We took advantage of Monday being a bank holiday in NZ and took our first trip out of the city to Waiheke island.
Somehow we managed to make the 9am ferry from Auckland and headed across the bay to experience our first slice of island beauty that NZ is famous for.
On arrival at Matiatia bay on Waiheke, we followed a scenic woodland track for 20 mins to the nearest town, Oneroa. This is a charming strip of independent shops and cafés along the beach. We had a wander around and popped into the tourist info to find the bus stop to our main stop of the day, Wild on Waiheke. After reading positive reviews of this activity centre on Tripadvisor, I booked us in for archery & clay bird shooting, followed by lunch.
We were a little early, so we sat in the sun and took in the view of adults wine tasting and playing boules & giant chess and children attempting to play volleyball! We were then taken by instructor Kelly for our activities, which were such fun (!) Starting with archery; we shot arrows amongst the grape vines, Rob effectively channeled his inner Robin Hood and, when aiming to pop a balloon, I managed to shoot my arrow to rest on top of it.
We were shooting with another couple and we all achieved respectable scores, with the men doing particularly well. However, during the clay bird shooting, we took it back for the women! We were using real shotguns that had been fitted with lasers and shot at flying disks overhead. It was made quite tricky by the breeze and took a few rounds for any of us to score. After half an hour’s shooting the girls proved a better aim, but our scores weren’t good enough to catch up after the archery and Rob won overall with a handsome score of 155.
We worked up quite an appetite and were clamming to try some of the locally produced food. For lunch we had burgers and tried the Waiheke cider. They also had beers and wine tasting on offer, there was to much to choose from! My burger was delicious, with chicken from the grill, brie and apricot chutney.
To walk it off, we to a stroll to Onetangi – the biggest beach on the island and had an afternoon doze.
Waiheke felt to have a very strong community, of artists, surfers and those retiring to a slice of paradise. When we were planning our trip, there were so many options for activities and ways to get around the island. It is known for its vineyards, which we barely saw and you can hire a car, bike or even an electric tandem. However, I agree with advice that we were given that for a first day trip, Oneroa and Onetangi are good places to start, and we enjoy exploring places on foot where possible.
After an hour or so on the beach, we took the bus back to our first stop at Oneroa for a coffee with a view over the bay. We walked back to the ferry and made the 5pm it by a whisper for a very blowy return crossing to Auckland.
I left Waiheke island with sunburnt ears & hair parting and a desire to return for a weekend of wine tasting.
Hopefully we’ll be back!
- We took a Fullers ferry, which runs on the hour, takes 45 mins and costs $35.50pp for a return ticket. There’s a 10% off coupon in the Auckland A-Z. They also offer good looking tours on the island.
- Fullers also offer a day bus pass for $9, 4 routes cover much of the island but not all of the vineyards. Pick up a timetable, as they’re not very regular.
- Wild On Waiheke offer archery and clay bird shooting for $25 for 30 mins or the combined hour we did cost $45.
- Most activities and cafés seemed to close at 4pm.