Waiheke Walking Festival, 2014

Oneroa to Owhanake to Matiatia Headland Walk on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. You can do this walk straight off the Auckland ferry at low tide. A camera is a must, for the views are breathtaking.

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.

Park Point
View across Hauraki Gulf
Coastal View from the Park Point track.

Orapiu Conservation Exploration Walk

Pear Bay at low tide

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.

You will walk down into Otakawhe Bay on the way to Orapiu
Pier at Orapiu where a ferry calls in from Auckland on route to the Coromandel via Rotora Island, which is where another walk will be.

Man O’ War Beauty

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.

This walk begins at Stony Batter
Stony Batter has stunning views across the east end of Waiheke Island.
Man O’ War vineyards and olive groves. In the distance you can see the sand along Onetangi Beach, the longest beach on Waiheke. Behind that the Casino spire and high rises of Auckland are visible. But here there is peace from the traffic noise and fresh air to breathe deeply into your lungs.
Man O’ War Bay, where this delightful walk ends. Enjoy a sip of Man O’ War wines, or just enjoy the tranquillity of this secluded bay.

These are just three of my many favourite Waiheke walks.  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.

2012 Waiheke Walking Festival

25 October 2012
Explore beautiful Waiheke Island with photographs of featured walks in a wild inland adventure walk without tracks (journey to the lost centre), the TeWhau tidal trail, the Atawhai Whenua Reserve near the ferry terminal at Matiatia, and see the stunning views overlooking Matiatia.

2013 Waiheke Walking Festival

25 October 2013
View the photos from the following featured walks: cross-island walk through Whakanewha Regional Park and other bush tracks; walk along Onetangi Beach; walk along the Esplanade to Blackpool Beach;  explore the Te Haahi Reserve; and Matiatia to Oneroa via Owhanake Bay.

Twilight Rambles, 2014

January 07, 2014
Enjoy a Twilight Ramble on Waiheke Island each Tuesday during January, beginning at 6 p.m. and ending around  8 p.m. The Rambles are run by Forest and Bird and open to all, with a free sausage sizzle at the end of each walk. This post features beautiful images of scenery along these walks.

Waiheke Headland Sculpture Walk

January 24, 2013
The 2013 Headland Sculpture Walk celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. “A home grown art scene beckons” was the sub-heading alongside Waiheke’s rating at 35 in the “New York Times” article “The 46 Places to Go in 2013.” The sculptures will be exhibited along 2.5 kilometres of walkway with views along Waiheke’s coastline…