Spending the day on Waiheke Island
One of my favourite summer activities? Spending a day on Waiheke, drinking great wine and eating fine food! A kiwi summer wouldn't feel complete with at least a day trip to this gorgeous island located just a 40 minute ferry ride from Downtown Auckland.
The most affordable way to get to this little island is by ferry. Unless you want to pay top dollars to fly there in a helicopter...maybe one day! For the ferry timetable you can visit this website here. They run pretty frequently however in summer in the weekends they can get pretty busy so make sure you get there early to make the most of the day. Sometimes if the line is REALLY long there won't be enough seats and you'll have to wait for the next boat. I've never had any problems but I know people that have so just something to keep in mind if you are heading there on a popular day!
What to do
Well there's the obvious...drink wine, but there are actually quite a few different things to do on this island! There's some cute boutique shops in the town and some great places to eat, their prices are also a lot more wallet friendly than the food you'll get at the vineyards.
If you aren't a big wine drinker, Waiheke is still worth a visit because of it's gorgeous beaches. Oneroa is the most accessible and the most popular due to being located just up the hill from the ferry terminal. There are other great beaches such as Onetangi Beach, Palm Beach and Sandy Bay but they take a bit longer to get to.
There are also beautiful costal walks you can do or if you're feeling super adventurous head to Ecozip for some zip lining!
Where to go
One of my favourite vineyards on Waiheke is Cable Bay. It's easy to get to, the view is stunning, the wine is great and the atmosphere in summer is like no other. Lounge on the beanbags out on the grass with a wine in hand, taking in the spectacular view. Other vineyards I've been to which I would also recommend are Mudbrick, Stonyridge, Wild on Waiheke.
To get into the swing of things Wild on Waiheke is a good place to start. The tastings are the cheapest here and the wine is good. There is also a range of activities to keep you occupied such as ring toss, clay bird shooting, archery and even a trampoline! Stonyridge is located right next door and is the perfect place to stop for lunch if you're feeling a bit peckish. It's famous for it's red wine and the lunch menu is to die for. As expected it's not going to be cheap but to this day, I swear that was the best steak I ever had. Mudbrick is gorgeous at sunset, the tables outside get the best view. It's quite a romantic place so perfect for date night!
Getting around the island
If you want to take a car across this is possible, you just need to book the car ferry, It would be the easiest way to get around if you are planning on doing lots of exploring!
Otherwise a cheaper option would be getting an all day bus pass if you are planning on visiting multiple vineyards throughout the day. It is only $10 and allows you to hop on and off the bus as you please. Perfect for when you've had a few too many savs... There are taxi's on the island but these can get expensive if you're hopping from place to place. However if you're planning on just going to one vineyard and parking up there for the afternoon then getting a taxi is probably going to be your best option depending on the distance from the ferry terminal. For example Cable Bay is the closest vineyard to the terminal and only a couple minutes taxi ride. It is a walkable distance but in the heat of summer, that hill can be a bit of a killer...
If you aren't in New Zealand during the summer, still pop over to Waiheke and see the vineyards, you'll have an alcohol blanket to keep you warm! The vineyards themselves are stunning and have won many awards so definitely worth adding this island to your NZ itinerary. You can thank me later.