You’ll take a short journey, by commuter ferry, across typically friendly sea, the Hauraki Gulf on Auckland city’s eastern shores, to arrive in a delightful island paradise. The vibe is immediately different to the one on the shores of the city where you first boarded. Slow down. You’re here.
Waiheke Island is the third most populous island in New Zealand, after the North and the South Islands. There’s a permanent population, and many holiday homes. The island plays host to increasing visitors, it has been recognised and revered by many international travel publications.
But in spite of becoming relatively well known on the tourist path, its drawcards - its own Mediterranean like microclimate (yes, your sense of a temperature lift, from where you left just a short way over the water, is quite real), delicious local foods, local vineyards, amazing beaches, special arts and crafts - compel you to go.
Up the hill
And there you are, just off the ferry at Matiatia, about to head up the hill, to the main village on the island, Oneroa.
It’s a true village vibe, in this place, Waiheke’s capital city. And it’s very appealing in its urbanity. Galleries, arts and crafts, wine, stunning views, eateries and food stores, gift and design stores, all await. Plenty to look at, and plenty to eat in or pick up for a picnic and a walk at the golden sand beach just below.
A bit more about that beach
One - beach, sand. Roa - a long time. We haven’t landed exactly how Oneroa got its name, but you will agree that you might want to spend a long time at this lovely beach. There’s Little Oneroa too, just a little way further along, a smaller secluded beach, with a children’s playground too, for the young or young at heart.
Sitting in the sunshine in this golden bay, there’s a moment for Waiheke’s story...
Waiheke - cascading waters - the island adopted the Māori name given to a local stream. It’s a place of very long-standing Māori history, and a famous warrior left his mark in a significant battle just a little further east at Onetangi beach (aptly translated, weeping sands). And perhaps, as you enjoy that glorious micro climate, the island’s original name, Te Motu Ārai Roa - the long sheltered island - feels quite perfect... just the ticket, spot on, as we might say.
And more good things to do
There’s more of Waiheke’s very good things nearby too. Many well-known walking tracks for walks short or long in the Matiatia / Oneroa vicinity. And wineries too, and vines. Not too mention some excellent eateries. And it’s an artistic community, so there’s plenty of creativity on show. You’re spoilt for choice here, really.
To the makeshift kitchen
There’s much excellent local food grown, raised and made on this special island. So, for a taste of Waiheke back at home base after venturing Oneroa, check out our Waiheke local platter idea here.
Your road trip companion….
To find more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and food producers, and our collection of other spot on New Zealand moments, including what’s good to know on where we headed to on our day on Waiheke Island visiting Oneroa and other special spots nearby - our Oneroa and more trail - you’ll find The FoodPath NZ guide (for mobile) here.