Three of the best ways to see Waiheke

Hikoi on Waiheke Island.
Hikoi on Waiheke Island.

Jump on the ferry for an island adventure.

1: Walk

Experience the contrast of sandy beaches and native bush lying side by side; appreciate spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf, and the countless historic sites scattered through the island, many of which can only be accessed by foot. Whether it's an energetic power walk or a laid-back stroll, Waiheke Island has walking options for everyone.

One route handy to the ferry terminal follows the coastline and ventures through the Matiatia Historic Reserve and on to Cable Bay, Owhanake Bay, Island Bay and Oneroa Bay.

En route is Oneroa village where cafes, shops and amenities are available for those wanting to take a break from nature or to recharge before heading back to the ferry. Buses (number 1, 2 and 3) all pass through Oneroa, heading towards Onetangi and Rocky Bay and back to Matiatia.

2: Guided Maori hikoi

Indulge in a spectacular scenic walk followed by a fun bike ride.

Hike Bike Ako offers half-day and full-day tour options, and the chance to learn the Maori perspective of historical events associated with the island. Enjoy a coastal walk followed by a fun bicycle ride, topped off with a wine-tasting session at an award-winning vineyard.

The full-day tour also visits Piritahi Marae -- a traditional Maori gathering place.

Half-day tour, $99; full-day $125 (plus lunch at your cost).

3: Kayak

From their base at Matiatia, Kayak Waiheke offers freedom rentals for paddling in the harbour or around the coast along with a variety of guided tours.

Try a half-day trip visiting coves, beneath rocky cliffs where only kayaks can reach. Guided trips are recommended for first-time paddlers and for those wanting insight into the Waiheke coastline. Swimming and rock hopping and a refreshment break on a private beach are added treats. A camera is vital, with a wide range of bird life and -- with luck -- dolphins to see.

Half-day guided tour, $125 per person.

- Weekend magazine

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