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Waiheke Island

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Waiheke Island is an island in the Hauraki Gulf, just off the North Island of New Zealand. It is 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland and is a popular destination for day trips and longer visits.


Waiheke Island is the third most populous island of New Zealand with around 8000 permanent residents, 2000 of whom commute to Auckland each work day. In summer the population swells dramatically as the island is a popular destination for both overseas travellers and New Zealanders. The island is home to over 20 vineyards and its microclimate is well suited for winemaking. Olives are well established on the island and some extremely nice olive oils are produced.

Waiheke is administered by the Auckland Council.

  • Visitor Information Centre, 2 Korora Road, Oneroa, +64 9 372 1234 (fax +64 9 372 9919, [email protected]), [2]. Every day 9AM-5PM. There is also an un-staffed i-centre on Matiatia Wharf.

Get in[edit]

By sea[edit]

Passenger ferries[edit]

Fullers [3] passenger ferries (phone (+64) 9 367 9111) run from downtown Auckland to Matiatia on Waiheke Island, taking 35 minutes, hourly or more frequently between 5:50AM and 7:15PM and less frequently at night. Last departures from Waiheke are at 12:30AM M-Sa and 10:15PM Su. Ferries leave Auckland from Pier 2 ferry terminal, near the corner of Quay St and Albert St. Fullers buses and the Island Hopper hop on, hop off bus service depart at Matiatia. Taxis and hire cars are also available at Matiatia. Return fares are adult $35.50, child (5-15 years or high school ID) $16.80, seniors with a Supergold card are free - family passes are available. The MAXX Journey Planner [4] covers the Fullers ferries and Waiheke buses.

Kawau Kat [5] stops at Orapiu on Waiheke several days a week on its return trips from Auckland to Coromandel. It departs Pier 3, downtown Auckland, Tu, Th, Su and public holidays at 9AM arriving at Orapiu at 9:50AM and Friday 6PM, arriving 6:50PM. Return trips depart Hannafords Wharf, Coromandel Harbour, at 4PM (Friday 8PM), arriving Orapiu at 4:50PM (Friday 8:50PM). Orapiu is on the south-eastern tip of the island, well away from the island's main residential region, and there is no public land transport. Auckland-Orapiu adult $18 one way, $29 return.

Vehicle/passenger ferries[edit]

Sealink [6] (phone (+64) 9 300 5900) operate a passenger/vehicle ferry service from Half Moon Bay to Kennedy Point on Waiheke, taking 45 minutes. Transfers are available from Kennedy Point. Standard return fares are adult $32, child $17.50, senior/student $27.50, car $138 and there are different family passes. Check their website for "hot deals" - sometimes two people with a car only have to pay for the car. Cheaper fares are also available with 10-trip tickets or with day return passes.

Sailing Times[edit]

Waiheke Ferries lists sailing times for Passenger and Vehicle ferry providers scheduled to and from Waiheke Island for the current day. These timetables are great to use for a day trip or if you are unsure when the next few ferries are going from a particular wharf.

Freight Services[edit]

Waiheke Shipping [7] operate a vehicle ferry from Half Moon Bay to Kennedy Point several times a day, the trip taking about 70 minutes. It takes longer than Sealink but it's cheaper. Return fares are adult $25, child $10, senior/student $20, car $80 and there are family passes. Sometimes there are special deals.

By plane[edit]

Helilink [8] makes charter helicopter flights to Waiheke.

Get around[edit]

A bus service runs around the main populated areas between Matiatia Wharf and Onetangi and Rocky Bay. It doesn't go to Kennedy Point, Orapiu or Stony Batter. All-day passes are available (but not before 9AM on weekdays).

There are many taxis, cars & e-bikes can be hired near the Matiatia (foot passenger only ) ferry terminal. The main town, Oneroa, is about 10-20 minutes walk ( 1300 meters ) from the terminal. The island is very hilly so think twice about using a normal pedal bike. An electrically assisted bike can also be rented, which allows you to visit more of the island in a short and in a sustainable way.

You can also rent a car to get around on the island. Or you can take the car ferry via kennedy point by paying extra money.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Waiheke Island Historic Village, 165 Onetangi Straight, Onetangi (the Onetangi bus, number 1, stops here – just ask the driver to stop), (+64) 9 372 2970. Open year round Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays if they are public holidays, noon–4PM. Visit the woolshed museum and a 1930s restored cottage. There is also a photographic gallery and a textile display area. Admission is by donation.
  • Stony Batter, [9]. 9:30AM-3:30PM. World War II gun emplacements and tunnels. Located at the eastern end of the island. There is a 1.2 km (20 minute) walk from the carpark. Tunnel entry $5 per person, $15 per family; double those prices for a guided tour.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Fullers Waiheke Island Explorer Tour, a one hour 30 minute bus tour and commentary, twice a day in conjunction with ferry trips from Auckland. The tours start on arrival of the 10AM and noon sailings from Auckland. Bookings are essential. Fares include return ferry trip, the bus tour and an all-day bus pass for the regular bus services. Adult $42, child $21, senior $40, under 5s free.
  • Fullers Taste of Waiheke Tour (formerly the Waiheke Island Vineyard Tour), tastings at 3 vineyards and a light lunch. Ferry leaves Auckland at 11AM. Days vary with time of year. Waiheke Island produces some of New Zealand’s finest red wines which thrive in the hot, dry summers and stony soils. The vineyards are not large and wines are produced in limited quantities. Fare include return ferry trip, the tour and an all-day bus pass for the regular bus services. Adult $85.
  • Whittaker's Musical Experience, Artworks, 2 Korora Road, Oneroa, 09 372 5573, [10]. Open 6 days; Tu by appointment only. 90-minute live performance at 1:30PM except Tu & F. Collection of accordians, pianos, organs and the like. Learn their history and the period they were made for.
  • Waiheke Island Jazz Festival takes place over the Easter weekend. [11]
  • Try deep sea fishing with Fat Snapper Fishing Charters, 21 Waiheke Road, Onetangi, (+64) 9 372 8755 ([email protected]). Full or half day deep sea fishing. Includes all equipment (rods, reels & bait). Half day charter $80 per person. Minimum charge $200.
  • Go walking round the island's tracks and bush reserves. Pick up a copy of the guide "Explore Waiheke Island's walkways" [12].


The northern side of Waiheke is known for its relatively uncrowded white sand beaches, while the southern side beaches are quite tidal and swimming is dependent on the tides.

  • Oneroa Beach - The main beach, located along the northern side of the town of Oneroa.
  • Little Oneroa Beach - A small secluded beach at the east end of Oneroa Beach, separated by a protruding cliff wall.
  • Palm Beach - Similar in shape to Oneroa Beach (complete with protruding cliff wall on the east end that separates a small private beach in Boatshed Bay), it gets its name from the mature phoenix palms at the east end.
  • Little Palm Beach - A small clothes-optional beach at the west end of Palm Beach.
  • Blackpool Beach - The south-facing counterpart of Oneroa Beach, lining Blackpool and popular for kayaking and windsurfing.
  • Surfdale Beach - A zoned-in beach on the southern side of Surfdale, separated from Blackpool Beach by a small, protruding peninsula, which has a scenic unsealed route called The Esplanade linking the beaches. Popular for kitesurfing.
  • Onetangi Beach - A 1.9 km long, north-facing beach lining Onetangi. For many years it has been the site of the Onetangi Beach Races. Its western (and often inaccessible end at high tide) is clothes-optional.
  • Cactus Bay - Considered by many Waihekeans as the island's most perfect beach and, with nearby Garden Cove, a romantic place for picnicking. The beach is accessible only by boat or kayak, as its land access was blocked off by a private landowner.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Waiheke Rent-a-Cot, Little Oneroa, 3726401, [1]. Hire all your baby needs for your holiday on Waiheke carseats, port-a-cots, highchairs etc  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Cafe De Stefanos, Surfdale. Nice thin crust pizza place with great outdoor seating area. BYO. Food is generally on time. Reasonably priced. BYO but wine is also available.
  • Ajadz, Oneroa Arts complex. Basic Indian, eat-in or takeaway.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Molly Malones, Miami Ave, Surfdale. Irish styled pub with reasonably priced beers including of course Guinness on tap. Nice food as well - particularly the Guinness Pie. Outside seating and pool table. Good place to watch the rugby or listen to live music on the weekends.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

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