August 16, 2022


Waiheke Island is about a 40-minute ferry ride off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand. The 12-mile-long island is dotted with multi-million dollar mansions, vineyards, and seafood galore.

A vineyard on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

A vineyard on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

Monica Humphries / Insider



I landed in Auckland, New Zealand, with only a few days left.

When I started chatting with the locals and looking for a way to spend that precious extra time, Waiheke Island came up constantly.

A couple in a bar urged me to visit the many wineries on the island. Another woman thought I might enjoy the island’s pristine beaches. If you’re into history, a guy told me he thinks the abandoned WWII island reserve is worth a visit.

I was convinced. Obviously, others do as well. The island, which is inhabited by about 10,000 residents, receives 900,000 visitors every year, according to Auckland Council.

Waiheke Island has also earned a reputation as The Hamptons of New Zealand for its multi-million dollar mansions and wealthy vacationers like Bill Gates, Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, according to Vogue magazine.

After hearing Waiheke promote its wine, scenery, and fame, I set out to spend a couple of nights exploring the island myself.



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