Rolling olive groves, world-class vineyards and spectacular emerald seas: Waiheke is New Zealand’s answer to the Mediterranean islands.
Just a short ferry ride east of Auckland, Waiheke Island offers travellers an easy-to-access slice of paradise that’s nothing short of breathtaking. While many travel to New Zealand for the country’s famed natural beauty, Waiheke Island’s picture-perfect beaches, bird-filled rainforests and spectacular hilltop views are in a class of their own.
Whether you’re looking for laidback, art-fuelled culture, mind-blowingly good oysters, luxurious villa stays or a cold glass of chardonnay on a warm summer’s day, Waiheke Island’s got it all. Here are just a few of the reasons why Waiheke Island’s magic keeps travellers returning again and again.
Ready to discover your perfect Waiheke Island escape? Discover our exclusive offer for the beautiful Omana Luxury Villa here.
Waiheke Island is just 40 minutes away by ferry
Ferries depart Auckland’s Half Moon Bay to Waiheke’s Kennedy Point most hours from 5am to 6pm daily. Glide gently past Howick’s residential coastline, Rangitoto Island’s volcanic slopes and Motuihe Island’s quiet shores before reaching the island itself. Convenience and proximity to the city make it the perfect day trip: it’s one of the few places possible to enjoy beaches, rainforests, vineyards and townships in a single day, and evenings spent beneath Waiheke Island’s brilliant tapestry of stars are richly rewarded.
Take or hire your own vehicle or rent a local bike and the island’s countless treasures become open to you.
It’s home to over 30 wineries
Waiheke Island’s unique microclimate makes it a winemaker’s paradise – sip your way across over 30 unique wineries, each of them offering a powerful glimpse into the island’s distinguished terroir. Head to the famed Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant for unforgettable romance among the vines and bespoke glasses matched with seasonal, island-inspired plates, surrounded by the endless shimmering blues of the Hauraki Gulf and one of the most glorious sunsets in the world. Whether it’s Tantalus Estate’s idyllic gardens and secret taphouse, Man O’War Vineyards’ tremendous views of the bluffs below or Batch Winery’s perfectly charred barbecue dishes, they’re all backed by some of New Zealand’s very best drops.
Looking to plan the ultimate New Zealand wine tour? Read our guide.
The seafood is sensational
With the island surrounded on all sides by the bountiful waters of the mighty Hauraki Gulf, it’s no surprise the seafood here is a revelation. Try the island’s most iconic delicacy, oysters, caught fresh daily, or head to Ki Maha on the breathtaking Onetangi Beach for catches that are sumptuous and sustainable. Snapper ceviche, seafood chowder on the beach and octopus grilled to perfection are just a few of the island’s must-eats. Even the wildlife agrees – Waiheke’s korora, or ‘little penguins,’ spend most of their lives hungrily diving into shallow waters, in search of their next fresh meal.
Out-of-this-world scenery and beaches
Vast clifftop panoramas, rambling hinterland and platinum-white sands sloping delicately into emerald seas – Waiheke Island’s a paradise made to be photographed. Oneroa Beach (in Maori, ‘Long Beach’) overlooks a protected cove on the north of the island and offers opportunities for swimming, kayaking and watersports, while Little Palm Beach is known for its breathtaking bay views and naturist-friendly culture.
Trek through the lush bushland of Whakanewha Regional Park and you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the Cascades stream and waterfall. One of Waiheke Island’s most cherished views, the glade is the perfect respite on hot summer days. Head a little higher on the island and on a clear day you’ll be able to see Auckland’s mighty skyline, mirage-like and shimmering on the horizon.
The accommodation is dreamy
Awake each morning to pure paradise – the sound of waves lapping gently against the island’s meandering cliffs, korora penguins braying in the distance, coffee sipped at any of the island’s cosy cafés as you watch dozens of white sailboats bob gently in the gulf’s pristine waters.
There’s no better Waiheke stay than at the brand-new, boutique Omana Luxury Villa. Each resplendent eco-villa settles magnificently into the hotel’s seven-acre private forest reserve and offers access to its own strip of secluded beachfront. Each features a private deck – perfect for romantic early evenings spent admiring extraordinary views over the sea – and an indulgent soaking tub. It’s the perfect place to soak up Waiheke Island’s gentle splendour.
Ready to book your perfect Waiheke Island escape? See our offers here.