Sitting just off the coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island has an indefinable pull on day-tripping tourists, bach ( beach house ) owning kiwi's and locals who have left the bustle of Auckland behind and escaped to one of the many beaches that loop around Waiheke. There is also a lot more to the island than beaches and sun, Waiheke is home to some of New Zealand's best vineyards, restaurants and hiking.
These are Dunlin's not to miss spots in Waiheke.
Sunset over the sea between Mudbrick and Auckland
The drive out to Mudbrick as spectacular as it is matched by the wonderful scene at the vineyard itself. We arrived mid-afternoon, just as the sun was beginning to set over the islands to the west and spent a long afternoon by the fireplace, enjoying chef Matthias Schmitt's tasting menu and a Mudbrick Méthode Traditionelle bursting with ripe peach and fruit flavors.
Man O'War vineyard
Hugging the eastern edge of Waiheke is the gorgeous Man O'War vineyard. The church and tasting room on the shore are wonderful in themselves, but its the drive out along Man O'war Bay Road that is truly magical. We stopped numerous times to take photos of the lush, green hills falling into the grey sea. Numerous locals told us to pack a picnic and to find a place nestled along the farm roads for a long lunch or to enjoy the large plates and wine served at the cellar door.
Beautiful Palm beach on the northern edge of the island is anchored between two headlands by graceful Phenonix Palms, which lend their name to this gorgeous stretch of coastline. Serene and untouched, this was one of our favorite beaches.
Looking out towards Man O'War
The Headland sculpture walk
This incredible walk high above the sea and moored boats below is a must. A single track weaves between stands of trees and ferns, providing ever-changing views back to the mainland.