Sure, the rating is great news for those in hospitality or tourism. Perfect if you like spotting Lady Gaga flying in by helicopter, want a selfie with Taylor Swift on the ferry. Why, you ask? Surely we Waihekians like the kudos of living in one of the globe's hottest destinations?

Yes, Islanders do love their beautiful corner of the world. But what makes it so attractive is being "so backward we're forward".

It amuses us that when we moved to the island two decades ago, people would ask incredulously, "Waiheke, why do you want to live there? It's only for hippies, dope growers and people on benefits."

Twenty years later we live in the same house, but people now think we live in a playground for the rich and famous -- "Oh, you are so lucky." It is regarded as the Queenstown of the North Island.


So what is it like living on Waiheke?

The "rock" is a great place to give kids a safe Kiwi childhood. Our kids go barefoot. Our safe beaches don't need patrols. Kids grow up knowing how to conserve water because we're on tank supply. Don't run the water when you brush your teeth! We're happy for them to wander with their mates to the shop or the playground.

We don't have Maccas, BK or KFC and we're proud of that. An oldy but a goody April's Fool joke is to erect a sign saying "McDonald's is coming to this site". It always gets a reaction.

Yes, we do have electricity (seriously, I have been asked), three schools and GPs. We even got a supermarket a while back.

If you do visit, bring a torch. That's another "perk" of island life: experiencing the enforced romance of impromptu half-baked candle-lit dinners during power cuts. internet speed and cellphone coverage are slowly improving.

Freight, courier deliveries and petrol cost more because of that stretch of water between Auckland and Waiheke. We pay $2.18 for petrol when you can find it for $1.65 on the mainland.

And come summer, the island feels like it groans with the additional mass of visitors and the increased traffic rolling off the car ferries.

We can handle our overflowing cafes, our busy beaches; we know that window of time is when businesses make good money. And we know we live in a paradise others only get to visit.

But it's looking like we're about to be invaded. Lonely Planet has told THE WORLD to beat a track to Waiheke. Its spokesman, Chris Zeiher, said the island's unique community is "bohemian and [its] hippy past is not far from the surface".

But so many colourful bohemian, hippy characters, who made Waiheke interesting, are leaving to live somewhere where life is less expensive, less complicated. They can't afford the rents and their free spirits suffocate in the rules and regulations of the Supercity (don't walk your dog here, turn down the music, don't park your car here). Mind you, Jeremy Clarkson and David Farrier are doing their bit to dissuade visitors.

That $14 you pay for a glass of wine at a café is close to the minimum hourly wage many vineyard workers earn. There's a fiscal divide between working people struggling to find an affordable place to rent -- some live in cars or tents -- while some mansions sit empty for most of the year.

House values have surged. And every year leading up to Christmas, tenants are given notice by owners wanting the house for the holidays.

"Help, I have six weeks to find a house to rent before Christmas," goes the cry on Facebook's Waiheke rentals pages.

Changing times and affluent newcomers mean you don't see as many "island cars" -- those ageing, sagging, rusting, will-it-or-won't-it-get-a-WOF vehicles that you could leave outdoors in the salty air. Now the streets are lined with late-model sedans, sports cars and 4WDs.

Locals just want visitors to be considerate. DON'T drive at crazy speeds on our narrow, patched-up, pot-holed, winding roads. DO watch for pedestrians and cyclists because many of those narrow roads don't have footpaths.

It definitely costs more to live on the island. At $36 for an adult return, $126 for an islanders' return trip for a car and driver, the ferry ride crosses one of the most expensive stretches of water in the world. There's no subsidy like some other Auckland ferry services. Learner drivers have to travel to Auckland for their tests, and that adds another $126 on top of the licence fee.

A family outing to Auckland can blow the budget. Luckily the arrival of competition a year ago has halted annual ferry price hikes, given us choice and more sailings.

For years we have set our clocks by the ferry timetable. Miss the 8.45 Saturday night sailing and it was a 90-minute wait until the next. And those queues on Friday afternoons easily add 20 minutes waiting time to the 35-minute trip. Good news was ferries coming and going on the half-hour in December.

Our bus services are also tied to the ferry timetable, and at peak periods ferry passengers push the buses to capacity, meaning they drive past anyone waiting at stops along the route. Catch a taxi instead? Check the price first. Horror stories of people being charged double the fare for a similar length ride in Auckland are not exaggerated.

So, yes, Waiheke is a beautiful place to live and visit. But it does come at a cost. So, if next year, Waiheke slips off Lonely Planet's radar, we won't be complaining  well, not as much anyway!