Waiheke Island is only a 45-minute ferry ride from Auckland, yet a million miles away. It’s not only one of our favourite New Zealand spots, Conde Nast Traveler and Lonely Planet are also big fans, giving it the “Best Islands in the World: Readers’ Choice Award” in 2015 and naming it “the world’s fifth best region” respectively.
We visited many wineries over the last months (someone had to do it!) and here are our top picks:
Man O War Vineyards – While this is a bit of a drive, it is spectacular with it’s scenery and the wines are superb!
Cable Bay Vineyards – Just a stone’s throw from Oneroa and the ferry station you can start your day here and combine a snack and wine at their beautiful modern restaurant and setting.
Mudbrick – Just up the road from Cable Bay, Mudbrick offers old world warmth in a beautiful garden setting with stunning views. The food is superb so book early for a meal there.
Peacock Sky – A small family winery, they welcome you with graciousness and warmth. Try out their wines with the tasting matches in their cozy tasting room
Passage Rock – Beautiful wines and a bit off the beaten track, on the southern part of the island, take some time out to relax on their patio in the vineyards and taste gourmet foods from their bistro.
Stonyridge Vineyard – One of Waiheke’s oldest and best known wineries. Their bordeaux blend wines are consistently award winners. Step into this old world setting and frolic in the vineyards.
Te Motu Vineyard – Set next to Stonyridge, this newer winery captures Waiheke charm and is named after the original Maori name for Waiheke. Be sure to book for exquisite food at The Shed restaurant.
Here are a few tour companies if you want to have them organise your island stay:
- Wineheke – personal wine tours
- Waiheke Island Wine Tours– starting from $110 per day
- Anada Tours– starting from $110 per day
- Around Waiheke Tours– starting from $129 per day
The ferry ride is already an attraction on its own. You can board ferries with or without your car in Auckland’s CBD or in Half Moon Bay. The crossing takes about 45 minutes depending on where you hop on the boat and it takes you passed Rangitoto Island and the stunning coastline in the Hauraki Gulf. You’ll have fantastic views onto the Auckland skyline from the boat!
Fullers – Passenger Ferry
Fullers run a regular passenger ferry service departing from downtown Auckland Ferry Terminal every hour on the hour between 9- 5 pm with extra early morning and evening ferries. Some sailings go via Devonport.
SeaLink – Passenger & car ferry
SeaLink runs a comprehensive car and passenger ferry service to Waiheke Island. Departs from Wynyard Quarter in Auckland and from Half Moon Bay in Auckland’s eastern suburbs.
Helilink – Helicopter Transfers (if you want to splash out!)
Waiheke is a 12 minute flight from Helilink’s base in Mechanics Bay in Downtown Auckland.
Once you’re there …
There are many options for transport on the island including a few rental car agencies, taxi’s and shuttles.
Waiheke Island Buses meet all Auckland ferries and return to Matiatia Wharf for all Auckland ferry departures. Timetable here
- Waiheke Auto Rentals offers scooters, motorbikes, convertibles, jeeps, cars.
- Waiheke Rental Cars offer late-model sedans, hatchbacks, people movers, minivans and more.
- Fun Rentals is pretty alternative and have a lot of late model cars so if you want to really feel like you are going back in time, check this site out. Also hires scooters on one of their sexy Arrow 50cc scooters is the ultimate island experience.
- Waiheke Executive Taxis: 09 372 6643 or 0800 372200
- Waiheke Independent Taxis: 0800 300 372
- Waiheke Quality Cabs: 09 372 3000
- Island Taxis: 09 372 4111
Find out more about this beautiful island and its wineries at Waiheke Wine.