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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.
Once arriving at the pretty port of Half Moon Bay, you’ll be tempted to ditch your plans of heading into Auckland city centre and just stroll around the prepossessing boardwalk that lines the docks. The pathways surrounding the terminal slope around the collection of small boats and ferry staff, punctuated by the occasional café or ice cream parlour.
The views from the marina of the neighbouring islands that comprise Hauraki Gulf are equally as picturesque as the harbour itself – the glorious vistas and postcard picture scenery explains why so many of New Zealand’s wealthy residents live in the region.
Once arriving at Half Moon Bay port, you’ll find plenty of signs pointing you in the direction of where you need to go; the CBD of Auckland is only a 12 minute drive by car, and for those who boarded on foot, an array of taxis will be available at a reasonable price.