Hiking view, Waiheke Island. © Troyana

Waiheke Island: a self-contained bubble of pure pleasure


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The way you get to a place can almost be as much fun as what you do when you get there.

The ferry trip to Waiheke sets you up for what you just know is going to be an outstanding time. As that stunning Auckland skyline shrinks off the stern of the aptly named ‘Quickcat’, you feel yourself slipping into island time. Watches overboard, and all that . . .

The island is like a self-contained bubble of pure pleasure, with more vineyards per hectare than is, frankly, decent.

Attached to many of them are restaurants that show off spectacular island views from architecturally inspiring environments. This, while plying you with some of the world’s greatest wine matched to modern, award-winning foods . . . they haven’t banned hedonism, have they?

Relax, after all that sipping and supping, with a beach walk or a drift through the local shops which are a testament to the recent gentrification of the island, most boasting bespoke, beachy homewares. 

And when you get your active hat on again, swim, windsurf or take a good stomp amongst the boulders and the Second World War gun emplacements at Stonybatter on the eastern end of this little slice of island paradise or at the Whakanewha Regional Park.

You can have a great day on Waiheke — the ferries are fast, frequent and affordable — or an amazing weekend, week or more. Places to stay range from backpackers’ to luxury lodges, meaning you are always spoilt for choice as to where you’ll lay your head after a long day’s sipping, surfing, snacking and sightseeing. And all less than an hour from the Big Smoke. Perfect.

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Waiheke Island Motel

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