Waiheke Local

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Waiheke Island on a Budget

Sometimes it’s the simple, rather than the expensive things in life, that create the best holidays or produce the fondest of memories.  Sometimes these are things that money just can not buy.  If you wish to enjoy the best Waiheke Island has to offer in a simple way, here is our comprehensive guide to Waiheke Island on a budget.


Fullers Passenger Ferry
Fullers ferry provides a regular service to Waiheke Island which departs from downtown Auckland. Our tip: Bikes can be taken on the ferry for free with paying passengers, so bring your own with you and you are free to explore the island at your leisure.  View further information on Fullers Ferry to Waiheke.

Adult $20.00 (one way) | $36.00 (return)
Child $10.00 (one way) | $18.00 (return)
Family $98.00 (return)

Sealink Car Ferry
If you are staying on the island, a good option to consider is to bring your vehicle across on the Sealink Car Ferry.  This will provide you with the flexibility to get off the beaten track. The car ferry departs Half Moon Bay in Auckland throughout the week and on the summer timetable (Friday evenings and weekends) an additional car ferry departs from Auckland City.  Contact Sealink for any special offers that they may have available.

Car only – up to 5.5m | $95.00 (one way) | $160.00 (return)
Adult $20.00 (one way) | $36.50 (return)
Child $11.50 (one way) | $20.00 (return)

Fullers Waiheke Bus Service
Regular bus services on Waiheke Island provide a cheap transport option to the island’s key locations.  The buses are scheduled to meet Auckland ferries arriving and departing Matiatia Wharf. Single fares will vary from $1.60 – $4.40 depending on your destination, while the all-day bus pass will allow you unlimited travel on all public bus services on the island for that day, often making this a better option.

Adult $9.00 (all-day pass)
Child $5.50 (all-day pass)
Family $21.50 (all-day pass)

Waiheke Rental Car / Scooters / Bikes
If you arrive on Waiheke Island on the Passenger ferry and need transport options, consider renting a car, a scooter or even a mountain bike. View the numerous rental options available on the island to determine your preferred mode of transport around the island.

Waiheke Budget Accommodation

Camping on Waiheke
The regional park ‘Whakanewha’ on Waiheke is a very popular place to camp and it is a discovery you’ll want to keep returning to again and again. The accessible, large flat campground is set back from a beautiful bay and child friendly beach, and the park offers a number of places to explore and escape from washing up duties. The camping areas are sheltered by native plantings which help ensure bird watchers get tent side viewing and to top it off the park rangers give all corners a friendly island welcome. A secret tip – plan a stay during the months of March, April and May (not only do you get a good chance of settled weather you might even get the place to yourself). Cost per night per adult is $12.00 and $6.00 per child.

Freedom camping
Freedom camping or free camping is still ‘legal’ in New Zealand. “Freedom camping” means to camp (other than at a camping ground) within 200m of a formed road, or of a motor-vehicle accessible area, or of the sea. If you are intending to freedom camp on Waiheke, please visit the website for the Department of Conversation for further information on prohibited areas, and the guidelines you must follow.

There are a few options available for the budget conscious traveller. View our accommodation directory for backpackers /and budget accommodation operators on Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Activities on a shoe-string budget

Waiheke Island beaches are popular with both visitors and locals.  The north-side beaches; Oneroa, Little Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi are among the most popular, but other spots worth a visit are Sandy Bay (which includes the only boat ramp on the northern side of the island), Blackpool Esplanade, and Surfdale Beach. Putiki Bay and Shelly Beach are further spots to consider.  Our tip though: if you are here with children, Little Oneroa and Palm Beach have it all – good swimming beaches, excellent playground facilities, pinic tables, gas BBQ’s, public amenities, and of course an ice-cream close by from the local beach store.
Alternatively, enjoy a spot of fishing, cast out from the rocks at the head of Enclosure Bay, off the Newton Road Steps, from the Esplanade around Te Huruhi Bay or from Orapiu Wharf  and you may catch a snapper or two.

Walking Tracks
Walking is a great way to spend nothing but time. The island has many superb walking tracks to enjoy that offer the chance to explore the islands dramatic scenery. From short walks to longer hikes, there is something suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Waiheke Island even hosts it’s own annual Walking Festival offering guided walks which has become a popular event.
Discover more about the Waiheke Walking Festival or if you are here to explore on your own, find your ideal walk by viewing  Walking Tracks on Waiheke.

The Artworks Complex
The Artworks Complex is Waiheke Island’s Community Arts Hub, established by the community in 1991. The complex contains the Artworks Theatre, Community Art Gallery and Cinema, Waiheke’s own Radio Station, Story Center, Whittakers Music Museum Waiheke Island’s Public Library and Incubator an emerging art space. Artworks is located    at the corner of Korora and Ocean View Roads in Oneroa. It is a 5 minute walk from the centre of Oneroa Village, and a 20 minute walk uphill from Maitiatia Ferry Terminal.

Ostend Saturday Market
Every Saturday rain or shine the Ostend Saturday Market operates from the War Memorial Hall and Reserve in Belgium St, Ostend. The market is a real community market offering arts and crafts and a good range of locally grown fruit, veges, plants and produce, as well as a tempting array of food stalls and well-made coffee.
What a great way to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning. Our tips include: Take enough money with you to treat yourself at the market as there is no ATM machine in Ostend. Secondly, the market operates all year round but numbers swell understandably in the warmer months with more stall holders and visitors which increases the variety and vibrance of the market. For more information try our link Ostend Market

Wine tastings
Waiheke Island is home to a number of award-winning vineyards and wineries, many of which offer tasting opportunities at the Cellar Door. Among them are Mudbrick who offer tastings from $10 per person and if you are feeling hungry, the opportunity to order a light lunch from their Cellar Door menu. The Goldie Room, Stonyridge, Saratoga, Te Whau, Peacock Sky and Passage Rock are among others.
Obsidian offer alfresco tastings under the shade of their pergola and the opportunity for visitors to bring their own picnic to enjoy within their peaceful surroundings while Man-O-War Vineyards have an idyllic spot at the Eastern end of the island and offer complimentary tastings from their new tasting room. For further information on Waiheke Island Wineries and Vineyards view Waiheke Island Wineries

Waiheke Island Historic Village
Located at 165 Onetangi Straight the Waiheke Museum and Historic Village gives visitors the chance to experience a slice of Old Waiheke. Containing a reconstructed woolshed, a 1930’s style cottage, several small baches, and the original Waiheke Island jail, the Museum is open from noon to 4:00PM on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holiday Mondays, all year round. Entry is by donation.

Stony Batter Historic Reserve
Built during WWII, Stony Batter is a defence complex containing a 1.3km network of  tunnels, rooms and three concrete gun emplacements.
Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island,  access to Stony Batter is from Man O’ War Bay Road. From the car park it is a 20 minute walk to the tunnels. Once there allow 30 to 90 minutes to explore the tunnels, and bring your torch as you won’t go far without one.  Take cash to pay the entry fee as there are no eft-pos facilities on site.
Guided tours and information are available on site.