Once we all gather at the Princes Wharf, we’ll hop on a ferry over to the island of Waiheke, with your guide pointing out some of the other islands of interest along the way — like Rangitoto, the youngest volcano in New Zealand.
After about 35 minutes, we’ll come into Matiatia, the main port on Waiheke Island. This was a prime spot for early settlement, and would have been an area abundant in food as well as timber and opportunities for horticulture. Your guide will point out the northern headland Mokemoke, one of Waiheke's smallest fortified Maori settlements, as well as Whetumatarau Point, which served as a large kumara pit for early Maori settlers.
Then, it’s on our bikes and along Ocean View Road to the village of Oneroa. This is the main township of Waiheke and we’ll stop for a quick introduction and history overview, as you see how the town’s old pharmacy, post office, and cinema have been converted into new business spaces.
Following Ocean View Road, we’ll take the scenic route to Onetangi. You’ll have sweeping views of the northern side of the island and the Coromandel Peninsula, and we’ll stop at a lookout point above postcard-worthy Palm Beach (or Mawhitipana in Maori) — the perfect place for photo ops and a water break. Fun fact: it’s rumoured the Dalai Lama swims at Palm Beach every time he visits New Zealand! The valley running down from the main Palm Beach crossroads is also said to be 'where the spirits dance and play' on their journey to the top of the North Island to reach Hawaiki (the place of origin as well as where you return to after death, according to Maori tradition).
We’ll then pass through the residential area of Palm Beach to a lookout point, for a great view of Onetangi and the eastern end of Waiheke. Onetangi means 'weeping sands' and this translation has various stories explaining its origin. One such story describes a prominent tribe inviting another tribe for dinner… who were then captured, killed, and cannibalised. Another story describes a genocide on the beach of one of the tribes. Or perhaps it just describes the indentations along the sand that are formed by small streams of water, giving the appearance of tears running down the beach. As to which story is true, we may never know.
We’ll take a break at Onetangi Beach, where you can grab lunch in one of the cafés, and maybe go for a quick swim if you need to cool off. After our rest, we’ll have the option of detouring for a few more stunning views of the island and Maori history with the story of Rangihoua Hill, or “the topknot of Kahu.” We’ll also pass through the industrial and administrative centre of Waiheke, heading down to an old wharf and a bit of photo-friendly graffiti.
Carrying on, we’ll then head over wetlands and round the coastline, stopping for a break and lovely views of Auckland. We’ll also stop outside the Piritahi Marae, where the people of the Ngati Paoa tribe once lived.
Finally, we’ll top off our epic electric morning ride at a local vineyard for a few wine tastings. The owners planted their first grapes some 20 years ago, when they craved a change of pace in life, so this is definitely a great spot to take a moment and relax before we head back to the city.
From there, we’ll head back to the ferry terminal for our boat back to Auckland. However, if you wish to stay on the island longer, you’re free to take a sailing later in the day. Your guide will give you your return ferry ticket and take your bike back for you, leaving you free to explore the island independently at your leisure, by foot or using the local bus service. (Note that bikes cannot be left behind on the island without our Urban Adventures guide.)
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, electric bike and helmet rental, wine tasting of 5 wines from an award-winning vineyard, return ferry journey (value of NZD 30).
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: Please wear closed-toe footwear (no thongs or sandals) and comfortable clothing you can cycle in. We recommend you bring a swimsuit and small towel to enjoy the beach and a swim.
Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 6 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Additional Information: Waiheke has a slightly different climate and so weather patterns can differ slightly from that predicted in Auckland. We will run the tours in all but the worst of weather and will supply a basic waterproof jacket if it looks like rain. Please wear suitable clothing for the day’s weather.
Child Policy: Travellers under 18 years of age are not permitted to join this tour.