Waiheke is one of the places that is billed as a top tourist attraction in the greater Auckland area. There are lovely beaches, wineries, olive plantations, and interesting little towns to explore once you take the 40 minute or so ferry ride across (which is lovely itself).
We took the bus out to Onetangi beach and had a bit of a look around. It's the far end of the bus line, and really quiet.
We wanted to check out another bay, but due to a little confusion about the busses, we wound up at Palm Beach. I think this was a lovely mistake.
Despite the huge boats parked just out in the bay, the beach was pretty quiet. We enjoyed some piping hot fish and chips, and a couple beers (brewed on the island) while soaking up the sun. Pretty epic. There was some napping, and some swimming, too. It was perfect - warm sun, brisk water, it really felt amazing.
We had a quick stop back in the main town of Oneroa before hitting the ferry back to town. Nice little place, but compared to the rest of the island, all hustle and bustle.
The ferry ride home might have been the unexpected gem of the day. We managed to depart right around sunset, and basically were heading right into it going to town.
What we figured out once we got out of the harbour was that we were going to get sunset over the Auckland skyline. I'd expect that you can pay top dollar for a sunset cruise in the harbour, and we scored it for free. Outstanding.
It was unbelievably windy, and hard to take low light pictures, but the idea is there. Top day, for sure.
One thing that I find really interesting about this island (and often the whole area) is how ot reminds me of so many of the Hawaiian islands. Between the vegetation, beaches, atmosphere, layout of communities, etc, it seems strangely familiar. A lot of folks here want to take holidays to Hawaii. We've certainly enjoyed ours in the past, and I hope to go back sometime, but I wonder of folks from this area would be surprised to find that there are a lot of parallels to home when they go?