A hike around Waiheke Island’s Headlands walk is a good way to work up an appetite, especially with the lure of lunch at Cable Bay or Mudbrick wineries along the way.
What makes it even more attractive is that the start of the trail is just a few metres from the wharf at Matiatia Bay where the Auckand-Waiheke ferry docks every hour.
To reach the wineries, you need to first stroll along the beach at Matiatia Bay and follow the sign to Church Bay. It’s uphill from here for a bit but not for long; it soon becomes a gentle undulating path around the headland.
Standing atop the headlands on Waiheke Island gives you magnificent panoramic vistas looking out over the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland city. You’ll pass a few multimillion dollar baches, too.
This is also the beginning of the Te Ara Hura trail – a continuous 100km walking route linking tracks all over the island.
What’s great about the Te Ara Hura is that it’s a multi-day adventure, which you can choose to do in stages. We chose to stick to the headlands for our half-day visit to the island.
When you hop off the ferry at Matiatia Bay you can choose to take the left path which winds its way past impressive homes and Owhanake Bay to Oneroa Village; or walk along the beach at Matiatia Bay and up the hill towards Church Bay (the route we took). Walking both headlands takes about five hours.
We struck high tide, which meant being accompanied by the sound of the waves lapping against the shore mixed with tui birdsong. The blue-sky day made the walk uphill even more picturesque and provided the perfect backdrop for palm trees dotting the landscape and views from the headland.
When we did the walk, there were impassable slips along part of track around the headlands in both directions (caused by torrential rain on Waiheke in March 2017) but there are clearly mapped workarounds that enable you to re-join the track.
We made it to Church Bay before a detour turned us back to Cable Bay vineyard – one of the island’s many wineries. It was the perfect place to stop for lunch and a glass of local wine after a leisurely hike.
The land around Church Bay is now largely planted with grapes. Waiheke Island has 216 hectares of vineyards which is why it’s also known as the “island of wine”.
Getting back to the ferry is an easy 30-minute downhill walk.