New Zealand Walks: Waiheke Walking Festival offers 50 guided walks
Ranked consistently as one of the top five islands in the world to visit, Waiheke Island surely must be on every New Zealander’s bucket list – a tropical island with its own micro climate and all just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland.
Waiheke is famous for award winning wine and restaurants, beautiful beaches and views that simply take your breath away.
In amongst all this is a small community of 8000 that takes pride in their natural landscape and who want to showcase its beauty to likeminded visitors.
With more than 100kms of stunning walkways spanning the entire island, a walking holiday really is the best way to experience the true magic of the Island.
The Waiheke Walking Festival was created in 2010 with this goal in mind. Held over nine days in November each year it is the largest free walking festival in New Zealand.
This year’s programme (18-26 November 2017), is packed with walks for almost all ages and abilities.
There are fifty guided walks covering a wonderful range of topics, some crossing private land, and all include a fantastic and fun group of local volunteers. This formula creates the perfect walking holiday recipe for all.
Here are a few of the walks that caught our attention.
For those after a challenge, why not consider the five day 100km Te Ara Hura adventure that circumnavigates the
Island. All shuttle transfers are sorted, there is no need to carry more than a day pack and accommodation options are available.
Or join Festival ambassadors Sir Graham Henry and his lovely wife Raewyn as they guide you around their special patch of the island.
Perhaps a fast paced morning walk through Onetangi’s Vineyard valley followed by an afternoon spent winery hopping is more to your liking? Or an art themed walk followed by lunch overlooking Oneroa Bay?
The Waiheke Walking Festival gives you the opportunity to be one of the first to experience a new walkway through bush at the Eastern end of the island on the shores of Te Matuku Bay. These walks are bound to be a highlight of the festival based on our sneak peek of this fantastic new track.
Another amazing first for the festival. Join expert guide Louise Marra, normally found on the Camino Trail, as she takes you on a two day inner and outer journey of discovery that explores both spectacular coastline and peaceful bush areas of the island.
Or how about a special one-off festival coastal walk with a mouth-watering dinner at an award winning restaurant? Festival organisers know that walking is only part of the adventure and work with local businesses to provide fantastic specials exclusively for Festival walkers.
They have a motto on Waiheke, “Slow down, you’re here” and that is what the Waiheke Walking Festival does best.
Plan your November walking adventure now, bookings open 1 October. Or better yet, become a Friend of the Festival, you will get early bird booking privileges whilst providing some essential support for this free event.
For all the details visit www.waihekewalkingfestival.org.
The Waiheke Walking Festival is proud to have Ray White Waiheke as presenting partner for the 2017 Festival and would also like to thank the Waiheke Local Board and major sponsors Stay Waiheke, Fullers and Macpac for their support. Dates: 18 – 26 November 2017 www.waihekewalkingfestival.org.
Below left: The group on an uphill section on the Man O War Magic Walk.
Above: On the Man O War Magic Walk they meet the locals.
Below right: Climbing up a sand path on the Oxfam Trailwalker: Te Ara Hura 100km 4 day walk.
Above: Walking down a road with a beautiful view of boats moored.
Middle: A large group on the Man O War Magic Walk.
Below: Walking around Omaru Bay on the Fit Waiheke: Omaru Bay Dazzler Walk.