Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island

See Tonys article about what to do in Auckland. Waiheke Island is just a 35 minutes ferry ride from downtown Auckland and is situated in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf. It is the second largest of the Hauraki Gulf Islands, the most populated and the most accessible with regular ferry and air services, leaving downtown Auckland almost every hour. The mere mention of Waiheke is enough to put a smile on an Aucklander's face. It's the place we go to loosen up, kick back and have fun. Some people are even lucky enough to live there permanently. Waiheke is a sizeable island with a resident population of around 7,500 people and a summer population of 30,000. The landscape is a picturesque blend of farmland, forest, beaches, vineyards and olive groves. The unique climate and soil conditions produce consistently excellent wines, particularly Cabernet and Merlot blends.

It's easy to get around the island by bus or taxi. Alternatively you can rent a car or a scooter. And if you're feeling energetic, hire a mountain bike and use all your gears getting up and down the hills. A day trip to Waiheke could include visits to vineyards and art studios, swimming at Onetangi or Palm Beach and lunch at an Oneroa café. If you want to stay on the island for a few days, there's a good choice of accommodation - from luxury retreats to backpacker hostels. You could even rent a beach house - there are hundreds of them scattered along the best beaches. Activities such as golf and sea kayaking will keep you busy - or simply find a perfect beach and let the days wash over you. Ask the locals to point you towards Stony Batter - a massive underground tunnel network built during WW11. You'll need a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a torch.

Scenic Highlights:

Waiheke Islands Fabulous Wineries: Visiting some of Waiheke Islands fabulous wineries is a must see must do activity whilst on the Island! Enjoy stunning Bordeaux variety wines (amongst others) and stunning local fare while taking in breathing taking scenery and plenty of sunshine!

Exploring Waihekes Islands many Bays, Inlets and Beaches: Hire a scooter, bicycle or rent a car - which ever option you take you'll have a ball exploring the many secluded bays, inlets and beaches that abound Waiheke Island.

Kayaking Around Waihekes Beautiful Coastline: Cactus Bay is one of Waihekes most treasured spots, and incidentally you can only reach it via boat, or kayak of course! There are many idyllic bays and headlands that make paddling around Waiheke a memorable experience.

Activities:

- Experience wine tasting on Waiheke Island
- Charter a yacht and make your own adventure around the Hauraki Gulf
- Go swimming with the dolphins
- Take the ferry across to Devonport and enjoy a light cafe lunch and a spot of shopping
- Try a spot of beachcombing around the many bays, inlets and beaches on Waiheke
- Enjoy a lunch or evening meal at one of the many world class eateries on the Island
- Kayaking around the sheltered bays and inlets is an excellent way to discover this piece of paradise
- Visit the Waiheke community arts centre for; cafe, art gallery, cinema, theatre, sculpture garden and related retailers
- See how olive oil is made at "Waiheke Wild Limited" on Australasia's first modern-day stonemill
- Charter a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft and see the entire Auckland Isthmus from the air
- If fishing is your thing then Waiheke can accommodate - charter boats operate from several locations on the Island
- With its relaxed atmosphere and slightly warmer climate than Auckland city, swimming and relaxing on Waiheke Island go hand in hand