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How to Get Around Waiheke Island

Car rental in Waiheke made easy so you can enjoy the journey.

Image of one of the beaches of Waiheke Island
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Discover Waiheke Island

Unsurprisingly, Waiheke Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New Zealand. Every year, almost 1 million visitors staying in Auckland jump on a ferry and visit this scenic location.

Travelling around Waiheke Island can present some challenges for tourists. With limited transport options on this island, but so much to see, how can you hope to get around?

We've prepared a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about getting around Waiheke Island. If you want the freedom that comes with a self-driving experience, make a booking at our Waiheke car rental branch so you can see everything the island has to offer without relying on public transport.

GO Love Waiheke

When you arrive on Waiheke Island, simply look out for the big pink GO Rentals sign inside the Matiatia Ferry Terminal to pick up your keys.
From there it's a short 2-minute walk to the GO Rentals car park #201002 to pick up and return your vehicle. Drop the keys back to our desk on your return.
See you soon!

Be aware of the gravel roads on Waiheke.
GO drive with care.

Map showing the location of the GO Rentals Waiheke - Matiatia branch

Waiheke Island: How to get there

First things first, how do you get yourself to Waiheke Island? You have 3 main options:

Fullers passenger ferry

Fullers provides regular ferry services to Waiheke Island from downtown Auckland. Bookings can be made in advance, or you can simply purchase a Fullers ferry ticket at the terminal. This trip takes 35 minutes.

Sealink car ferry

If you already have a rental car in Auckland, you can take it to Waiheke Island via the Sealink ferry, which departs every day of the year from Half Moon Bay. This trip takes 45 minutes.

Private water taxi

Private water taxis from Auckland to Waiheke are also available from a number of providers.

How to get around Waiheke Island

If you haven't brought a car with you to Waiheke Island, you still have plenty of options to get around. Your top choices for transport around Waiheke Island are as follows:

Rental car

We might be slightly biased, but our favourite option for getting around Waiheke Island is with a rental car. Simply stop in at our GO Rentals branch inside the Matiatia Ferry Terminal and our friendly team will check you in and have you exploring Waiheke in no time.

Hire cars give you complete autonomy over your trip, allowing you to explore the most far-flung parts of Waiheke Island which can be otherwise difficult to get to.

Bike

If you want to get in a workout while exploring one of New Zealand's top destinations, bike hire is also available on the island. This allows you to explore local bike trails including the Okahuiti Path or the Rangihoua Loop, enjoying the natural side of the island at your own pace.

Taxi

Taxis are also commonplace on Waiheke Island. There are a wide variety of providers who will pick you up from the Matiatia wharf and take you to a range of locations around Waiheke. Some services offer set fares to particular venues while others are more flexible.

Keep in mind that making a booking in advance for a Waiheke Island taxi is virtually essential to ensure smooth travel around the island.

Bus

Waiheke Island has a public bus network that is closely aligned with passenger and car ferries. Bus services run every 45-60 minutes throughout the day and can be boarded with a pre-purchased ticket or your pre-loaded Auckland Transport HOP card. Hop-on, hop-off explorer buses are also available for use.

Waiheke buses operate on 4 routes which offer solid coverage of the island. However, if you're determined to check out the vaunted "Far End" of Waiheke Island, the bus network won't cut it, as it has very few bus stops in this area. These buses are also known to get quite packed during the busiest tourist season, so a longer trip might not be especially comfortable.

Tours

There is also a wide range of tours available for Waiheke Island visitors. Known as the Island of Wine, it's no surprise that there are several tempting wine tours available on Waiheke. There are also touring options to explore Waiheke Island in all its natural glory.

5 beautiful destinations on Waiheke Island

Not all of Waiheke Island's attractions are easily accessible. If you're tossing up whether a Waiheke rental car is the right choice for your trip, here are 5 locations easily accessible by car you won't want to miss out on exploring. Find even more things to do on Waiheke Island here

Man O' War Bay

Man O' War Bay is one of the most staggering locations you'll find near Auckland. With rolling farmland and stunning ocean views, it's easily one of Waiheke Island's best hidden gems.

It's also home to the Man O' War winery and restaurant. With 4,500 acres of farmland, meticulously crafted to deliver delicious wines and meals, this venue offers an archetypal New Zealand experience.

Man O' War Bay is a 39-minute drive from Matiatia Ferry Terminal. It isn't serviced by any bus routes, making it the perfect location for your self-driving trip.

Man O' War Bay

Stony Batter Historic Reserve

Waiheke Island may be known for its gorgeous scenery and stunning wines, but there's plenty of history to drink up, too. The Stony Batter Historic Reserve was known as Fort Stony Batter during World War II, and was commissioned as a masterfully crafted military stronghold. Comprising 1.2km of subterranean passages, you can explore this engineering marvel in much the same form as when it was first constructed.

Head to the Stony Batter Historic Reserve for a guided tour of this unmissable location. There's even an impressive art gallery for you to check out. You haven't seen Waiheke if you haven't made the 37-minute journey to this venue.

Stony Batter Historic Reserve

Batch Winery

We couldn't have just one winery on our list. Batch is one of the most acclaimed wineries on all of Waiheke Island, and that's saying something. It draws upon two vineyards to deliver a comprehensive array of wines suitable for any palette.

Of course, Batch also has an exceptional restaurant, replete with fresh seafood and delicious meats prepared in a unique charcoal oven. It's a great choice for weddings or other major functions.

Batch Winery is just an 18-minute drive from Matiatia Ferry Terminal.

Batch Winery

Whakanewha Regional Park

Steep yourself in the unique natural world of Waiheke with Whakanewha Regional Park. Take on the Whakanewha loop walk near Rocky Bay, climaxing with the Cascades waterfall. These stunning falls are hidden inside a gorge and offer a breathtaking slice of Kiwi beauty.

It takes 17 minutes to travel to Sculptures Car Park, the start of the Whakanewha loop walk. This isn't a convenient location to get to without a car, making it a great choice for your self-driving Waiheke trip.

Whakanewha Regional Park

Onetangi Beach

Onetangi Beach is the largest beach on Waiheke, creating a sense of endless expanse. Sitting on the island's north shore, it is a popular and safe swimming location and is an unmissable stop on any summertime trip to Waiheke Island.

The suburb of Onetangi is also home to some delectable restaurants as well as the Museum of Waiheke and Waiheke Island Historic Village.

While Onetangi Beach is accessible as one of the final stops on a Waiheke bus route, we say you're better off making a comfortable journey here by car and lapping up the sand, sea and sun for as long as you like. It will take you 17 minutes to travel here from the Matiatia Ferry Terminal.

Onetangi Beach

Get around Waiheke Island with GO Rentals

At GO Rentals, we firmly believe a self-driving holiday is the best way to explore any location. Our Waiheke branch is the perfect place to kick off your trip. Whether it's just for one day or a longer journey, relying on nothing but our fleet of vehicles will ensure peace of mind in this serene location.

If you’re spending time in Auckland, you should also check out our City and Airport branches so you can keep the self-drive fun flowing back on the mainland. With unlimited kilometres, free basic car rental insurance and competitive car hire rates, GO Rentals is the perfect choice to facilitate your entire New Zealand holiday.

Get the most out of Waiheke Island with GO Rentals, your ultimate New Zealand travel companion.

Photo of Waiheke Island in the background with GO Rentals vehicle in the foreground