• About Waiheke

    About
    Waiheke

Set just 17km offshore from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island was described by Lonely Planet as ‘the playground of the Gods’ and the New York Times deemed it one of the places ‘you absolutely must-see’.  Trip Advisor called included it in the list of the world’s best islands (it made 5th place, which isn’t bad when you consider the competition) and recently Conde Nast Traveller Magazine included the island in the 2021 Gold List, describing it as ‘the stuff we daydreamed of in lockdown’.

 

Once a sleepy outpost of Auckland, today Waiheke is an eclectic mix of artists and free-spirits who mingle with the island’s rich and famous residents. Covering 93m2, the island boasts over 40km of sheltered, golden-sand beaches. While only a 35-minute cruise from Auckland, visitors comment on the sense of island time that sets in quickly after stepping off the ferry. That sense of being a million-miles away from the hustle and bustle of the real world intensifies as you discover that this is a haven of uncrowded beaches, gastronomical treasures and boutique vineyards. Many of New Zealand’s most highly awarded restaurants and vineyards are set on Waiheke, leading one commentator to describe the island as ‘having an embarrassment of riches’.   Aside from food and wine, the island has 100-plus kilometres of easy walking tracks plus dozens of art galleries and craft stores that combine to form the Waiheke Arts Trail.  It’s a place that easily lends itself to lazy relaxing days, punctuated by the consumption of great food and even greater wine.

Waiheke Wine

New Zealand, we’re told, accounts for just one percent of global wine production.   Waiheke, with about 220ha of plantings, accounts for just one percent of New Zealand’s production, yet its vineyards conspire to punch well above their diminutive weight. The island is renown as a region that produces critically-acclaimed artisan wines. Reds are predominant, with Merlot (19%) and Syrah 18%) the most common varietals, though many vineyards have recently begun planting white varieties, like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, with much success.

Waiheke’s vineyards, and the restaurants frequently attached to them, are notoriously informal; there’s no need for pretence, the food and the wine does the talking.  We recommend allowing half a day for lunch plus tastings at one or two vineyards.  Check out the Waiheke Wine Growers Association for more information on the island’s vineyards.

There are myriad easy ways to navigate the island’s many vineyards, including formal guides tours and an informal hop-on hop-service that allows you to create your own itinerary.

Getting to Waiheke

The island is linked to the outside world primarily by the Fullers 360 passenger ferry, which departs from downtown Auckland as frequently as every 30-minutes in summer. There is also the hourly Sealink car ferry, which offers both downtown and east Auckland departures.

Auckland Seaplanes offers a unique way to get to the island, with both amphibious and wheeled aircraft – the latter land right next to EcoZip’s base.  Heletranz, Inflight Aviation, Helicopter Me and others offer heli services to the island (EcoZip has a helipad, if you want to start or end your tour in style).

Getting Around Waiheke

For guests visiting EcoZip, transport between the ferry terminal and our base is included.  If you’re visiting independently, there is a frequent bus service which links much of the island.  Alternatively, the hop-on, hop-off wine tour service offered by Fullers 360 is a great way to see the island.

Tour operators like Ananda Tours, Waiheke Wine Tours, Enjoi Waiheke and others, also offer comprehensive day and half-day tours.  Bike hire is available from Waiheke e-Bikes, plus there are options to rent cars and mopeds.  There are many taxi companies servicing the island and we recommend Easy Transport and Wai Cabs.  We strongly recommend ascertaining the likely price of your taxi journey before confirming your booking. Check out our recent news post for more on the island’s transport options.

Waiheke Dining

There is no shortage of superb breakfast, lunch and dinner venues on the island that cater to all tastes and budgets.   Restaurants come in and out of vogue so we recommend checking out review sites, like Trip Advisor and Zomato.com for the latest feedback.

Perennial favourites of ours include:

  • Mediterranean-inspired Casita Miro – the food and wine paring is a must.
  • Onetangi beachside 372 – their flounder just made the list of Auckland 50 best dishes
  • Dragonfired – wood-fired pizza truck set right on Little Oneroa beach. The calzone is incredible!
  • Archive Bar at Mudbrick – informal dining in a beautiful atmosphere with incredible views
  • Fenice in Oneroa – great Italian-inspired food and pizza at the heart of the island’s bustling cultural centre.
  • The Veranda Café at Stonyridge Vineyard – consistently good food beneath a canopy of vines.
  • The Local in Oneroa – inexpensive fish and chips, or burgers, with bonus of one of the island’s best views (and they have a liquor licence).

There’s simply too much to see, do, eat, drink or experience for us to list it all here. Tourism Waiheke is a great place to learn more about the island and to check out what’s on.

  • Wow, that's an amazing day full of discovery and incredible native bush. Loved the zipline! You guys rock.

    Mike McVey Gisborne, NZ

  • We had not been on a zip wire before this trip. EcoZip staff were very welcoming and very professional. We were well prepared for the zip wires and our guides did a great job making sure we were all set before each run. The walk back to the centre with some information about the local flora and fauna was a great addition. We would thoroughly recommend EcoZip.

    David Clarke Tutukaka, NZ

  • This was a terrific experience, I screamed all the way down all three zip lines. Would definitely recommend it. Brilliant, thank you.

    K Gibbons Manly, Australia

  • We had the best time ever! The instructors were very friendly and made sure that we were all safe. The zip lines all had spectacular views. Overall it was amazing!!

    Grace E Paihia, NZ

  • Great staff, fun, also enjoyed the short bush walk back up the hill afterwards. Good emphasis on safety.

    whattosay Wanaka, NZ

FOLLOW US

We’re back from Friday 3rd December - and we’re double vaxxed!  We’re looking forward to welcoming you back to our little slice of island paradise
And another award, on top of the earlier 100% Pure NZ!
Managed to grab a shot of all but one of the team following a recent day dedicated to helping some local charities. Wonder if we can get one of everyone before the end of 2021!
After a year of closed borders and cancelled business events up and down the country, it was brilliant to host Aussie and Kiwi buyers in town for the Meetings 2021 trade show #meetings2021
So what do you do when you work on an island that’s described as ‘paradise’ and you want to take the whole EcoZip team away for a well deserved break? You head to Rotovegas!
How cool is this! The next generation of ‘tree huggers’ - and a pretty epic birthday party at EcoZip!
We did another photo shoot on Sunday, prepping for new website. Here’s a behind the scenes shot of our brilliant volunteer talent
Our key account manager Jenna has been busy today, working with Auckland Unlimited, Tourism NZ, Fullers 360 and Stonyridge Vineyard, delivering live webinars to travel agents in Korea and Singapore. This might be the first time anyone has worn zipline gear right outside Stonyridge’s restaurant!
Sometimes you wait weeks for the right weather for a photo shoot. But when Waiheke turns on one of ‘those’ days it’s hard to find anything to fault

#waiheke island
top