Ten things to miss about Waiheke Island


  1. The crisp top layer of sand on Onetangi beach and the way your feet sink through its slight resistance into the soft sand underneath. It reminds me of the sensation of biting into a genuine Italian semifreddo ice cream; it’s that kind of feeling – but on your feet instead of in your mouth. Sweet.
  2. The saltiness of seawater. I always forget about that because I spend most of my swimming life in indoor pools, but the sea is very salty in the nicest possible way.  Buoyant. Tangy.  Delightful.
  3. Watching the ever-changing patterns that wind and tide make across the surface of the sea. It produces mysterious and entirely transient layers and streaks of colour, from bright teal to soft silvery grey. I could watch moving water for hours at a time. And sometimes I almost do.
  4. The call of the tui  – Woodside Bay tui don’t imitate the sound of microwaves or car alarms, they only produce that characteristic liquid gurgle.  It’s lovely. They splash around in our birdbath in the late afternoon, too, which is even lovelier.
  5. Pukeko. I know: farmers hate them and they can be a general rural nuisance, but they have a firm place in my heart: the sheer absurdity of them. And oh! baby pukeko, all fluffy feathers and staggering on unreliable and uncontrolled long red legs.
  6. Kumera. Not any of the recent varieties, please – only the old fashioned purple kind that my Uncle Clive used to grow which are a taste and texture sensation. You can sometimes buy kumera at the shop under New Zealand House in London – the word goes out when a shipment arrives. But sometimes isn’t really enough.
  7. Hand-reared cattle in the field next to the house, all turning their heads in synchrony when they hear the farmer’s truck bumping down the track. They look like Wimbledon spectators.
  8. The view.
  9. The view.
  10. The view.

    6 Responses to “Ten things to miss about Waiheke Island”

    1. Pat Buoncristiani Says:

      I understand the sense of leaving things behind. The comforting thought is that they remain and will again entrance you when you return. The first glimpse of the ocean at Pt Leo never fails to make me gasp and I have been seeing it almost every year for almost three decades.

    2. admin Says:

      Yes. There’s something wonderful about knowing what will move your heart and spirit the most, and then seeing it again. The unanswerable qsn remains: would you still love it as passionately if you had it always? I THINK the answer must be yes …

    3. Lucille Says:

      How can you bear to leave? It is soooo cold here. But bright. It is bright. And the days are lengthening. I must be more positive.

    4. admin Says:

      Today’s the day and I don’t know that I CAN bear to leave! I may just go and sit on the beach with the cattle.

    5. mary mccallum Says:

      Stay, stay…

    6. admin Says:


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