Waiheke is a magical island filled with rolling vineyards, long sprawling beaches, and of course lots of tasty food! Once known as just an escape for Auckland’s wealthy, Waiheke has now become a must visit for travelers as well. It’s time to transport yourself via ferry from the city’s central business district to the laidback oasis of Waiheke Island!
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Ferry to Waiheke Island
Schedule: Ferry to Waiheke Island
Auckland: Downtown Ferry Terminal
Waiheke: Ferry Terminal
One of the reasons Waiheke Island is so popular is because it’s an extremely easy trip from Auckland! The ferry to Waiheke Island leaves almost every hour from the CBD main ferry port and takes just 40 minutes.
If you plan on bringing a vehicle you will have book the Waiheke Ferry from Half Moon Bay which has different sailing times. For the normal passenger ferry try to get a seat on the top deck. The view of the Auckland skyline is incredible to see as you leave the city!
→ Book Your Auckland to Waiheke Island Ferry Tickets
Waiheke Island Day Trip vs. Overnight
Before you actually jump on the ferry you have to decide on a day trip or spending a night (or more) on Waiheke. There are definitely Pros and Cons to each which we will breakdown below!
Day Trip Pros vs. Cons
- Pro: If you’re short on time and don’t have a night or two to spare you can easily visit the island for the day.
- Pro: By saving money on an expensive hotel your visit will be more budget friendly.
- Con: You’ll be limited to the amount of wineries you can visit in one day.
- Con: You won’t be able to explore more of Waiheke Island island, from its beaches to amazing hiking trails.
Overnight Visit Pro vs. Cons
- Pro: You’ll have more time to visit wineries which is of course what everyone comes to the island for.
- Pro: With so many things to do on Waiheke Island you’ll be able to take on some unique adventures! Check out a boat tour, hit the beach, or even try your hand at some archery.
- Con: The island is expensive. With accommodation and meals the money will definitely add up.
- Con: If you’re not a wine lover you might not find Waiheke Island as enjoyable. Unfortunately, there’s no beer island in New Zealand yet!
Getting Around Waiheke Island New Zealand
The island thrives on tourism and is set up to get everyone where they want to go. From the moment you step off the Waiheke Ferry you’ll see local buses, taxies, hop on hop off buses and even scooters for rent.
If you plan to take the bus when you arrive you will have to get a bus card in Auckland prior to getting to Waiheke. Below we breakdown how to get to all the wineries!
→ 10 Easy & Helpful Tips For Traveling in New Zealand
Waiheke Island Transportation
Taxi: Taxi’s are a fast and reliable way to quickly get around Waiheke. Short rides from the ferry port to the main town cost around $10-12 NZ, while longer rides will run you around $30 NZ.
Public Bus: There are set bus routes that run all throughout Waiheke Island. Before you can start riding the bus you’ll need to purchase a pass from the local Four Square grocery store. These buses will get you to many of the vineyards, but not all.
Hop on Hop off Bus: This tourist hop on hop off bus is a good option if you’re on a day trip to Waiheke Island. It has a set route to most of the popular wineries. However, you will have to wait for the next bus when you’re finished with your tasting.
Electric Scooter: This is one of the the best ways to see the island! Electric scooters can be rented from the Waiheke Ferry terminal and cost around 85-100 NZD per day. Obviously driving is a great option to explore Waiheke, but not so much for drinking wine all day!
Walking: Depending on where your hotel is located if you decide to spend the night you might be close to some wineries. We ended up walking between several vineyards and it was the perfect break between each tasting.
Guided Tour: If you’re looking for the ultimate fun and relaxing time on Waiheke a tour might be for you. This allows you to sample all the wine you wish while being transported between the top vineyards on the island.
Visiting the Wineries of Waiheke Island
Now that you know how to get to and around Waiheke Island, lets get to what you probably came here for… The wine! There’s over 30 vineyards on Waiheke, all with their own special features. In addition to the great Syrah’s and Pinot’s, many of the vineyards even have views of the Auckland skyline in the distance.
→ 9 Amazing Waiheke Wineries & Island Tastings Not to Miss
We loved taking a tour, but you can easily get around in other ways. A lot of the vineyards are actually very close together. This means when you get t0 the popular areas you can easily hit 2 or 3 at a time by walking between them. Below are some of our favorite wineries to visit in Waiheke New Zealand. Cheers!
- Stonyridge Vineyard
- Jurassic Ridge Winery
- Te Motu Vineyard
- Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard
- Batch Winery
Best Waiheke Island Beaches
Oneroa Beach: Set at the bottom of the main town is the beautiful long beach of Oneroa. When visiting in the summer you’ll notice it gets packed because of its very convenient location.
Blackpool Beach: This dark sandy beach is just a quick ten minute walk from Oneroa town. With its massive tides this isn’t the best swimming beach on the island, but it’s still very beautiful.
Palm Beach: This little cove beach feels like your own tropical oasis. On a sunny summer day it might feel more like the Caribbean than New Zealand!
Onetangi Beach: The largest beach on Waiheke Island and a perfect place to spend your afternoons between wineries.
Where To Stay on Waiheke Island
Ultra Luxury – Cable Bay Views – Stay overlooking the stunning Cable Bay Vineyard with sweeping views of the island and ocean. It features modern island decor which is perfect for couples and larger groups. Also, Cable Bay Views is walking distance to several vineyards.
Fun Vacation – The Oyster Inn – Set in the center of town, this fun and historic inn has everything you need for a comfortable stay. In addition to it’s great location close, the Oyster Inn also has one of the best restaurants on the island!
Cute & Comfortable – Waiheke Island Guesthouse – This tropical escape in Ostend is where to go to get away from it all. Enjoy the beautiful lawn on the property, where you’ll be just a short walk from nearby Palm Beach.
For more places to stay on Waiheke Island you can explore the latest prices here!
Have any questions about this article or taking the ferry to Waiheke Island? Please let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
New Zealand Travel Planning
Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.
Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see NZ. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.
Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise!
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North Island New Zealand
Travel Tips & Guides: North Island Itinerary – South Island Itinerary – 25 Beautiful Beaches – Wellington to Picton Ferry – 15 Freedom Camping Tips – 27 Delicious Food & Drinks
Auckland & Northland: Piha Beach & Kitekite Falls – Cape Reinga Lighthouse – Russell – Mangonui – Mount Eden – Devonport Day Trip
Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to Do – Mount Tauhara Hike – Best Street Art – Taranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk – 14 Tongariro Crossing Tips
New Plymouth: 10 Fun Things to Do – Dawson Falls – Te Rewa Rewa Bridge – Paritutu Rock Hike – Egmont National Park
Wellington: 10 Fun Things to Do – Mount Victoria Hike – Best Breweries – Cable Car & Botanical Gardens
Bay of Plenty: Tairua – Hot Water Beach – Cathedral Cove Walk – 8 Maunganui Things Not to Miss – Mount Maunganui Hike – East Cape Road Trip – How to Find Tua Tua Clams
Rotorua & Raglan: Kerosene Creek – Redwoods Treewalk – 8 Raglan Things to Do – Bridal Veil Falls
→ Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides
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