Walk Waiheke at the Walking Festival this weekend. It runs for nine days between Saturday, November 15 through to Sunday 23, which ends with a free barbecue. Get on the Waiheke ferry at the Ferry Building opposite Britomart and escape Auckland for a day or maybe a week! All walks are guided and free.
Walking is the best way to experience the unique beauty of Waiheke Island. It is the most beautiful island I have ever visited, which I can say after walking many of the tracks that loop right around the island. In just 35 minutes, a ferry ride will transport you to a place where time stands still, where there are no traffic lights or fast food chains, and Auckland city skyscrapers are blurred by a distant haze.
Yes, there is a little village where tourists flock for meals in restaurants overlooking pretty Oneroa Beach, where the vibrant display of red flowers on the pohutukawas lining the beach is a special treat just before Christmas. But the real magic is experienced along the walking tracks that lead into, and through the heart of, Waiheke’s beauty. Every track is unique. And this is why we organise a Walking Festival each year to share Waiheke’s special treasures.
As well as bush and coastal walks, there are walks through wineries, into olive groves, across private farmland, and even into special places at night to see glow worms. Some walks will take you back in time to place you in historical settings. There are walks for children, conservationists, people with dogs, and those who want to enjoy a meal at a winery at the end of their walk. And Sir Graham Henry will guide you on one of my personal favourites: the Park Point coastal track, with stunning views over the Hauraki Gulf.
This walk finishes with a free barbeque at Blackpool with Sir Peter Leitch.
This is another of my favourite walks, however this time you can cross private land not normally open to tourists. Orapiu conservationists will show you the amazing achievements of a local community/Council partnership in Neil Avenue Reserve before climbing down into idyllic Pearl Bay and walking back along a delightful coastal track to Orapiu.
Get off the beaten track and explore Man O’ War vineyards and farm with its stunning views around the east end of Waiheke. Alastair Jamieson, Auckland Council ecologist and geologist, will lead this walk from Stony Batter, where he will explain why the rock strewn landscape is so unique. The walk ends at peaceful Man O’ War Bay, where Festival specials are on offer at the Man O’ War wine tasting room.
These are just three of my many favourite Waiheke walks, and as of writing, they still have places available for bookings. See the rest of the wide range of walks on offer at the Waiheke Walking Festival Website. Bookings are essential, as are good walking shoes.
These walks are already booked out as at time of writing:
* Whakanewha Glowworms Walk
* Rorohara by Night, 22 Nov
* Mindfulness Walk, 16 and 21 Nov
* Dog Walk 1, 15 Nov
* Photography: Increasing your Awareness of Light, 22 Nov
* Owhanake Wetland
* Architecture Waiheke Style
* Whakanewha Photography Walk
* Celebrity Guided Walk with John Hawkesby
* Waiheke’s Gone Bunkers
* Olive Oil…Food of the Mediterranean Gods
* Owhanake Photography Walk
* Matiatia Headland Photography Walk
* Rorohara By Day