Home' Waiheke Weekender : 13 December 2012 Contents 13 December 2012
28 Waiheke Weekender
Surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke is
both island community and holiday resort. Only 35 minutes by ferry
from downtown Auckland, its natural attractions include stunning
white sand beaches, rocky coastlines, estuaries rich in birdlife and
Warm, dry summers please visitors and vintners alike, creating
a flourishing tourism industry and making the island one of New
Zealand’s premier wine-producing regions. Olives also thrive in our
Mediterranean-style climate and Waiheke’s extra virgin olive oils
have gained a reputation for excellence.
For those arriving at Matiatia looking for adventure, renting
a bike, car, kayak or chartering a yacht offer a challenging way
to explore island life and some of its 133km of sandy coves and
Once the source of
kauri spars for sailing
vessels and later for
firewood, timber and
shingle for the grow-
ing town of Auckland,
the island had its own
thriving social life in the 19th and early 20th centuries as the farms
of its south coasts sat on steamer routes from Auckland, Thames and
the Coromandel. Weekend daytrippers from Auckland would arrive
to the many island wharves throughout the summers aboard vessels
including the Duchess and the 2000-passenger Muritai.
Wool and dairy products were major island exports of the day.
More perishable items and passengers were rowed out to meet the
passing coastal ships and livestock and supplies were still being
transported around the gulf as late as the 1960s aboard the last
of the kauri trading scows, including the legendary skipper Jock
McKinnon’s Rahiri which is now a hulk on Te Huruhi beach.
Waiheke’s natural charms and growing amenities are attracting
an increasing number of residents, currently estimated at 8000.
From luxury holiday homes to traditional Kiwi baches, summer
holidays on Waiheke offer visitors something special.
Annual summer events include the Onetangi Beach Races, which
date back to the 1890s and are traditionally run in late summer
along the beautiful white sands of Onetangi Beach, and the biennial
site contains large areas of the prime native bush which covered
the island before the advent of logging and farming in the 1900s.
Small waterfalls, pa sites and birdlife, including rare New Zealand
dotterels, make a trip to the area a must for those hoping to escape the
summer crowds. At the entrance to the park is also the island’s only
campground, administered by Auckland Council.
The Waiheke Forest and Bird manage a large reserve at Onetangi
featuring mature pohutukawa, taraire, nikau palms, groves of kauri
and grand viewing points. The island also has an extensive network
of walking and cycling tracks, with comprehensive information on
these available at the information office in Oneroa.
Exploring the arts
Waiheke also boasts a thriving arts community. Waiheke Community
Art Gallery and TOI Gallery in
Oneroa have a continuous range
of exhibitions, predominantly
featuring local artists, and small-
er artist’s galleries and studios
are scattered around the island.
Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea,
headland Sculpture on the Gulf
will take place from 25 January to 17 February 2013, with 30 New
Zealand and overseas artists displaying large scale sculptures in care-
fully chosen sites on the Matiatia headland.
Driving the loop
At the island’s eastern end are the famous Stony Batter tunnels,
built during World War II to protect the Waitemata Harbour from
the threat of Japanese invasion. The complex comprises three gun
emplacements and a network of tunnels and magazine storage rooms
and visitors will also enjoy dramatic, sweeping views up the east
coast of Auckland, out to Little and Great Barrier Islands and toward
Coromandel. The area got its name from the unusual andecite rock
formations deposited as a result of volcanic activity more than 8
million years ago. Entry to the tunnels is by cash only.
Buses meet all the Matiatia ferries and ply two main routes, to Rocky
Bay via Oneroa, Little Oneroa, Palm Beach and Ostend or Onetangi
via Oneroa, Blackpool, Surfdale and Ostend. The visitor information
office is situated in central Oneroa and has all the information you
will need on taxis, tours, walkways and more.
The island’s transfer station for rubbish and recycling is located on
the main road to Onetangi and is open from 8am to 4pm daily except
some public holidays. Visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/
services/rubbish for more information.
Waiheke has a long tradition of caring for the environment, so
please continue this by separating rubbish from recyclables and
disposing of rubbish in a responsible way.
Whakanewha Regional Park – Waiting to be
Summer’s more fun on Waiheke
Sculpture on the Gulf outdoor sculpture exhibition. Throughout the
year there are also olive, music, food, wine and walking festivals.
And of course there are the myriad of excellent restaurants, vine-
yards, cafés and shops, all in the magical and unforgettable setting of
the Hauraki Gulf islands.
Vine and dine
Many of the island’s vineyards have award-winning restaurants set
amongst the beauty of the vines. Vines were planted in the 1980s by
three main producers – Goldwater, Stonyridge and Peninsula Estate
and Waiheke has since gone on to produce some of the world’s
It now has more than 30 boutique vineyards boasting an ever-
increasing list of accolades, and most of the vineyards also offer
cellar door sales and tastings.
Oneroa is the largest shopping centre on the island, overlooking
beautiful Oneroa Bay, a popular anchorage with summer boaties.
Local crafts and boutique shops sit side by side with plenty of great
cafés for weary shoppers.
Most of the island’s northern beach-
es enjoy soft white sand and cool,
clear water. Oneroa, Palm Beach and
Onetangi are the largest, but a number
of smaller beaches in between also offer
safe and sheltered swimming and snor-
kelling, so it’s worth going exploring.Oneroa, Little Oneroa, Palm
Beach and Onetangi all boast good playground and barbecue facili-
Southern beaches are generally more tidal, though are often quiet-
er than their northern counterparts. Surfdale and Anzac Bay are popu-
lar with kitesurfers when there is a good breeze blowing.
Getting back to nature
Over 300 hectares of native bush and coastline north of Rocky Bay
form the Whakanewha Regional Park. A walker ’s paradise, the
MAN O’WAR BAY
Man O’War Bay Road
Some of New Zealand’s best
food and wine, stunning
scenery and friendly people.
Distance from Auckland: 19 kilometres (12
miles). Area: 9324 hectares (36 square miles).
Coastline: 96 kilometres or 60 miles.
Permanent population 8000.
OPEN 7 DAYS 10AM–4PM
2 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1081 (09) 372 9907
Drawing and Painting
Plein Air to Studio with Clive Humphreys
The Art of Writing: Ten fiction workshops with Caroline Lark
Plus Art Appreciation and Headland Guide Training
5 two hour workshops with Alison Roberton
For the workshop programmes please visit
www.waihekeartgallery.org.nz or register with the gallery on 3729907.
7 – 11 January 2013
THE WAIHEKE SUMMER SCHOOL
Hosted by Waiheke Community Art Gallery in conjunction with Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic.
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