auckland to waiheke island ferry ** waiheke island wineries map ** tours on waiheke island ** wine on waiheke ** auckland wine tours waiheke ** getting around waiheke island **

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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 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.

View all trips, 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.

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Natural Feature

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand, with a view across to Mount Rangitoto.

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.

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Ziplining across the native bush

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Discovering Onetangi Beach

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 .

Te Ara Hura Trail

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.

Cable Bay Vineyards

Cable Bay Vineyards is one of the most popular wineries on Waiheke Island

Mudbrick Vineyard

Restaurant, European, Seafood

Mudbrick Winery Oysters

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

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.

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

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.

The Oyster Inn

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

The Oyster Inn Exterior

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

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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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

waiheke island day trip

Places to Stay

The best boutique hotels on waiheke island, new zealand.

waiheke island day trip

Black Friday Offers on Our Trips

Incredible savings.

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  1. A Waiheke Island day trip

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  2. A Day Trip to Waiheke Island from Auckland, New Zealand

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  3. Why Waiheke Island in New Zealand is a Must-See

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  4. One Day on Waiheke Island

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  5. A Day Trip to Waiheke Island from Auckland, New Zealand

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  6. A Waiheke Island day trip

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