I ended up back in Auckland over Easter weekend. But I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the city, so visiting one of the nearby islands was top priority. I considered going to Rangitoto, but I didn’t quite feel up to that adventure at the time (I was dehydrated all week). Instead, I decided this would be the perfect time to finally head to Waiheke Island.
I was really excited about spending a day on Waiheke Island. I took the ferry over on the morning of Easter Sunday (although I totally forgot it was a holiday at the time). I wanted to visit the beaches, explore Oneroa, and go on a short walk. I started the day with a guided bus tour of the island to help me get my bearings. The bus took us around some of the major points on Waiheke Island and gave us some background info about each place.
Interesting note: individual homes & buildings on the island are responsible for their own water supply—everyone catches rain water to use in their homes.
I didn’t end up doing most of the things I wanted to do on Waiheke, though. I met another solo traveler on the tour, we got to talking, and we decided to check out the wineries together. Visiting one of the Waiheke Island vineyards was on my to-do list, but I didn’t get far after that (oops!).
The vineyard was so gorgeous and the food was so delicious, I couldn’t stand to leave. Two $60 cheese plates & a few bottles of wine later, and the afternoon was over. So I decided to catch the bus back to the ferry terminal and made my way back to Auckland.
Upon leaving, I quickly realized that my forearms had turned lobster red from an afternoon outside—I got the worst sunburn I’ve had in years! Don’t forget your sunscreen in New Zealand.
Besides the sunburn and almost unbearable heat while waiting at the bus stop, I had a lovely time on Waiheke Island. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to see more of it, but it’s the unexpected friends and situations that make traveling more fun anyways.
If I ever return to Auckland, I’ll be sure to carve out a couple of days just for Waiheke Island (and one for Rangitoto).
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1 Day on Waiheke Island
While you could easily spend a few days on Waiheke Island relaxing and indulging in a luxurious vacation, you really only need 1 day on Waiheke Island. It’s an easy day trip from Auckland, just 40 minutes away by ferry.
How to Get There: Catch a ferry from downtown Auckland. The Fuller’s ferry runs every 30 minutes to an hour, every day of the year. A return ticket costs about $38 NZD. Check here for info & timetables.
What to do on Waiheke Island:
- Tour the island on the hop-on hop-off bus
- Check out the local wineries and go vineyard-hopping
- Explore the town of Oneroa (cafes, shops, etc)
- Enjoy the sun on one of the white sand beaches
- Hire a bike to tour the island
Where to Stay: If you decide to stay on Waiheke Island overnight, consider staying at the Waiheke Backpackers Hostel. Or if hostels aren’t your thing, try one of these beautiful Waiheke Island Airbnbs. (psst…you can get $40 USD off your first Airbnb booking with my link)
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(Updated May 2018)