Spend lazy long days on pristine beaches, take a dip in the sheltered waters and discover fantastic local art on this stunning island retreat. Around a half hour ferry ride from the city centre, the “island of wine” is teeming with wineries, vineyards, olive groves and restaurants with award-winning food and views to match. A wine tasting tour on Waiheke Island
is a must!
Great Barrier Island
A place of rugged beauty, untouched wilderness and beautiful beaches, Great Barrier Island
is a trip back in time and a holiday like none other. The island offers a wide range of walking and tramping opportunities; from the multi-day Aotea Track that loops Great Barrier’s central mountainous area to short day walks. An easy hour’s walk from the road, the Kaitoke Hot Springs are truly a hidden gem; feel your stress ebb away as you soak in the natural hot pools, surrounded by native bush while listening to the chirping of birds.
Great Barrier Island is also renowned for its spectacular surf beaches, including Medlands Beach, and boogie boarding. Other popular water activities include fishing, kayaking, diving and snorkelling.
A popular day trip, Auckland’s youngest volcano - Rangitoto
- is also its most iconic landmark. Walk the one-hour Summit Track for spectacular 360-degree views of the gulf. Guided tours on a 4WD road train are also available. Take a torch and explore the lava tunnels and caves on the island. Then head across the causeway to the neighbouring Motutapu Island to explore reminders of World War II. The two islands are connected to the mainland via ferry, or you can kayak across the gulf.
An open sanctuary, Tiritiri Matangi
is one of the most successful conservation projects in the world. Visit this island paradise to view rare and endangered birds and wildlife (ideal for families with young children), fishing, diving, snorkelling and kayaking. On your first visit to the island, a guided walk is recommended.
, off Waiheke Island’s east coast, was off-limits to the public for more than a century as New Zealand’s first and longest running alcohol and drug addiction treatment centre. Now open to public, visitors can explore its heritage buildings, beautiful sandy beaches and walking trails.
Written with inputs from Tourism Auckland (www.aucklandnz.com) and Department of Conservation (www.doc.govt.nz).