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Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

The idyllic Waiheke Island is only a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland's waterfront, but feels world's away, with its sandy beaches, green pastures and hilltop wineries where it's easy to while away an afternoon. The ferry arrives in Matiatia Wharf on the western coast, about a five-minute drive from the main village of Oneroa. Waiheke is just 35 square miles — for comparison: Shelter Island is only slightly smaller at 27 square miles — but it's hilly, so make use of the excellent bus network or be prepared for a challenging bike ride.

Oneroa is a cute little village, with some nice shops and restaurants (a favorite is the Oyster Inn), as well as two good beaches: Oneroa and Little Oneroa. Waiheke is famous for a few terrific wineries, including Mudbrick (home to a supremely romantic restaurant), Man 'O War and Cable Bay. There are also some stunning hikes all across the island: a great one is the Southern Walk, which snakes from Oneroa to Cable Bay winery, then past a massive sheep paddock and along the coast all the way back down to Matiatia Wharf.

A perfect Waiheke day would be to arrive early, spend some time at the beach, have a nice meal in Oneroa, take a long hike with coastal views, and end at a winery like Cable Bay or Mudbrick, with sweeping views across the island and toward Auckland. In-the-known visitors book a night or two at the Boatshed, a tiny luxury lodge that feels like the perfect mash-up of Martha's Vineyard and Montauk.

Written by Simone Girner

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