Home' Waiheke Weekender : 4 January 2013 Contents 4 January 2013
12 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 growing 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
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 live-
stock 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
Waiheke’s natural charms and growing ameni-
ties are attracting an increasing number of residents,
currently estimated at 8000.
Whether it’s at a luxury holiday home or a tradi-
tional Kiwi bach, 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 Sculpture on the Gulf outdoor sculpture exhibition.
Throughout the year there are also olive, music, food, wine and
And of course there are
the myriad of excellent
restaurants, vineyards, cafés
and shops, all in the magical
setting of the Hauraki Gulf
Vine and dine
Many of the island’s vine-
yards have award-winning
restaurants set amongst the
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 i-Site 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 smaller artist’s
galleries and studios are scattered around the island.
Originally inspired by Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea, head-
land 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 carefully chosen sites on the
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 eight
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.
Waiheke’s northern beaches are a string of
magic swimming spots, some of them miles
long, others, like Enclosure Bay, left, are
children-friendly coves with safe snorkel-
ling, fishing and kayaking.
Above - paddle-boarding is a top new
Summer’s more fun on Waiheke
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 top wines.
It now has more than 30 boutique vineyards boast-
ing an ever-increasing list of accolades, and most
of the vineyards also offer cellar door sales and
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 beaches 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 snorkelling, so it’s worth going
exploring. Oneroa, Little Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi all boast
good playground and barbecue facilities.
Southern beaches are generally more
tidal, though are often quieter than their
northern counterparts. Surfdale and
Anzac Bay are popular 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 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,
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.
p: 372 9491 m: 021 840208
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