Waiheke Island has been picked as one of the top 10 destinations in the world to visit, according to seasoned travellers.

The island has been rated the No5 region to visit in Lonely Planet's Best In Travel 2016 publication - an annual guide to the hottest destinations and experiences as voted by travel writers and experts.

Visitors to Waiheke are attracted to the island's stunning landscapes and views. Its popularity has a lot to do with its wineries and good food as well.

Lonely Planet spokesman Chris Zeiher praised the island's unique community.


"Waiheke's bohemian and hippy past is not far from the surface. The island continues to have a thriving artistic community where over 100 working artists ply their trades in disciplines such as sculpture, glass-blowing, painting and woodwork.

"The island is an outdoor enthusiast's playground, where mountain biking, sea kayaking and sailing can all be indulged."

Lonely Planet is a popular go-to guide for many travellers wanting to experience different parts of the world and makes recommendations on various travel aspects - including places with the best food.

Not even vampire folklore can keep visitors away from the beautiful surroundings of Transylvania, Romania, which was crowned the top must-see region to visit.

Other areas also featured in the Top 10 Regions 2016 list are West Iceland, Valle de Vinales in Cuba, Auvergne in France, and Hawaii.

Beach huts on Waiheke. The travel guide praises the island's bohemian and hippy past. Photo / iStock
Beach huts on Waiheke. The travel guide praises the island's bohemian and hippy past. Photo / iStock

A spokeswoman at one of Waiheke's much-loved restaurants, Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant said: "This kind of announcement is really exciting for Auckland as a whole because I think it represents the calibre of not just the surroundings and the beauty of the area, but also what is actually on offer.

"So for businesses, it's really positive in the way that they're being viewed in their services, accommodation, the restaurants and the food and drink."

The restaurant has hosted celebrities including American popstar Taylor Swift, actress Eva Longoria and movie director Ron Howard.

Tourism Industry Association figures released yesterday show expenditure in the year to March was up 10.3 per cent to $29.8 billion.

Lonely Planet's Top 10


Transylvania, Romania.


West Iceland.


Valle de Vinales, Cuba.


Friuli's wine regions, Italy.


Waiheke Island, New Zealand.


Auvergne, France.


Hawaii, USA.


Bavaria, Germany.


Costa Verde, Brazil


St Helena, British Territories.

Island praise well deserved

Not so long ago, Aucklanders seeking more peace and quiet in their lifestyle would quit the mainland and head to Waiheke, writes Travel Editor Winston Aldworth.

That might all change if Lonely Planet has its way.

The jewel of the Hauraki Gulf has been named as one of the world's best regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016, the publisher's annual summary of the travel trends for the upcoming year.

It's a deserved accolade. Waiheke is one of the few places in New Zealand that can deliver the kind of high-end food-and-wine experience for which international travellers will drop serious coin. The island also delivers the kind of jaw-dropping natural beauty that visitors to New Zealand have been conditioned to expect. Every time I arrive by ferry on the island, I'm struck by the sensation of reaching a new climate.

True, these awards are a bit of a grab-bag, with enough pearls thrown to the wind to ensure plenty of press coverage globally - on which note: a shout-out to Ferg Burgers in Queenstown, who provide, apparently, the world's fifth-best Burger Experience.

But Waiheke deserves its salute. It's increasingly a key part of the Golden Triangle of New Zealand tourism - Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown.

Lonely Planet is by no means the first to heap praise on Waiheke. A week ago, the island came in fourth on Conde Nast Traveller's list of the Best Islands in the World.

Such success deserves a toast. Now then, which vineyard shall we choose?