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11 Jan

Our guide to Waiheke Island’s best beaches

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Palm-Beach-editWell, so far the weather this year has been variable. As local residents we never mind the rain showers as they keep our tanks topped up, and in between the overcast days, we’ve still enjoyed some brilliant summer weather. So when it is scorching, it makes good sense to head for the beach.

On Waiheke Island we are spoilt for choice for beaches. The most popular Waiheke beaches are the northern beaches: Oneroa, Little Oneroa, Palm Beach, and Onetangi being the most visited. Little O and Palm Beach are particularly good for families with younger children as they both contain shaded children’s play grounds, picnic tables, free BBQ facilities, and public toilets – adjacent to the beach.

Waiheke Island’s beaches are clean and safe for swimming – with the exception of the stream at Little Oneroa which carries a public health warning.

The safe swim programme – a water quality-monitoring programme operated by Auckland City Council runs between November and March each year.

Weekly checks are carried out of 69 of the regions most popular beaches and fresh water spots, which includes Oneroa, Little Oneroa – including the stream, Palm Beach and Onetangi. For further information on water quality call 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 723379) or visit safe-swim where you can sign up to weekly emails to have monitoring results delivered to your inbox.

Other popular spots include Sandy Bay – with the only boat ramp on the northern side of the island, Enclosure Bay, which is stony but beautiful – and offers the chance to fish of the rocks.

More secluded is Hekerua Bay, which is accessible via 2 walking tracks – our preference being the leafy Te Aroha Ave track, off Karaka road.

If boating or kayaking on the northern side you’ll find more secluded spots for a private picnic – among them the picturesque Cactus Bay and Garden Cove.

Beaches on the south side of the island are mostly tidal mudflats. Often breezy due to the prevailing southerly wind, the south side beaches are good spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Hooks beach is less visited but a good spot to discover. It is accessible from Hooks Lane or during low tide it is possible to walk around the rocky out-crop that separates Hooks beach form Surfdale beach. At high tide the water is shallow, warm and ideal for children. Hooks beach is one of the few Waiheke Beaches that permits unleashed dogs.

Shelly beach is another lovely spot to visit on the south side, and further a field is the popular Whakanewha regional park, which has camping facilities available at the adjacent Poukaraka Flats Campground.

At the eastern end of Waiheke, Man O’ War Bay is one of the few beaches accessible to the public by road. It’s a beautiful spot and worth a visit – the Man O’ War Vineyards tasting room is located opposite the beach and contains a large grassed area for children to play.

For further information of Waiheke’s beaches go to Waiheke Island Beaches

About the author

Clare Ashworth

at http://www.ashworth.co.nz

Hi, I’m Clare Ashworth, an interior designer with a passion for restoring furniture, mum of three young children, and writer and contributor to Waiheke Local.

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