Ace Rental Cars Blog

48 Hours on Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island, just a short ferry ride from Auckland, is a haven for solo travellers seeking serenity and exploration. In two days you’ll have plenty of time to explore everything the island has to offer, from coastal delights to culinary experiences.

  • Oneroa Village
  • Vineyards
  • Walks and hikes
  • Water activities

Day 1: Morning - Afternoon

  • Cafe Fenice
  • Oneroa Village
  • Waiheke Community Art Gallery

To get your Waiheke adventure started, you’ll need to pick up your Ace rental car and grab a spot on the vehicle ferry from either Half Moon Bay or Auckland City. Once onboard, enjoy the cool ocean breeze and calm waves as you admire the stunning scenery of Hauraki Gulf. Gaze out to Waiheke as your ferry approaches the island, envisioning your next two days and all the adventure that’s yet to come. Once you’ve arrived on Waiheke, pick up your rental vehicle and treat your tastebuds to a delicious breakfast at a local cafe, like Cafe Fenice. Fuel up for the day ahead with homemade granola or a toasted croissant before driving to Oneroa, the island's main village. Stroll around the town, absorbing the sights, sounds and scenes of your holiday destination, perhaps taking a moment to journal and take some photos of the scenery. Check out stores like the Shambhala Sacred Shop and Greatest Friend for vintage finds and eclectic wares, admire local works at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery and grab a coffee or ice cream as you bask in the village’s ambience.

Day 1: Afternoon - Evening

  • Mudbrick Vineyard
  • Cable Bay Vineyards
  • Onetangi Beach
  • Palm Beach

Waiheke Island is famous for its wineries, so if you’re a wine-lover or just want to learn more about the region’s farming and agriculture, spend the afternoon at one or two of Waiheke’s famous vineyards. Mudbrick is a popular choice, with tasting sessions, a relaxed bistro and an elegant restaurant available at the picturesque setting overlooking rolling hills and Huruhi Bay. Established in 1992, Mudbrick is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay varietals, with each tasting highlighting different wines. Cable Bay Vineyards is another winery nearby, with five different tours and tastings on offer. The Swift River and Glistening Waters tastings include wines from the Awatere Valley and Waiheke Island, while the vineyard and connoisseur tastings include a tour of the grounds, showcasing the beautiful scenery and outlining the production process. Enjoy lunch at one of the wineries and remember to appoint a designated driver when indulging in alcohol on your road trip. Drive to one of Waiheke's beautiful beaches, like Onetangi Beach or Palm Beach, and spend the rest of your evening relaxing by the water.

Day 2: Morning - Afternoon

  • Northern Walk
  • Southern Walk
  • Waiheke Island Short Loop
  • The Local

Start your day with a hike or nature walk to make the most of your time on the island. Breathe in the fresh air and discover Waiheke’s scenic bliss. There are over 40 walks and trails to choose from on the island, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes. The Northern Walk is one of the most popular, taking you from Matiatia through the forest, past the coast to Owhanake, and finishing in Oneroa, while the Southern Walk also begins in Matiatia and ends in Oneroa, but takes you south past Church Bay. If you’re after something shorter, the Waiheke Island Loop is a 5.6km path that gives you stunning ocean views amongst tranquil surroundings, which you’ll want to bring your camera for! After working up a sweat and basking in Waiheke’s natural treasures, stop by The Local for a relaxed lunch. An award-winning seafood restaurant and bar, The Local is the perfect spot to kick your feet up and soak in views across Oneroa Bay before heading back out for the afternoon.

Day 2: Afternoon - Evening

  • Guided Sea Kayaking/SUP Hire
  • EcoZip Adventures
  • Toi Gallery & Space Gallery
  • The Oyster Inn & Casita Miro

Next up, choose to continue your outdoor exploration with adventure activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or zip-lining. Kayak Waiheke offers guided sea kayaking tours around the island and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) hire, while EcoZip Adventures offers an exhilarating zipline experience with stunning views of the island. For a change of pace, explore Waiheke’s art scene by visiting some of the island’s art galleries and studios. Toi Gallery is an artist-owned gallery, showcasing works of local artists Chris Bailey and Sally Smith, and Space Contemporary Art Gallery is a fine art gallery displaying works of eight artists local to Waiheke. Take some time to admire the artworks, learn about their meanings and perhaps bring home a piece for yourself. Head back to Oneroa or another village for dinner. Choose a restaurant with a view to catch the sunset while enjoying a delicious meal. The Oyster Inn offers dishes using freshly caught seafood, while Casita Miro serves up authentic Spanish cuisine. To end your stay on Waiheke, drive to a secluded spot away from the lights and spend some time stargazing. The Island's clear skies provide an excellent opportunity for stargazing on a clear night.

As your time on Waiheke Island draws to a close, cherish the memories of breathtaking landscapes, culinary delights, and cultural encounters. Whether stargazing under the island's clear skies or reflecting on the journey at dawn, Waiheke guarantees memories to hold onto long after the adventure ends.

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