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Waiheke is the second largest and most populated island within the Hauraki Gulf of Auckland, New Zealand. Lying just 17 kilometres from the nation’s largest city, there are numerous ferry routes provided every day to Auckland Harbour, Devonport and Half Moon Bay, with some lasting just 40 minutes.
‘The Island of Wine’ is home to a dozen top-quality vineyards, allowing visitors to gaze over the golden beaches while sampling the local produce; arguably its biggest lure. Active pursuits take the form of meandering hiking trails through lush forests, diving into the fresh Hauraki Gulf, or kayaking across the glistening waters.
The wonderful Waiheke weather makes it a fine choice all year-round, too, with Lonely Planet placing it fifth in ‘Best Regions to Visit in 2016’. Finally, in terms of accommodation, you can choose from secluded beach houses or backpacker hostels, depending on your budget.
Auckland is the unofficial capital of New Zealand; Wellington may hold the political prowess, but Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, laying home to just over a third of the entire country’s population, and its prime location makes it a transportation dream.
The city has the buzzing vibe of a bustling metropolis married with the charm and charisma of a seaside resort – it’s possible to browse some boutique stores whilst admiring the enigmatic ocean. Hauraki Gulf and its glorious plethora of islands is the highlight of the stunning landscape, its undulating hills and verdant foliage are the perfect place to spend a few hours basking in the blissful utopia.
The entire city is drenched in natural beauty, but when surrounded by dense rainforests, stunning thermal springs and a collection of wildlife reserves, it would be a shame to stay in the refines of Auckland’s city centre.
The CBD is a world in its own, hosting a collection of quaint coffee shops, grandiose restaurants and cool art galleries. Luckily it is very easy to reach to navigate around - an efficient bus service will take you from the ferry terminal to the centre - there are also good road links if you're travelling by car. Once in the centre, you can hop on a direct train to Wellington if you wish to continue your Kiwi adventure.