Ace Rental Cars Blog

48 Hours on Waiheke Island

Embark on a 48-hour journey through the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture of Waiheke Island, New Zealand's hidden gem.

Day 1: Let the Adventures Begin

  • Arcadia Cafe Restaurant Bar
  • Oneroa Beach Track

Before heading to Waiheke, pick up your Ace rental car from our Auckland Airport or Auckland City branch to experience the freedom of exploring the island at your own pace. From here, hop on the vehicle ferry and enjoy the 45-minute ride through the Hauraki Gulf, taking in picturesque views of the Auckland skyline and surrounding islands on your way. As you arrive in Kennedy Point on Waiheke Island, you’ll be greeted with coastal beauty and a welcoming atmosphere. Take a deep breath in and soak up the chilled-out vibes and vibrant scenery OF the island. Head north to Arcadia in Palm Beach for breakfast, about an eight-minute drive from the ferry terminal. A relaxed atmosphere and delicious meals allow you to lean into island life, embracing the green and blue hues of Palm Beach. Journey across to Oneroa Beach Track, which takes you out to Fisherman’s Rock and back, providing scenic views of secluded coves and turquoise waters.

Day 1: Wine, Art, and Sunset Bliss

  • Cable Bay Vineyards
  • Waiheke Community Art Gallery
  • The ‘HEKE

Continue your adventure with lunch at one of Waiheke’s many wineries and vineyards. Cable Bay is renowned for its sprawling lawns and award-winning wines, specifically Pinot Gris, Viognier and Marsanne. Wine lovers can choose from two wine tastings at the Cellar Door in Oneroa or indulge in a specialty experience like the vineyard tour, connoisseur tasting or dessert and wine experience. For a safe journey, always remember to appoint a designated driver when drinking alcohol throughout your road trip. From here, let yourself be captivated by the works of local artists at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery. Showcasing everything from sculptures to paintings to ceramics, a visit to the gallery is the perfect way to admire local art and engage with the community. Round out your day with dinner at The 'HEKE, a casual eatery, distillery, and brewery in Onetangi. Serving up everything from seasonal sharing plates to burgers and pizza, you’ll find something for every palate here. Plus, you’ll find traditional Māori pou and water stone artwork around the restaurant. Drive down to Onetangi Beach in your Ace rental car to watch the sunset as you reminisce on your first day on Waiheke.

Day 2: Morning Drive, Kayak Adventures

  • Stony Batter Historic Reserve
  • Kayak Waiheke

Start your second day on Waiheke Island with an early morning scenic drive. If you need a pick-me-up before your journey, head to the Carpark Cafe and Bar in Ostend for a coffee and a bite before departing. Driving east across the island along Man O’War Bay Road, you’ll pass through farmland and vineyards and get spectacular views along the coast on your way to Stony Batter Historic Reserve. The 50-acre reserve is centred around an unmissable boulder field, with eight-million-year-old giant basalt stones and historic gun emplacements covering the grassy area. Dive into war history with a tour through man-made secret tunnels and chambers at the Stony Batter Tunnels. Venture the stairwells and underground passageways (commissioned by the military in 1942 to serve as a defence during World War II) and enjoy learning about the construction process behind the underground complex. Pack a picnic for a lunch break among the green fields and bask in the reserve’s serenity and peacefulness. Next, head back to Matiatia Bay for a sea kayak tour or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) adventure. Take to Waiheke’s waters with a guided tour along the coast from the comfort of your own kayak. Explore hidden coves, photograph rocky cliff faces and enjoy the feeling of exploring the sea at your own pace. Feeling more adventurous? Hire an SUP and try your hand at this growing sport while taking in epic sights from above the water.

Day 2: Trails, Beaches, and Tapas

  • Te Ara Hura trail
  • Northern Walk
  • Southern Walk

From the pristine coast to the forest canopies, there are many ways to explore Waiheke, and the 86 km Te Ara Hura trail attracts visitors from near and far. If you’re up for a multi-day tramping adventure, Te Ara Hura showcases the best of the island, from the beaches and baches to the headlands. However, the trail also comprises shorter sections, offering 20-minute to hour-long walks to suit every itinerary and skill level. The Northern Walk starts near the ferry terminal and boasts views of the Hauraki Gulf and western Waiheke, while the Southern Walk passes Matiatia and Church Bay and ends in Oneroa. Cool off after your hike with a dip in one of Waiheke’s many beaches, ending your afternoon on a high. As your second day in Waiheke draws to a close, indulge in a Spanish-style dinner at Casita Miro and toast to your island getaway over an à la carte tapas menu.

Bid farewell to Waiheke with sunset views over the beach and reflect on your unforgettable journey. From adventure to relaxation, this island paradise guarantees moments to cherish for every traveller.

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