Waiheke Island

This month I have done well with having weeks off work, thanks to a day in lieu and to pure luck. Saturday marked the inaugural service of American Airlines into Auckland. It was horrible weather most of the day, but if you’re interested in those photos please visit my Facebook page. On Sunday the weather was a little better, but still plenty of rain across Auckland. We had planned to go out to Rangitoto Island and go for a walk. On Rangitoto there isn’t much shelter from the rain or cold wind, so we changed our mind and went to Waiheke Island instead. 

I’ve been to Waiheke Island a few times, a friend of the family had a house out there and let us use it for a week or so over summer. I remember going swimming at Palm Beach and seeing fish in the sea. My wife had never been to Waiheke Island, so we decided to go on a tour to see what sort of thing was around. The tour starts with the ferry trip out to the island, this took about 40 minutes. It was windy with some rain showers, but the views of the Hauraki Gulf islands were still nice. Once at the island we met the bus driver, a German named Horst. 

The bus tour makes it way from Matiatia Bay up through Oneroa, past some vineyards ,to the hills overlooking Palm Beach. When I stayed out here as a kid there was nothing fancy, but today the hills are dotted with million dollar and multi-million dollar homes.

From Palm Beach the tour winds back through to the souther side of the island to Kennedy Point where the car ferry arrives at the island. There are nice views on either side of bays on either side of the peninsula, and of course some more vineyards. For those who haven’t been before, there aren’t many straight bits of road, and there aren’t many flat bits of road.

The tour stops at Onetangi Beach. This is a reasonably sized settlement, and a long white sand beach. Onetangi is approximately the mid point of the northern shoreline. There is a whole other half of the island farther east, but it is not as developed as the western half.

The tour guide talked about the average house prices on Waiheke Island. There are many very expensive properties, and for the millions you spend you get very little. I can only assume people pay such large sums for a peaceful lifestyle. This is of course the opposite end of the property market, as seen below with house boats sitting in the bay.

Oneroa is the busiest settlement, with a few shops along the road. Many of these are boutique shops, mixed in with some banks and restaurants.

From the shops at Oneroa there is a short but steep walk down to the beach. When the rain showers ease off there are nice views out towards Great Barrier Island - that’s an adventure for another day.

We walked back to the ferry from Oneroa, it’s about 20 minutes and mostly downhill. Travelling back to Auckland there was more wind and rain, but also some most nice harbour views. Below is a rainbow stretching across Browns Island and Kohimarama Beach, with the Bean Rocks Lighthouse underneath.