Top Five Spots to Visit in Waiheke Island

The top five destinations you must visit on your next stop in Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

GETTING THERE: FULLERS FERRY

 As one of the key commuter hubs for Aucklanders, including the island itself, we thought Fullers Ferry would be the ideal experience to get us to our destination. We took the 7.30am sailing and watchedthe beautiful sun rising over Auckland City - the perfect view awaits you on the top deck. With a new and approved on board menu, you can enjoy your morning coffee and scone as much as you would at your local cafe. With a new summer timetable running every half-hour, look no further for your next weekend getaway. Jump on a Fullers Ferry and escape.  

1. THE OYSTER INN 

Nestled in the suburb Oneroa is one of the Islands most well-known jewels. It's no surprise “The Oyster Inn” made number one on our list. We had heard from countless friends that this was one spot on Waiheke not to miss. Sitting high on the main street of the island, with a sea view spotted with yachts, this little beach haven pleased, surprised and delighted. Of course, we had heard that the oysters are a must-have, alongside its summer sangria. But what delighted us upon walking in the door was it's 'beach chic' store. The beach shop, although nothing like your typical beach shop, is stocked with the latest Deadly Ponies and Karen Walker pieces as well as owners, Andrew's own Oyster collection. Tasselled embellished dresses, vibrant prints and cute sandals - the is one beach look that we would wear every day. The restaurant’s menu changes daily, as only the freshest seasonal product should be served. Owners Andrew and Jonathan, welcomed us with open arms into their homely abode, giving us that feeling of arriving back to your childhood bach except its interior, food and views are much better…Sorry Mum. While Samuel couldn't keep his spoon out of the indulgent Dolce de Leche sundae, our photographer's eyes were permanently fixed on the Kingfish Sashimi Tessa, well she indulged in half a dozen of Te Matuku oysters sourced from the Island itself. The wait staff were helpful, the sea breeze perfectly balanced by the overhead sun shade, and the experience - one you should not miss.

2. FLIGHT HAURAKI

Flight Hauraki is the ultimate way to experience Waiheke Island, providing you with the best views in the sky. The team at Flight Hauraki will ensure your experience is delightful, informative and filled with stunning sights of Instagram's top rated spot in New Zealand (yes, really), Whether it be a 'buzz around' Waiheke or an 'Island Explorer' to the neighbouring landscapes, you'll indulge in breathtaking views of turquoise waters, the island's expanding farmland and a bird's eye view of Waiheke's best wineries.  There is plenty to admire and take in during the flight experience. William our pilot was very kind and informative, explaining all the different coastal points, wineries and Waiheke landmarks. The plane we took was a small and cosy with brown leather seats and old-school headsets giving you the ultimate aviation experience - aviators not required but recommended. This is one experience not to miss when visiting Waiheke Island. Safe flying!

3. MUDBRICK VINEYARD & RESTAURANT

With stunning views over the Italian style grounds this vineyard has a reputation and name not only known for its delegate wine and food, but the flowers surrounding its rustic-style building.  Offering guests the chance to wine taste and take in the surroundings, you can enjoy a selection of cheeses sourced from local producers and a variety of French cheeses selected from diverse fromageries in France. To top off their famous cheese selection is Mudbrick's exclusively sourced honey made from local Waiheke beehives, a sure favourite from our Mudbrick Vineyard experience.

4. PEACOCK SKY WINERY

A 25-minute drive towards the other side of Waiheke is a family home, turned restaurant/winery “Peacock Sky”. Peacock Sky offers a full course dinner menu including secret recipes from the owner and head chef, Connie. Connie and her staff treated us to Siberian scallop jewels and an accompanying rustic salad with homemade focaccia. We must mention that each menu set has vegetarian and vegan options making it the ideal vineyard to visit and experience if you have specific dietary requirements. Tender lamb shanks on a pool of sweet potato mash is a go-to for any Kiwi bloke and Grilled Portobello mushrooms with chick peas and spicy pumpkin is one NOT to miss. This is filled with some of Connie's secret ingredients and boy do we want to find out the recipe. A highlight of Peacock Sky is The Tasting Room. Held in the original kitchen of the home, knowledgeable staff is on hand to discuss various aspects of the wines with matching food tastings. This is the only vineyard that offers complementary food matching on the island, so foodies listen up. If you are looking for a true natural paradise with stunning views and love the art of food with wine pairing, start here.

5. WAIHEKE TOWNSHIP

It's like your home away from home. This is a place that brings that kiwi summer feel. Bare feet freedom and sunshine. That's probably the best way to describe the small township of Waiheke Island. From dotted little markets to captivating gelato cafes and the beach a short walk across the road – a must to stop off when exploring the Island. Offering wonderful seaside views and open plan dining from the sidewalk, we understand why Lonely Planet rated this small town the fifth best destination to visit in the world.

Happy travelling!

WIN: You can win your own Fullers Ferry experience by emailing us here and telling us what spot you would visit over on Waiheke Island! To be into win a return pass email us at tessa@refinedby.co

Entries close Tuesday 9th February 8am.

Photography: Angela Pan | Styling: Tessa Stockdale & Samuel Levi

Alarice Stuart