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quikflikchiq Waiheke Island - A travel report by tara
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Waiheke Island,  New Zealand - flag New Zealand
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quikflikchiq's travel reports

Waiheke Island - Where Auckland goes to relax

  16 votes
Page: 1 2
Waiheke Island is approximately 35 minutes from Auckland via ferry. It is one of the many islands in the Hauraki Gulf - and after the North and South Islands, it is the third most populated in New Zealand.


The islands of the Hauraki Gulf.  There are also reserves amongst the inhabited islands.
The islands of the Hauraki Gulf. There are also reserves amongst the inhabited islands.
I have lived in Auckland for over 6 years and until this year I had not taken the time to visit Waiheke Island.
Well, I am now very glad to say that I have been not once - but twice in the last month!
My friends brother owns a house on the island and on the pretence of having to go over and get something from his garage, we took the opportunity to do some exploring on two separate occasions.
The ferry leaves from the main wharf near the viaduct and departs every hour on the hour. The fare for a single person is currently $28.50 return.
It sails into Matiatia. From here you can either walk into the village - or we ran straight over to the Waiheke rentals - once we took 50cc scooters for the day and the second day we took a small 4wd.
The prices at Waiheke Rentals are very good - just make sure you have enough on your credit card to cover the bond - and make sure you have your drivers license!

Favourite spots:
just one of the wineries on the island
just one of the wineries on the island
As I mentioned, I've only made two trips over to Waiheke and we spent both of them cruising around the island.
We didnt stop for long in many places - except for having lunch at two different restaurants in Onetangi Bay.

Whilst we were cruising around on the scooters during the first visit, we wizzed past many a winery. Drinking and driving is not only illegal - its stupid. So when I am not in charge of a vehicle - a tour of the wineries will be first on my list of things to do next.

What I really want to share about Waiheke is that the whole island is a beautiful place to go. Depending on what you are looking for from your time there, there are many gorgeous places to choose from.
There is a pottery place where you can choose a blank piece of pottery and paint it up your way, they will fire it in the kiln for you and even send it to you if you are not staying on the island.

What's really great:
Looking over to Auckland from Surfdale
Looking over to Auckland from Surfdale
Waiheke Island has a totally different feel to the rest of Auckland. IN fact, its like its part of another country!
Things move a little slower over there and people dont seem to be in any rush at all.
From a lot of vantage points on the western side, you can look back towards Auckland and really relax knowing that there is all that harbour between you!

Waiheke Island also hosts an amazing jazz festival.
That festival happens at Easter time each year and is supposed to be one of the musical highlights of the cultural calendar.

There is also the Wine and Food festival.
Rather than me listing them though - here is a link to a really good site : http://www.waihekenz.com/events.html

Sights:
The stairs were built so that the soliders could run up them - double time!
The stairs were built so that the soliders could run up them - double time!
Stony Batter is on the eastern end of Waiheke Island.
It takes around 25-30 mins to drive out there and the road is gravel. Drive out towards Man O' War Bay and follow the signs. You cant take scooters out there so we went on the second trip when we had the jeep. At Stony Batter there is a winery and a Historic Reserve and the gun emplacements.
When you get to the carpark, you need to leave the vehicle and walk another
The three concrete gun emplacements were built in the 1940s but the first gun was not fired until after the war (World War II) ended. And the third gun had not yet arrived - so the order was cancelled.
There are nearly 1.5 kilometers of tunnels under the ground and if you check in with the preservation society at the entrance, for a donation, you can pick up a map and a torch and go exploring. Its absolutely pitch black - so the torch is a must!

Restaurants:
You can catch a view like this from many points on the island.  This is looking north
You can catch a view like this from many points on the island. This is looking north
Once you leave the ferry building, head up and over Ocean View Road and you will arrive more or less in the middle of the Waiheke Island township. There are many cafes to choose from - all serve breakfast (my favourite meal of the day!) and on the first trip we took there we choose to eat at one of the cafes on Ocean View Road overlooking Oneroa Bay.
The second visit, we went further over to the northern side of the island and had breakfast. This breakfast wasnt as good as the first, they were still waiting for their daily shipment of bacon to arrive from the mainland!

Other recommendations:
The rocks that Stony Batter were named for.  Looking over to Great Barrier Island
The rocks that Stony Batter were named for. Looking over to Great Barrier Island
Waiheke Island vehicle rentals.
Pick up a scooter or an open top jeep and cruise to your hearts content.
Try and get around as much of the island as you can - to check it out first. Then you can decide what bits you really want to see more of or enjoy and go back!

Published on Tuesday November 28th, 2006


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Fri, Dec 01 2006 - 11:49 PM rating by eirekay

Tara,
This sounds like a terrific mini-break. I like your suggestion of taking the motor scooter around the islands first and then going back to the places that interested you. Great Report!

Thu, Nov 30 2006 - 06:07 PM rating by ronellevan

Any excuse to go to Waiheke is a good excuse! Nice report. LOVE the picture of the stairwell at Stony batter, it looks fantastic on a white background - like a hole in the page.

Thu, Nov 30 2006 - 09:25 AM rating by davidx

A very informative report.

Wed, Nov 29 2006 - 10:11 PM rating by picasso

I had really enjoyed reading your short information about this island.
It seems to me a very nice place to visit even for a day long stay for a
scenic pleasure.

Wed, Nov 29 2006 - 12:32 PM rating by frenchfrog

very nice report Tara, lots of infos.

Wed, Nov 29 2006 - 12:12 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful picutures and nicely written report

Wed, Nov 29 2006 - 07:36 AM rating by marianne

Tara,
It is often that places close to home are overlooked. This islands sound very interesting. You say it is a 30-min drive from one end to the other. How many km is it? I like your photos. Is the weather very changeable because it looks as if the weather changed dramatically in the last two photos.

Tue, Nov 28 2006 - 10:08 PM rating by rangutan

A great and well presented tip.

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