Luxury holidays in Waiheke Island

Rugged Waiheke Island is oceans (okay, a 35-minute ferry ride) away from downtown Auckland, and perfectly placed for a laid-back escape from the city. Pack a picnic and head to one of the island’s sugary white sand beaches – our top picks are Oneroa, Palm and Onetangi – where you can soak up the sun on the shoreline, go for a dip in the jewel-toned sea or hire a kayak to glide over the crystalline waters. Prefer land to sea? Explore the island’s coastal trails, which wind along cliff tops and through patches of lush forest; stop every so often to take in the view or tuck into an ice cream cone. If that’s all sounding a bit active, you’ll also have your pick of rolling vineyards (and cellar doors) to choose from. In fact, we heartily recommend sipping your way through the island’s emerald-hued interior.

When to go

Visit in late summer (March is a good bet) for spectacular sunsets and still-warm waters. The cooler months of June through August are perfect for long coastal walks and leisurely wine tastings.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Auckland International Airport is 45 kilometres away (a two-hour drive). There’s also a small airport on the island – Waiheke Island Aerodrome – for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. There’s also a seaplane service to the island.
  • Boats

    Passenger ferries run regularly between Waiheke from downtown Auckland. You can book a spot for your car or bike on the ferry too.
  • Automobiles

    Hire a car to explore the island at your own pace.