Located 21 kilometres from Auckland, New Zealand, is Waiheke Island. The island is peppered with world-class vineyards, attracting wine appreciators from all over the world. Visitors will enjoy the island’s rich history, the myriad of outdoor sports, stunning beaches and unspoilt natural beauty. Waiheke Island was recently voted into the top 5 best island destinations in the world to visit.
On arrival at Waiheke Island, take the Vineyard Hopper bus to explore several wineries and enjoy a day of wine tasting. The bus explores several vineyards including popular Mudbrick, Cable Bay, Stonyridge and Te Motu. “Wild on Waiheke” is a vineyard and a multi-activity centre hosting a range of pursuits from clay pigeon shooting to archery. If visiting the island during January and February, the acclaimed Headland Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition is not to be missed. The 2 kilometre coastal walk is lined with sculptures ranging from the surreal to contemporary. It’s a place every photographer and art lover visiting Waiheke Island will want to be. If long, lazy days on the beach sound appealing, Waiheke has beautiful secluded coves and beaches surrounded by indigenous flora and fauna. Many of the coves have kayaks and water sports facilities, therefore exploring the island and its grottoes from the water is an option. Foodies will adore the gastronomy on the island. From tapas to seafood and vineyard fine dining, there is something to suit the most discerning palate.
The Island of Waiheke is a 40 minutes’ trip via ferry from Auckland. Most ferries are both car and passenger friendly. Visitors can opt to travel around the island via rental car, however, bicycles, scooters and buses are also good options. There is a local taxi service which transports visitors to major attractions, and organised trips can be booked to vineyards and beaches. If wine tasting is the primary reason for a visit to Waiheke, venture out on the Vineyard Hopper. This hop on hop off bus service transports travellers to the vineyards on the outer edges of the island, which can otherwise be difficult to access without a car.
The name Waiheke derives from the original Maori name “Te Motu-arai-roa” meaning the “long sheltering island”. The island is just over 19 kilometres in length and varies in width, encompassing up to 9.5 kilometres at the widest point. Known as New Zealand’s “Island of Wine” it has the perfect climate to produce Bordeaux, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc grape varieties. It regularly wins prizes for its Syrah wine, which has been voted best in the world.