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Key Info

Waiheke Island

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Natural Wonders, Free, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Whether you're a foodie, a thrill-seeker or a beach bum, odds are you'll love exploring Waiheke Island. Found within the Hauraki Gulf near Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary, Waiheke Island features several vineyards and olive groves, multiple white sand beaches and a variety of shops and restaurants. For adventure junkies, book a zip lining excursion with EcoZip Adventures.

Visitors agree that Waiheke Island is one of the best wine areas in the region. Several recommend wine-tasting tours with local operators Waiheke Island Wine Tours and Ananda Tours, which start at 120 New Zealand dollars (roughly $86) per person and cover tastings at three vineyards. Ananda Tours also offers specialty tours, such as ones with stops at an olive oil grove or a local brewery.

The only way to get to Waiheke Island is by ferry. Fullers ferry rides last about 40 minutes and depart from the Downtown Ferry Terminal. Round-trip ferry tickets cost NZ$38 (around $27) for adults and NZ$20 (approximately $14.50) for kids ages 5 to 15. On weekdays, ferries operate between 5:30 and 12:30 a.m., with reduced hours on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Once on the island, visitors can hire a car or buy a bus pass. Day passes cost between NZ$6 (about $4) and NZ$10 (around $7) per person, depending on age. A family bus pass, which includes all day rides for two adults and two children, is also available for NZ$26 (about $19). Combined ferry and bus tickets can be purchased as well. For more information about Waiheke Island's shops, restaurants, beaches and vineyards, visit Tourism Waiheke's website.

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#1 Rangitoto Island

Situated just off the coast of central Auckland across from Devonport is Rangitoto Island, a volcanic island known for its superb hiking trails and panoramic views. Multiple trails are available for island exploration, including the popular Summit Track, which takes hikers through lava fields and the world's largest pohutukawa forest to the island's summit.

Prepare for stunning vistas and a steep, yet doable hike when visiting Rangitoto Island. If you're not keen on hiking, travelers recommend opting for Fullers' Volcanic Explorer Tour, which includes round-trip ferry transfers to and from downtown Auckland and a four-wheel drive road train tour of the island.

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