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4 Best Waiheke Wineries To Visit from Auckland

4 Best Waiheke Wineries To Visit from Auckland

Calling all wine lovers! If you want to sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines, visiting the Waiheke Island wineries is one of the best things to do in Auckland.

Waiheke Island is close to Auckland’s sprawling metropolis and yet a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a destination that Aucklanders head to for some chill-out time amongst the vineyards scattered around the island.

Whether you visit the island for a day or longer, you are spoilt for choice with over 30 boutique wineries to sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines.

This post highlights the four Waiheke vineyards I visited in New Zealand during my round-the-world trip. I hope it will give you an idea of what to do on Waiheke and why you should add these unmissable wineries to your Auckland travel itinerary.

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How do you get to Waiheke Island from Auckland?

A 40-minute ferry ride will take you from Auckland to Waiheke Island for a fun-filled day of vineyard hopping and wine tasting. If you are looking for an easy day trip from Auckland, this is the perfect one as it is nearby.  

Auckland viewed from the Waiheke ferry.
Three white sailing boats moored at the bottom of Waiheke Island.

What to do at the wineries on Waiheke Island

There are 30 wineries in Waiheke, ranging from the Goldie Estate, the oldest Waiheke vineyard established in 1978, to younger and smaller vineyards using new technology to produce modern wines. In total, there are over 100 vineyards spread out across the island, 75 of which are owned by Man ‘O’ War Winery. Their wine-tasting room is the only one in New Zealand with a beachfront position.

All the wineries have tasting rooms, and some have restaurants or cafes. A few of the larger wineries also provide luxury accommodation.

Cellar-door wine tasting costs approximately NZD 3 – NZD 8 per glass, meaning visiting the Waiheke wineries and vineyards is an affordable experience that most budgets can afford!

How do you visit the wineries on Waiheke?

Option One – Drive around the island by car

If you have a member of your party who is happy to drive (and not drink), hire a car for the day. This is a fabulous option as you can explore wherever you want on Waiheke.

We had our friend Steve, an Aucklander, as our designated driver, and he was happy to take us around.

He had pre-booked a rental car, and once we arrived at the Waiheke ferry terminal and picked up the car, we were good to go.

If you are travelling around New Zealand on a road trip, you can take your car to Waiheke Island on the Sealink car ferry from Auckland. Remember, though, that you must never drink and drive and will therefore have to miss out on the wine tastings.

Bringing your car is probably only cost-effective if you stay on the island for a few nights and use it for sightseeing away from the vineyards. Otherwise once you are off the ferry, you can grab buses and local taxis to Waiheke’s vineyards.

Option Two – Use the island’s hop-on-hop-off bus

Book a combined ferry and hop-on-hop-off bus ticket, which allows you to visit 16 winery destinations during your visit. The bus is easy to use, and you won’t have to worry about drinking and driving.

Option Three – Join a day tour from Auckland

Book one of the Waiheke Island Wine Tours and let someone else do all the driving.

 

What is a Cellar Door?

If you are unfamiliar with wine terminology and haven’t visited wineries before, you might wonder what a cellar door is.

It sounds like an entrance to a dank and dismal underground labyrinth full of cobwebs, but you couldn’t be further from the truth.

The term “cellar door” comes from when wine samples were first offered for tasting from winery premises.

Nowadays, a cellar door refers to the experience of tasting varieties of wines in a vineyard setting. So, if you see one of the Auckland wineries offering cellar door tastings, you know what a delightful experience awaits.

What is a Wine Flight?

A flight is a term winemakers use to describe a selection of wines. A flight is usually between three and eight glasses, presented for sampling and comparison. 

Craft brewers can use the term similarly, so it becomes a beer flight.

However, it does not refer to a plane flight on which you are served wine for the entire journey – sorry!

four wines, reds and whites, ready for tasting.

Now you know how to get to the Waiheke vineyards, it is time to share with you the four best Waiheke wineries we visited on our day trip from Auckland.

Waiheke Wineries Map

My Favourite Waiheke Island Wineries

Mudbrick Winery Estate

Address: 126 Church Bay Road, Waiheke Island, Oneroa 1971, New Zealand

Opening Times: Daily from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Mudbrick Tastings: South Island Tasting: $20 for four wines, Limited Release Tasting: $24 for three wines, Flagship Tasting: $45 for six wines.

view to sea across tended gardens from Mudbrick Winery.

This iconic New Zealand winery has no shortage of delectable wines. From merlot to chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and Syrah, there is plenty of choice for all wine connoisseurs.

Mudbrick is also home to one of the most popular restaurants in Waiheke. It is set in beautiful terraced gardens with views of the harbour and Auckland city. You can explore the grounds and vineyards whether or not you dine there.

Unfortunately, we could not dine as we hadn’t made a prior restaurant reservation, which we found necessary. However, we still enjoyed exploring the grounds and taking in the scenery.

Mudbrick also boasts numerous accommodation options. You can stay in one of their luxury cottages and enjoy the best sunsets on Waiheke from your porch.

Area with topiary trees an lavender plants with orange and white sun umbrellas on patio.
Angie and young man standing on the grass with view of ocean and volcanic mountain in the background.

Cable Bay Winery Estate

Address: 12 Nick Johnstone Drive, Oneroa, Auckland 1840, New Zealand

Opening Times: Daily from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Pricing details for Cable Bay Tastings and Winery Experiences.

grassy area with views to the ocean and small islands in the ocean.

A few minutes down the road from Mudbrick, we visited another upscale Waiheke winery – Cable Bay.

If you thought the views were stunning at Mudbrick, you’re in for yet another treat!

The tastings were very affordable, which meant we could indulge in our favourite New Zealand sauvignon blanc outside on the beautiful patio that overlooks the bay; such a magical setting and the reason most visitors to the island end up here.

Cable Bay Vineyards has had much success with its wines, producing mostly white wines (our favourites are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Viognier).

Some reds are also produced here (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, and Syrah).

They have two award-winning restaurants: one formal – The Dining Room and one casual – The Veranda. As with Mudbrick, restaurant bookings should be made in advance as it can get busy in high seasons.

Stonyridge Winery Estate

Address: 80 Onetangi Road, Waiheke Island, Auckland 1971, New Zealand

Opening Times: Daily from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Wine Tasting Flights: Standard Tasting is $20 for three wines, and Premium Tasting is $35 for three wines, including a glass of award-winning LaRose.

People sitting on a decked area with black and white umbrellas and a huge palm tree and with bean bag cushions on the grass.

This was probably my favourite of all the Waiheke wineries. We stayed here for lunch in the beautiful outdoor space. The wine tastings here range from NZD 6 to NZD 10 and can be enjoyed on the patio.

We opted for Stonyridge chardonnay and accompanied it with a tasty charcuterie platter. We spent a few hours relaxing with our friends on the deck before wandering through the vines and enjoying the sunshine.

While we were there, a helicopter landed on the estate. We later learned that this is a way to arrive on Waiheke Island for a luxury experience or to celebrate a special occasion. If you don’t want to land, you can book a scenic 30-minute helicopter tour around Auckland and Waiheke Island.

Stonyridge is often referred to as one of the top ten wineries in the world after its 1987 Larose was named one of the best reds ever produced in New Zealand. This is even more reason to put it on your Waiheke wine trail itinerary!

Black helicopter sitting on grass.
three bottles of red wine with labels saying LaRose Stonyridge Vineyard, Waiheke Island 2018.

Wild on Waiheke Winery Estate and Brewery

Address: 82 Onetangi Road, Waiheke Island, Auckland 1971, New Zealand.

Opening Times: See information on the Wild Waiheke Website.

Wine and Beer Tasting: from $3 per glass.

Just up the road from Stonyridge Vineyards, you’ll find a fun Waiheke Island winery spot, Wild on Waiheke.

It is more casual than the other three wineries we had previously visited and had a vast outdoor space with archery held amidst the vines and cool lawn games like bean bag toss (we found we all had quite a competitive streak).

Wine tastings are between NZD 3 and NZD 8; however, if you fancy a change from wine, the original Waiheke Wild Brewery offers a selection of home-brewed craft beers. 

The men in our group opted for the Wild on Waiheke craft beers flight and gave them the thumbs up!

Wild On Waiheke has great lunch and dinner options, from plates and platters to grazing boards, perfectly complimenting the wine selections.

We sat in the garden to enjoy our drinks, but should you want to dine indoors, there is a lovely bar and restaurant area.

sign saying Wild on Waiheke.

Other Waiheke Wineries on the Island

Jurassic Ridge Vineyard

This vineyard stands out because it only produces organic wines. The owner is a professor who does all the work by hand. The secret to his yield is that instead of using oak barrels to age his wine, he uses terracotta pots, a method used over 6,000 years ago. The cellar door opens Wed-Sun.

Tantalus Vineyard is in the heart of Waiheke Island’s Onetangi Valley and is one of the finest vineyards on the island. Relax in the airy restaurant nestled within the vines, savour a crisp white, or visit the underground lounge for a home-brewed craft beer or a cocktail.

Kennedy Point Vineyard is the only certified organic vineyard on Waiheke and is set amongst 300-year-old pohutukawa trees. Delicious local oysters, cheeses, and smoked salmon are the perfect combination, and they can accompany a cellar-door wine-tasting experience.

Where can you stay on Waiheke Island?

Some larger wineries have accommodations if you want to stay on the island overnight. There are also various sensational places to stay on Waiheke Island, including BnBs and private rentals.

grey slate sign with words saying This Way and an arrow pointing in one direction.

What to do on Waiheke Island (besides the wineries)

Walk around Waiheke

The Art Trail Walk is a leisurely 3k walk from the ferry terminal.

A longer trail is The Northern Walk, a 2-3 hour walk perfect for those wanting to see and discover as much of Waiheke as possible without wandering too far from the passenger ferry terminal.

You can download the Walk Waiheke Te Ara Hura leaflet for further information on walking routes.

Zipline in Waiheke

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, this is your pastime!

Whizz across the vineyards with the Waiheke Ziplining Company. It is a fun experience for all the family.

Relax on a beach in Waiheke

Be ready to discover some of New Zealand’s best beaches on Waiheke Island.

My favourite was the Oneroa beach in the main town. It has miles of golden sand lined with pohutukawa trees, which offer shade on hot days.

This beach is perfect for unwinding with friends and family. I wonder which beach will be your favourite?

Angie sitting on a bench looking at the ocean on Oneroa Beach.

All good things have to end, and after a fantastic day full of wine, food and good company, it was time to return our rental car to the ferry terminal and board the ferry for our return to Auckland City.

I hope to return to this beautiful, unspoilt island in the Pacific Ocean one day, but until then, Au Revoir Waiheke!

view of Waiheke Island and moored sailing boats from the ferry.
New Zealand Flag at the back of the Waiheke ferry.

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Georgina

Friday 18th of December 2020

Wow! What spectacular views. I like the idea of doing a tour and have someone else do the driving - I am yet to visit New Zealand and look forward to doing a winery tour when I visit.

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 18th of December 2020

I hope you get there at some point in the future - it is a magical country with so much to see and do and some amazing wineries!

Sue

Friday 18th of December 2020

This looks & sounds amazing! I love a wine tour but having someone willing to drive & doing it yourself feels so much more relaxing! The views here are spectacular. I didn't visit this island when I was in New Zealand (to be honest, I didn't spend a lot of time on the North Island) but will definitely be adding it to my list when I return. Cheers!

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 18th of December 2020

I would recommend it Sue. I hope you got to do some wine tasting in Marlborough.

Aditi Sharma

Friday 18th of December 2020

This sounds like such a relaxing experience. After exploring Auckland, taking the ferry to spend some time at the vineyard on Waiheke Island sounds ideal. I really like the option of booking the combined ferry and hop-on-hop-off bus ticket for exploring the island since we generally prefer to not rent cars on our travels.

Linda (LD Holland)

Thursday 17th of December 2020

We always love to visit wineries when we travel. I did not know that wine was a thing in New Zealand so it was great to get some recommendations on places to visit for a wine tasting trip on Waiheke Island. Good to know there are some options for doing the wine tasting. Although I like the option of staying on the island to wine taste and explore. Tastings, great restaurants, views and cottages to stay are all great reasons to add wine tasting to our New Zealand itinerary. 

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 18th of December 2020

I'm so glad my post allowed you to find out about NZ wines. Down on the South Island in Marlborough wineries and wine tasting is huge and a real tourist hotspot for that reason. Next time I get to NZ I will stay on Waiheke for a few nights to be able to slow down and do more tastings and meals. It is a beautiful place to visit.

Renata Green

Thursday 17th of December 2020

What a beautiful text full of summer and sunshine! I love wine - and I love visiting wineries - they make those rolling hills so pretty. These wineries sound really worth the visit - I haven't been to New Zealand yet but when I go, I'll make sure to visit. Are they also manufacturing other beverages - the drinks in the first pic looks like port wine. Do they distill anything similar?

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 18th of December 2020

They only distil wine to my knowledge of which there are many rich prize-winning New Zealand reds. As I mentioned in the post they also have a few wineries that have started brewing speciality beers on the island which has been popular over the last few years.