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How to get to Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is one of Auckland’s real highlights.  An artsy community with fantastic scenery, wine and food, it’s no wonder that it is a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike.  Before you can begin your island adventure though, you’ll need to know how to get to Waiheke Island.

Fortunately, we’re here with every possible way of getting to Waiheke Island!

Whether you’re travelling to the island on a budget or are keen to blow the bank on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this guide will help you decide exactly how to get to Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island is a perpetual favourite amongst people of all backgrounds.  It frequently tops the list of must-see attractions in Auckland.

Home to some of the best restaurants in New Zealand, fantastic eco-tourism activities, stunning beaches (they’ve got over 92 square kilometres of them!)  and a lovely laid-back vibe, there’s something for everyone on Waiheke.

Keen to visit an olive grove and take home some local produce?  No problem.

Want to tuck into an ice cream as you meander art galleries and seaside villages?  Waiheke has you covered.

Frequently rated as one of the top island escapes in the world, it’s hard to believe that such an amazing destination is so easily accessible from New Zealand’s largest, busiest city.

With attractions for everyone and transport to suit all budgets and needs, Waiheke Island really is the perfect day trip from Auckland… or stay even longer, the choice is yours.

Best of all, it’s easy to get to and just as easy to travel around.

How to Get to Waiheke Island: Transport For All Budgets

Where is Waiheke Island?

Waiheke is an island in the Hauraki Gulf.  It is directly accessible from downtown Auckland (along with other locations in the Auckland region), both by water and air. Public and private transport is available to help visitors enjoy this uniquely Kiwi island paradise.

The island is a popular getaway spot.  It is close to central Auckland but feels like a world away.

Some choose to make Waiheke a day trip, whilst others spend multiple days there; it really depends on how much you want to do there whilst visiting.

How to get to Auckland’s Most Popular Island

As there are a number of different ways to get to Waiheke, you’ll find something to suit your budget, departure point and needs.

The following guide breaks down all of the options available to get to Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island vineyard.

Travelling to Waiheke on a Budget

By far, the most common way to get to Waiheke is on the public ferry.  There are a few different options (that will also transport your car over, should you choose), but to keep the ferry ticket costs to a minimum, you may want to leave your car behind.

Ferries Departing Downtown Auckland

The main passenger ferry that takes travellers to Waiheke is Fullers.  They depart from downtown Auckland (also known as a Viaduct) and run frequently.  The direct service takes 40 minutes, whereas the service running via Devonport takes 50 minutes.  Passengers arrive at Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke.

The first sailing happens at 6 am most days, and journeys are frequent, occurring approximately every hour.  In the evening journeys are slightly less frequent, with the last sailing returning from Waiheke Island at 12.30 am (with the exception of Sundays and public holidays, when the latest boat leaves at 11 pm).

>>> Check the Fullers timetable to be sure of your schedule.

If you would like to include island transport within your ticket, it is possible to purchase an Explorer hop-on hop-off bus pass.  It is a fantastic service that includes commentary and transport to the majority of vineyards, beaches and attractions on the island.

To save money on your Fullers ticket, purchase your ticket through us in advance.  This will also allow you to bypass the ticket queue on the wharf.

Stopping Off at Devonport

Should you have some spare time on the way back, you may like to stop off at Devonport.  This gorgeous little seaside town has some fantastic cafes and shops, a great park for the kids and is the perfect place to stop for an ice cream.

If you do decide to get off in Devonport, you will just need to purchase an additional ticket from Devonport back to Auckland City (adults are $7.50, children are $4 and under 5s are free).  Stopovers in Devonport are not included in the price of your Auckland-Waiheke ticket but with the additional tickets being so affordable, there’s no reason not to stop off.

How to get to Waiheke Island by Ferry, Departing Devonport

Should you be based on the North Shore, it is possible to get a direct ferry to Waiheke Island from Devonport.  These services are not as frequent though (as not all sailings travel from the city via Devonport) so be sure to check their timetable for availability.

The prices are the same as the above departures from Auckland City and journeys take approximately 40 minutes.

Additional Connections

Staying out of town?  Ferry services are available from Half Moon Bay (Bucklands Beach), Hobsonville and a number of additional locations.  These ferries will transport you to the main ferry building in downtown Auckland, where you can then catch an onward sailing to Waiheke.  To check on current departure points and timetables, jump on the Fullers website.

Ferries Departing Half Moon Bay (Bucklands Beach)

If you’re based in South or South-East Auckland, you may find it faster to catch the ferry from Half Moon Bay Marina.  This service is operated by Sealink and drops passengers at Kennedy Point Marina.

Sailings are fairly frequent throughout the day, generally leaving every hour, on the hour, from 5 am until 6 pm.

Ferry Prices Half Moon Bay to Waiheke

The following prices are available online and include a discount of $1 for each adult (using the promo code ONLINEBKNGDISC which will automatically be applied).

If you would prefer to book in person, you will pay $1 extra for each adult ticket, whilst the other fares remain unchanged.

Sealink does not offer a discount for return tickets, but it is definitely possible to book two individual tickets to make a return journey.

Sealink Passenger Ferry PricesOne Way
Adult (16+)$23.50 to $26
Student/Senior$20 to $22
Child (5-15 years inclusive)$13 to $14
Infant (0-4 inclusive)$0
Gold AT Hop Cardholders$0

Please note, these prices do vary slightly based on the time you want to travel – you may pay up to $2.5 more for premium sailings.

Should you wish, you are also able to take your own car on the Sealink service.  There is an additional cost to do so, the details of which follow.

Sealink ferry - a boat that travels to Waiheke Island.
Photo: Sealink.

Travelling to Waiheke With Your Own Car

If you would prefer to take your own car or transport to Waiheke island, you can do so from Half Moon Bay with Sealink.  The ferry operating from downtown Auckland does not transport vehicles.

Again, sailings are frequent, running approximately every hour between 5 am and 6 pm. Vehicles are allowed on every sailing, but again we suggest you consult the ferry timetable and book your spot ahead of time.

If booking in person, you will pay $5 extra for each car pass, whilst the price for a motorbike remain unchanged.

You will also need to account for any passengers accompanying your vehicle, as above.

Sealink Vehicle Ferry PricesOne Way
Car$118 to $129

How to get to Waiheke Island Like a High-Roller

Take Off in a Seaplane

If you’re keen to arrive in style, why not charter a seaplane?

With incredible views of Auckland, this is so much more than pure transport.  A scenic flight for high-rollers, you’ll have no shortage of snaps for your Instagram feed!

As you’ll be travelling by seaplane, you’ll have plenty of options in regard to where you land on the western side of the island (including Oneroa, Kennedy Point and Matiatia.)

Departing from downtown Auckland (the Viaduct to be exact), you’ll either book a guaranteed departure (with 4+ people) or will be able to request to join another group.  If you’re travelling in a smaller group, you can pay a small supplement to ensure your group of 2 or 3 will be able to depart; regardless of whether another group is able to join you or not.  Tickets start at $200 per adult.

Enjoy a Helicopter Transfer

If you’re looking for the perfect anniversary or birthday treat (or perhaps even a surprise engagement), a number of Auckland companies offer helicopter transfers to Waiheke.

Imagine the smile on their face as you land VIP-style, directly on the front yard of the vineyard where you’ll go on to enjoy a world-class multi-course lunch or dinner.

Though it is possible to book a scenic transfer, most people who choose to visit Waiheke by chopper, tend to book a package that includes lunch (starting from approximately $600 each).

Heletranz, Inflite and Advanced Flight all offer packages that include helicopter transfers and fine dining (or activities).

Should you wish to treat someone special in your life, this really is the way to do it!

A black helicopter that travels to Waiheke Island.

Alternative Transport Options to Waiheke

Set Sail Yourself

It is possible to travel to Waiheke by private boat.  If you have your own boat, or know somebody that does, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t get yourself over to the island.

The island is home to countless bays and coves, all of which are perfect to explore by boat once you arrive.  You’ll also find amazing vineyards (like Man O’War) right down on the waterfront.

Imagine setting anchor and popping straight over to a stunning water-front vineyard for lunch!

Hire a Charter Boat and Head Over

If you’re not fortunate enough to own your own boat, and you can’t twist someone’s arm to make the journey, charter boats are available for Waiheke Island transfers.  You’ll find services that range from a simple transfer right through to the private use of luxury yachts.

Depending on your needs, you might decide to jet straight over or, alternatively,  ask the captain to take his time.  A spot of sightseeing and fishing on the way over sounds like the perfect day out to me!

Though it wouldn’t be the most common way to get to the island, if you’re keen to get a group together and enjoy a day in the sun, this could be a great option for you.

Boats and yachts docked in Waiheke Island harbour viewed from top.

Waiheke Island is widely considered one of the best parts of Auckland to visit. With frequent and affordable transport options, it is within the reach of all visitors to New Zealand.

Now you know how to get to Waiheke Island, you’ll need to be sure to organise a visit to this stunning quintessentially Kiwi spot!

Don’t miss out on the wine-tasting tour as Waiheke Island is renowned for its world-class vineyards and wineries. And if you love walking, there are scenic trails that showcase the island’s natural beauty, too.

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