Waiheke Island has a special place in the hearts of Aucklanders—it is the perfect escape from the city and its incredible beauty is worth the hype. While the wineries and stunning scenery are all appreciated, what you might not have experienced is the annual Waiheke Walking Festival.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, the festival runs over ten days from Friday 15 to Sunday 24 November and has over 40 different events to get involved in. There are options for everyone, whatever your interests or abilities—including fitness adventures, night sky exploration and of course a few for the wine lovers.
The festival is all about showcasing Waiheke Island as the amazing walking destination that it is with each walk led by an expert. There are scenery focused walks, food and wine-focused walks, and more adventurous ones that will have you exploring parts of the island you won't have seen before. The festival is free to attend although some walks include add-ons that cost, but you must book the ones you fancy in advance as they tend to get booked out quickly.
To help you navigate the vast options throughout the festival, here are our five must-attend walks that you need to know about.
Night Sky Walk
Do you love space? If so this walk will be right up your alley. Join Astronz and Dark Sky Waiheke Island for an astronomical night time adventure where you will take a journey through space and time looking at the night sky and finish the walk with a mind-expanding peek through some state-of-the-art telescopic equipment.
Photography Walk with Peter Rees
If you're constantly snapping pics of beautiful places and want to learn a few tips and tricks then this is the walk for you. Led by the talented landscape photographer Peter Rees, you will be guided through the beautiful Whakanewha Park, learning how to develop your photographic skills further.
Glow Worms Twilight Walk
This incredibly special experience is something to definitely take advantage of during the festival. Rorohara is opening their gates for you to walk through hidden glades and ford small streams to reach the magical twinkling glow worm display. If you haven’t been up close with glow worms before prepare to be stunned. Book soon as this one is expected to sell out.
Silent Disco Boogie On The Beach
For anyone in the mood to groove, head down to Onetangi beach for a boogie as the sun goes down. Grab yourself a headset and dance your heart out down the beach. The theme is ‘Shimmer and Shine’ so get out your sparkliest attire as there will be a prize for best dressed!
Man O’War Magic
This stunning walk is a great opportunity to view the land and sea from spots that few have been, including the local boaties marker, Thumb Point. Togs and a picnic are a great idea as there will be scenic spots to stop and enjoy. The walk also includes the option of a late lunch at the glorious Man O’War Vineyard Tasting Room, only $35 including a glass of wine. What a steal.
Finally, become a Friend of the Festival which gives you early access to bookings and allows you to book more walks, plus you will receive a free ticket to the finale. Friend of the Festival bookings are now open.
What: The Waiheke Walking Festival
When: Friday 15 to Sunday 24 November
Where: The glorious island of Waiheke
Image credit: Mikey Mackinven