Waiheke Island (just half an hour by ferry from downtown Auckland) is Auckland’s hidden gem, but when Lonely Planet put it on their list of the best regions in the world to visit in 2015, the little island that seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the big city across the water, began booming.
No longer hidden, but always a gem, a weekend (or longer) on Waiheke Island, is such an easy escape from Auckland, and further afield.
Its idyllic climate is a microcosm of Auckland. It can be raining and drizzly in the city but the sun will be shining on the endless beaches and bays that surround this wiggly shaped island.
If you’re a boatie those beaches and bays make for a perfect escape as there is always a nook to anchor in for a bit of shelter.
If you’re a wine lover then how does 30 cellar doors sound? Here is a link to (so far) my 8 favourite Waiheke wineries to visit for lunch or just a tipple on Waiheke >>
But while the people may be coming out here in their droves, big business isn’t. Which is lovely.
The only fast food you’ll find on Waiheke Island are fish n chip shops where your order is made fresh, the wood fired pizza truck at Little Oneroa Beach or the Indian and Thai restaurants and a couple of burger places that cook your meal while you wait. That’s about as speedy as it gets around here.
All that to say, there are no sky scraping hotels or chain restaurants. In fact there is very little in the way of hotels and motels and instead a whole lot of personal houses available for rent.
So, where to stay on Waiheke Island?
If you’re looking for Waiheke Island accommodation you will find an amazing selection of private homes for rent, from luxury accommodation to little cottages in the bush.
Maybe you’re after a huge sprawling farmhouse for your whole family or to host a small wedding, or how about a modern apartment with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean?
Miranda at Be My Guest is a great friend of mine and her company has a portfolio of more than 40 properties dotted all over the island, at all prices.
Here are six beautiful properties to whet your appetite!
The Moorings – sleeps 2 to 4
Set on the hill above Matiatia Bay, The Moorings has fabulous views across the gulf and back to Auckland meaning the sunsets are magnificent.
The twin studio units, Starboard and Portside, are identical and share a courtyard. You can book one or both.
Each has a private deck from which to enjoy the view. They are well set up with a kitchenette, and there is a BBQ for use in the courtyard.
You’re just a minute’s drive from Matiatia ferry terminal, and also on the bus route around the island. This is the perfect place from which to base yourself to explore Waiheke.
It’s a nice walk to the little village of Oneroa to enjoy brunch or browse in the shops. Just make sure you’re back on your deck for a glass of something at sunset!
Wavesong: Whakaaio & Oceans 11 – sleep up to 12
Be My Guest manages two of the gorgeous properties on the Wavesong development of seven architecturally designed houses, which is situated within landscaped gardens and set just back from popular Onetangi Beach.
Each house is stylishly furnished with a coastal beach vibe, and each has a large sunny deck.
Despite being in a development, each house is very private. Both have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and all the mod cons.
You are moments from the long white sandy beach on Onetangi with its gentle waves, and minutes from a great selection of cafes and restaurants.
You can also get here by bus from Matiatia Ferry, or if you have a car, that’s always a great idea on Waiheke, then you can tootle off at your leisure visiting wineries and the many other little beaches and bays that edge this wonderful Auckland city escape.
Each house can be booked separately (they sleep up to six each), or bring the extended family and book both! Oceans 11 also has a hot tub for you to enjoy…
Te Kereru – sleeps up to 5
This architecturally designed house is nestled in native bush above Onetangi beach.
If tranquility and waking up to the chorus of birdsong are your idea of a relaxing holiday, then this is the perfect house for you.
Te Kereru is set over three levels, with multiple decks on which to enjoy the peaceful surrounds. You have a lovely relaxing lounge (complete with wood burning fire), a large designer kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It’s just a 15-minute meander to Onetangi Beach where you’ll find some lovely cafes and restaurants, and this property is close to many great wineries, as well as the golf course.
The bus will also take you to Oneroa if you fancy a day exploring the village shops and cafes there, plus stock up on any essentials.
Onetangi Luxury – sleeps up to 10
Set high on the hill overlooking Onetangi Beach, which is one of the most stunning, and certainly the biggest, white sandy beach on Waiheke Island, this modern, luxury house has all the bells and plenty of whistles.
Drive up the driveway, past other houses that share this amazing view and you’ll arrive at the back of the house where first impressions are deceiving. You can see nothing of what lies behind the massive glass front door at first.
Photos are hard to do this place justice as there is a pool that starts in the lawn on the left of the house, goes under the hallway and ends with an infinity drop off to the view. Just wow.
The indoor/outdoor living of this home is breathtaking so whichever way the wind might be coming, if at all, you have a deck to sit on.
The front deck overlooking that view is the hero though and the huge table is begging for friends to sit around it and tell tall tales.
There are five bedrooms all sleeping two each and four have those killer views, a gas fire in the lounge and heat pumps in the rooms for a cosy winter stay too. Hallways and different levels ensure separate wings and the huge kitchen has a scullery for a fabulous dinner together.
Puriri Valley – sleeps up to 18
This stunning farmhouse sits above its own vineyard and is the ideal escape for a couple of families, a wedding party, or even some of the guests!
It sleeps up to 18 with six bathrooms and there are a couple of gorgeous spaces in here you’ll gravitate to and not want to leave – even though Mudbrick is only down the road and Cable Bay a stone’s throw from there.
Driving up to the house you’ll park on the circular drive and a double story rustic barn will be the first thing to catch your eye.
Step in here and you’ll find up to ten people and can be accommodated in an open plan loft with three double beds (ideal for a family of teens), a master room and a little studio room.
But walk past the draping wisteria into the main farm house and you’ll step down into the great room with an enormous window that draws you into the view over Matiatia and all the way to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
The huge kitchen has been repainted and a builder’s block bench links to a farm table which I’m sure could tell a tale or two if it could talk! Two lounges are connected with an open fire the separates the rooms and outside is another fireplace and long table for long yarns under the sun set. This venue can even cater for small weddings to a max of 40, so if that sounds like you, just drop them a line.
Oh and if you like local art, they have a cool arrangement with a gallery to show the work of New Zealand artists with the pieces available for sale. And no, they don’t make a commission, they just love art!
Waikare – sleeps up to 8
If you love the idea of not needing a car and staying in the heart of the little village of Oneroa, bustling with cute shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants to keep you sated for a month, then you’ll love this property. You could even walk to Waikare from the ferry as it’s only about a 20-minute walk away.
It’s been stylishly furnished and is elegantly designed and oh so welcoming.
The lounge is the perfect place to relax, but this property is all about the view! Large sliding doors draw you out from the lounge to the huge deck with a glass front – all the better to enjoy the view over the bay.
Cafes are only moments away so getting your morning flat white fix is easy peasy!
But it was the huge deck with a glass front and a large table for dinner, surrounded by multiple sun umbrellas while overlooking Oneroa beach that had me for whiling away lazy afternoons and relaxing into the evening.
This place has a beautiful master bedroom and another with twin beds, then a large bunk bed room that can sleep five more. Ideal for a family, it’s a simple stroll to the beach and a pop upstairs for the first of many cafe visits!
You might also like to read about some of my favourite wineries on Waiheke Island
This post is a collaboration with Be My Guest Waiheke. Visit their website for the full list of beautiful Waiheke Island houses available for holiday rentals.