Tennis legend Serena Williams welcomed in the New Year with a trip to Waiheke Island, describing the destination as "gorgeous" and "just so beautiful".

Williams is in Auckland to compete at the ASB Classic tennis tournament but took some time out of her training schedule to explore the region's stunning natural playground on New Year's Eve.

Williams helicoptered to Waiheke Island to explore a private beach.

"Waiheke is just so beautiful. To have a gorgeous island like this so close to the city is special," she said.


Williams arrived in Auckland on Friday and has had a chance to look around the city, encouraging her fans to do the same if they are travelling here.

"The scenery is beautiful, but there is also a great city vibe," she said.

"The food has been so awesome, and I hear the shopping is really good too."

"I love exploring new places and New Zealand has always been somewhere I have wanted to visit.

"To be the first one to welcome in a New Year is very special."

Danish tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki also celebrated New Year's in style in the City of Sails.

She posted a short video to social media, ditching the tennis dress and trainers for a form-fitting short dress and heels, to wish her followers a "happy and healthy New Year".

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year from Auckland! Excited to see what 2017 has in store 😊

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

Czech player Lucie Safarova posted a photograph of herself on Bowen Ave in the city, with the Skytower in the background.

"Hello Auckland! One of my favourite cities! Ready to start the 2017 season," she said.

Auckland is playing host to some of the sport's biggest names with Venus Williams also returning to compete in the first event on the global tennis calendar before the sporting siblings head off to the Australian Open.

The announcement of Serena Williams competing in Auckland led to tickets selling out for both women's sessions, the first time in the tournament's 61-year history that the women's weekend has sold out before the men's.

Venua Williams has this morning posted a photo to Instagram of herself warming up ahead of this afternoon's charity match.

Feeling the mode 2017! #asbclassic

A post shared by Venus Williams (@venuswilliams) on

The fundraiser, for the Kaikoura earthquake, will see the top tennis siblings take on rugby's Savea brothers, All Blacks Ardie and Julian, at 1pm.