GETTING THERE By Plane Waiheke Air Services, Reeve Airfield, Gordons Road, Waiheke (& 0800/372-5000 in NZ or 09/372-500; www.waiheke airservices.co.nz), has daily flights between Waiheke and Auckland, Ardmore, Thames, and Coromandel. They also offer scenic flights from NZ$25 (US$14) per person.
By Ferry Fullers Ferries (& 09/367-9111; www.fullers.co.nz) offer regular service from downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island, with 20 sailings daily, departing from Pier 2, Quay St., in central city. Most sailings are met by buses, shuttles, and taxis. The Fullers trip takes 35 minutes and costs around NZ$25 (US$14) round-trip for adults and NZ$12.50 (US$6.90) for children.
Subritzky (& 09/534-5663; www.subritzky.co.nz) is the passenger and vehicular ferry that leaves from Half Moon Bay, Pakuranga. In late 2003, it added a brand-new vessel to its fleet, carrying 500 passengers and 50 cars; its addition means ferries now run every hour. The fee is NZ$130 (US$72) round-trip for a car and driver. Passengers without cars pay about NZ$12 (US$6.60) one-way. There are daily departures between 6am and 6pm. Reservations are essential.
By Tour Fullers Waiheke Island Explorer Tour^jf (& 09/367-9111) gives you the option of being met on the island by a bus and taken on one of four 1 hour to all-day tours. An excellent option if you're short on time. It departs daily at 10am and costs NZ$46 (US$25) for adults, NZ$23 (US$13) for children 5 to 15 years old.
ORIENTATION The island is approximately 19km (12 miles) long and has 90km (56 miles) of coastline, 40km (25 miles) of which is white-sand beaches. Oneroa is the largest shopping village on Waiheke and is a 15- to 20-minute uphill walk from Matiatia Wharf, where the passenger ferries dock. It's a 10-minute drive from the Kennedy Point Wharf, where the vehicular ferry docks. This western end of the island has the most settlement around Sandy and Enclosure Bays and Palm Beach. Ostend and Surfdale also have shops and cafes.
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