If you’re unfamiliar with Waiheke Island, let me paint a picture for you. An island located just a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD, Waiheke not only has multiple white sand beaches, it’s also inundated with vineyards/wineries making world renowned wine, olive groves, art and unsurprisingly multi-millionaires with some of the most amazing houses you’ll have ever seen. It’s the ultimate island retreat.
Having been to Waiheke Island a few times over the years, from sailing there on our yacht as a child, to friends getting married at one of the vineyards, I still felt like I hadn’t properly seen all that this beautiful 20km island has to offer. So we took a day trip there to discover as much as we could.
Boarding the ferry from downtown Auckland, we arrived mid morning and collected our rental car aka the cutest, most hilarious car ever and drove up to Oneroa Village to start our day with coffee, something kiwi’s know how to do really well. Oneroa is a bit of a foodie paradise, with numerous restaurants and cafes, we hit up The Island Grocer for some caffeine, and TBND tried one of their mince and mozzarella pies which he tells me was amazing. The Island Grocer also sells loads of indie food products, so we found ourselves walking out of the store with a bag full of everything from peanut butter to hot sauce. Definitely one to visit!
Back in the car we did some beach hopping, which also involved unexpectedly stumbling across the nudist area at Palm Beach, cue juvenile sniggering and trying to avert our eyes from it all! One of the nudists said to us ‘You should come in, the water is warm!’. It was around that moment that the two of us hightailed it outta there!
Before sitting down for a gluten free pizza at The Boathouse overlooking Onetangi Beach, we drove to Casita Miro, a stunning vineyard and restaurant that specialises in Spanish food. Due to time restrictions, we didn’t stay long, but I highly recommend adding this place to your list, it was truly beautiful.
Following our pizza lunch, we continued around the island and drove along the dirt roads toward Man O’ War Bay. Our little car was slightly struggling with the road there, but we eventually arrived at the secluded bay, also home to Man O’ War Vineyards. The vineyards are truly lovely, with indoor/outdoor seating, you can laze about on beanbags in the sun whilst wine tasting and snacking on a cheese board, and the beach is just a stone’s throw away.
Back in our little car, we continued around the island, stopping off to snap photos every so often. As you’ll discover if you visit Waiheke, there’s a photo opportunity around every corner, from the view back over to Auckland, to beaches, vineyards and beautiful homes.
We could’ve stayed on Waiheke Island for a week and have never been bored. There is so much to do, from walks to zip lining, art galleries to restaurants, or simply laying on your beach towel and soaking up the sun (with suncream of course!). With only a day to discover as much as we could on the island, we didn’t have a chance to sit and relax, but this was definitely one of our holiday highlights. Before boarding our ferry, we made one last stop, at Island Gelato back in Oneroa. Again, this is a must visit spot, the gelato was as good as anything I’d ever tasted in Italy, and the perfect sweet ending to our day on one of New Zealand’s most amazing islands.