Waiheke Island has long been a favourite weekend getaway for Aucklanders’, a fun day trip out of the city for tourists, and romantic destination for couples celebrating milestones in their relationship. Why? Because Waiheke offers an easy and convenient destination for relaxing and exploring; its beautiful beaches, world class wineries and rolling hills providing the perfect backdrop for all kinds of fun!
Speaking of wineries – taking a winery tour is one of the most popular things to do on Waiheke Island. These tours are not only a great way to enjoy the fine wine, and fantastic food Waiheke has to offer, they also take the hassle out of planning the day while providing transportation and sightseeing as you make your way around the Island.
How To Get To Waiheke Island From Auckland
Access to Waiheke Island is only by water or air. There are regularly scheduled ferry services from Auckland available throughout the day, or you can choose to fly over via helicopter or fixed-wing aeroplane.
Most travellers tend to choose the ferry option, which takes approximately 40 minutes, and you can even take your car across if you want to. Two ferry companies offer their services along with a selection of private charter and tour companies. See here to book your ferry to Waiheke or find out more about travel options to Waiheke Island.
The most frequent ferry operators are Fullers 360 who offer travel every 30 minutes to an hour. Upon departing the Fullers 360 ferry service at Waiheke Island, you will find yourself in Matiatia Bay. There is a range of accommodation, eateries and other services such as car and bike hire that will get you on your way from here.
How To Get Around Waiheke
Upon arrival at Waiheke Island, there are a number of ways to travel around the Island; these are detailed below.
- Take A Tour. The most popular transportation option for most travelers is to take a tour around Waiheke. This takes care of transport, dining, and sightseeing all in one! Find more on Waiheke food and wine tours below.
- Hire A Car. Pick up and drop off from the Matiatia Ferry Terminal. See here for more information on Waiheke Island car hire.
- Take The Bus. The Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus is a flexible and convenient way to see travel around Waiheke, or you can make use of the public transport bus services.
- Ride A Bike. Biking around Waiheke is the perfect option for those warm summer days when it’s all about getting some fresh air and exercise. Choose from traditional mountain bike hire, e-bike, or motorcycle scooter hire. Find more on Waiheke bike hire here.
- Take A Taxi. Taxis are available at the terminal as you depart. Or you can call the local companies WaiCabs 0800 924 222 or Island Taxis 09 372 4111.
Winery Tours On Waiheke – What you Need To Know
With over thirty resident wineries, it’s just not possible to plan a visit to Waiheke Island without sampling some of the boutique wines and fantastic local produce. Many of Waiheke’s wineries regularly provide cafe/restaurant facilities along with vineyard tours, cellar-door wine tasting options and luxury accommodation.
How Many Wineries Should You Visit?
Technically you could spend a week or so and visit every winery on the Island, however, most people are just visiting for the day or weekend so have a limited amount of time. Generally speaking, you could comfortably make three to four wineries on a good day.
Most often, you will want to combine this with other activities on Waiheke, such as fishing or visiting the many stunning beaches. However, if you are unsure about which wineries to visit or how to go about organising it all, taking a guided winery tour is a great way to ensure your time is well spent.
How Much Does Cellar Door Wine Tasting Cost?
As a general guide, Waiheke Island vineyards will charge between $10 and $20 for a basic wine tasting of around three to five different wines. Some wineries won’t charge for the tasting if you are purchasing their wine. Combine this with a vineyard tour, and you’ve got the makings of a beautiful afternoon on the vineyard!
3 Popular Waiheke Wine Tours
While there are wine tours on Waiheke to choose from, these three represent a broad cross-section, ranging from the more deluxe version from NZ Wine Promotions through to Robbies relaxed double-decker tours.
- NZ Wine Promotions – Waiheke Island Private Escape. Fully guided deluxe tour with three Tastings, time for lunch at the venue of your choice, and sightseeing included.
- Fullers 360 – Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Tour. Flexible day tour your own way.
- Robbies Duble Decker Travel – Robbies Fun Bus Waiheke. Full day Island tours including two wineries and afternoon activities.
Top 10 Wineries On Waiheke
Can’t decide which wineries to add to your winery tour? Our top picks for the best wineries to visit on Waiheke are listed below; tour costs and destinations will vary depending on the Wine Tour Company, your available time, and whether or not you wish to dine in or just enjoy a Cellar Door Tasting.
1. Mudbrick Vineyard And Restaurant
One of the larger wineries on Waiheke, Mudbrick is located on the hill just 10 minutes drive from the Matiatia Bay ferry terminal. The restaurant and luxury lodge-style accommodation overlook the expansive Huruhi Bay. There is also a more casual cafe for a less formal dining experience, beautiful gardens to explore, and some pretty amazing views!
The food is freshly made and paired with an extensive range of Mudbrick wines and other options from around NZ and overseas. All of this puts Mudbrick as our top pick for the complete Waiheke Winery experience.
2. Tantalus Estate
For fine dining at its best, our pick is the Tantalus Estate winery situated over in the Onetangi Valley, roughly 15 minutes from the ferry terminal. The beautiful secluded restaurant complete with vineyard views delivers a choice of 2, 3, or 4 course set menus with accompanying wines or the usual à la carte dining experience.
Sample some of Tantalus Estate’s best wines, including their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Chardonnay. Cellar Door tastings include the option to choose from Tantalus Estate wines, other NZ wines, or craft beers brewed locally on Waiheke Island.
3. Batch Winery
Situated on the fringe of the Whakanewha Regional Park, Batch Wineryuses state of the art processes methods to produce its wine selection. Its place as the highest vineyard on the Island means it provides its own unique take on a tasting selection of the classic red and white wines.
If the panoramic views from the lawn with a sparkling Riesling aren’t enough of a drawcard, then the on-site restaurant serves up some quintessential Waiheke fare, including some great vintage dishes, high tea and sharing plates bound to please everyone.
Just a stone’s throw from Tantalus, Stonyridge Vineyard is dedicated to perfecting its red wines specialising in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The considerable on-site café easily caters for large groups serving up a selection of beautiful local produce paired with matching wines from the vineyard.
Tastings (and nibbles) are available every day from 11.30 am, and vineyard tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11.30 am. Weddings and events are often held at Stonyridge, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
5. Obsidian Vineyard
Obsidian is all about the wines! In fact, they consistently win awards and accolades for their rich and vibrant Waiheke wines. A cellar door tasting is a must when visiting Obsidian; choose from an interesting collection of wines, including the well-respected Syrahs and Rose range.
Obsidian is located in Onetangi, just 10 km from the ferry terminal at Matiatia Bay (you could even walk or cycle to the vineyard if you feel like it). Book ahead for your wine tasting, and you will be able to fit it in around the activities of the day.
6. Casita Miro
Casita Miro offers a unique Spanish vibe with premium Casita Miro Estate wines and a restaurant serving paella, croquetas, manchego cheese and much more! Mix and match with a great range of tapas and share plates to challenge the palate and exquisite wines to match.
Wine tastings are available Thursday to Monday from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm, or special requests can be made ahead of time. Enjoy a winery tour along with your meal, or just sit back, relax and soak up the lush green surrounds in this peaceful location on Brown Road, Onetangi.
7. Passage Rock Wines
Sooner or later, you’re going to want to head out and explore a bit further afield on Waiheke, and that is where the Passage Rock Winery comes in. Its award-winning wines, lush green scenery, and just escaping to this tranquil and blissful setting on the Island’s eastern side is the perfect way to spend a lovely summer’s afternoon.
Passage Rock offers the ultimate Cellar Door experience with its entire portfolio of wines on offer for you to sample. Make your choice, and then add a delicious Winemakers gourmet platter to complement your selection and enjoy the journey!
8. Kennedy Point Vineyard
One of Waiheke Island’s only BioGro-certified organic vineyards, Kennedy Point offers wine tastings, vineyard tours, and lunch platters as well as on-site accommodation. Beautiful sea views overlooking Waiheke Island’s Kennedy Bay set the scene for this picturesque vineyard that “reflects the essence of the land”.
Kennedy Point Vineyard is located within walking distance of the Kennedy Point Ferry Terminal. Ask about the estate-grown olive oil tasting. If you’re a bit of a foodie, you’ll love it!
9. Cable Bay Vineyards
Learn about what makes Cable Bay wines so unique at a connoisseur’s wine tasting, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the wine-making process, enjoy elegant yet relaxed dining at The Bistro or stay overnight in the luxury accommodation – the choice is yours at Cable Bay!
The Cable Bay Winery is situated atop the rolling hills overlooking the clear, calm waters of Huruhi Bay and across to Kennedy Point. The Cellar Door is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily; book ahead during the busy season to avoid disappointment.
10. Te Motu Vineyard
The third oldest vineyard on Waiheke Island, Te Motu offers the classic winery experience complete with “modern-rustic” a la carte bistro dining and Cellar Door wine tastings. Their food, much like their wines, is down to earth and full of favour with a focus on exceptional produce and service to match.
You will find the Te Motu Vineyard on Onetangi Road up on the hills overlooking Onetangi Bay – renowned as one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet and Merlot grape varieties. Don’t miss Te Motu’s ‘Korokoro’ a predominantly Merlot blend, the ‘Te Motu’ Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend, and ‘Tipua’ – 100% Cabernet Franc for something a little different on your Waiheke Winery tour.
Visiting the wineries on Waiheke is one of the best things to add to your Auckland holiday itinerary. Can’t decide on which wineries to visit? Leave it to the professionals in Waiheke Winery Tours at NZ Wine Promotions – give them a call today!