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Waiheke Island New Zealand

Waiheke Island

Native New Zealand tree on a beach on Waiheke Island.
Native New Zealand tree on a beach on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a beautiful green island of hills and bays, located in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, to the east of the city. 

 Waiheke Island is the second-biggest island in the Hauraki Gulf, at 92 km2 (36 square miles). This undulating island, with a highest point of 231 m (758 ft), has a permanent population of about 10,000, but with several thousand more living here on and off in holiday homes.

The western part of the island has the most residents. Waiheke attracts visitors for its easily accessible remoteness, natural beauty, hiking opportunities with wildlife encounters, beaches, vineyards, restaurants, bistros, a golf course, and the island's thriving artistic community.

One popular attraction is the flying fox zipline at the top of Trig Hill, which two people can zip down in tandem for its 200 meter length, ending in the native forest environment of the the Pukeatua Reserve.

Waiheke Island Beaches

At least some of the island's many beaches deserve special mention. Those on Waiheke’s northern coast are the most popular because they are sheltered from the often cold southerly winds.

Onetangi Beach is on Waiheke Island’s northern coast. A gentle slope to the sea, white sand, a full 2 km of length, and the greenery that forms the backdrop to the beach all make this one of Waiheke’s favorite beaches. Generally better surf on Onetangi Beach only adds to its popularity, with surfers. The Onetangi Beach Race takes place every February or March.

Palm Beach is a little west along the coast from Onetangi Beach. It is named after the huge phoenix palms at its eastern end. It is a very safe beach for swimming It has particular appeal for the unspoiled forested area right behind it, by which you can access the beach. 

Oneroa Beach also faces north, and is west of Palm Beach. Oneroa is also white sand and a gentle incline seawards, but has more rock formations, giving it its own special character. It is very close to the Oneroa settlement, making it popular for its accessibility.

Blackpool Beach is the sole southern-facing beach featured here. It is on broad, shallow Huruhi Bay, which is mainly mud flats. Because it is southern-facing, it gets brisk southerly winds, attracting windsurfers.

Waiheke Island Accommodation

Accommodation options on Waiheke Island are plentiful, ranging from backpackers to motels to luxury hideaway cottages to beachfront apartments.

Waiheke Backpackers Hostel overlooks big broad Onetangi Bay on the northern coast of Waiheke Island. This very affordable accommodation is in a quiet, secluded location with unbeatable views of the ocean and surrounding landscape, yet not too far from attractions such as restaurants and a nearby vineyard. Shared bathrooms. Has its own garden.

Waiheke Island Motel offers the traveller to Waiheke Island a cosy, comfortable space with a private bathroom, free private carparking onsite. A kempt accommodation that offers a nice personal touch. Guests love the comfort of the bedrooms, the great breakfast, the family-friendliness of the motel, and the accessibility to nearby amenities.

Delamore Lodge is a luxury lodge in a secluded location in the north-west of Waiheke Island offering majestic views of the Hauraki Gulf through floor to ceiling windows and from a balcony for each guest room. Pool and sauna for guest use, with massage facilities. Superb meals. Courteous, friendly and accommodating staff.

Taking it easy, Waiheke Island.
Taking it easy, Waiheke Island

Getting to Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is very easy to get to, by ferry, car-ferry, helicopter or aeroplane.

Fullers360 is a passenger-only ferry service leaves Auckland City about once every hour for Waiheke Island. The trip takes about 40 minutes.

Sealink runs a car ferry from Half Moon Bay in Auckland to Waiheke Island, about once every hour from 5am to 6pm on weekdays, and slightly fewer sailings on weekends.

Heletranz offers helicopter transit from Auckland to Waiheke Island in just 10 minutes.

Map of Waiheki Island

See a map of Waiheki Island.

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