Oneroa, Waiheke Island
Every Saturday morning 8.00am - 1.00pm, the Island holds a community market at the RSA in Ostend.
Lots of gifts, arts and crafts, second-hand goods, and even entertainment, organic produce, books, plants, jewellery.
This is a popular activity on a Saturday morning, showing typical flair of a lot of Islanders.
Experience the character of Waiheke Island and it's people.
Lovely stretch of sand beach, a couple of unobtrusive hotels and one shop (along with private homes) is Palm Beach. And if you have come over the headland, you get a fabulous view. And you can catch the bus from the ferry (or Oneroa) to here.
Just round the headland from Oneroa is Hekerua Bay. This was my favourite spot on the island. Small bay with a few homes climbing up the hillside and the start of another coastal walk. (Take the bus towards Palm Beach from the ferry and ask for Hekerua Bay). You drop a 100 metres or so down a quite steep concreted path and find this incredibly beautiful spot.
The town is little more than a couple of streets, where a few reasonable restaurants, a couple of shops, loads of real estate offices (which doesn't bode well for the future), a gallery and tiny cinema are to be found. But all the time, your eyes are drawn to the water - and the Coramandel Peninsula (mainland NZ but across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland) in the distance.
Strangely, the main 'town' on the island, Oneroa, is to be found in the least interesting bay! This is probably due to the fact that the bay is sheltered, wide and shallow - no treacherous rocks. It also allows boats to drop anchor - and 000s of yachts are apparently to be found moored in the height of the season.
Verdant is an understatement for the island. And everywhere you go, you get amazing vistas of distant hills, coves, sky. This view is looking across towards Blackpool Beach, Surfdale and the mainland of NZ on the distant horizon.
As you come off the boardwalk, turn left, walk along the beach and head for the two wooden sheds at the end of the little bay. You'll see a wooden stake with the top painted yellow - this is the start and you'll follow the yellow-topped stakes all the way round to Oneroa. Its well marked. Fairly straightforward, well trodden path but it can get a bit strenuous at times - you are following the rocky coast-line afterall, so lots of ups and downs! Allow about 3 hours with plenty of stops for the view!
As you disembark from the ferry you have several options (its worth picking up the various leaflets and bus-timetables at the ferry point in Auckland and decide what you want to do before landing: buses are timetabled for the arrival and departure of the ferries - if you dither, the buses will have left for the various destinations round the island). There is an excellent little information centre at the ferry terminus though, especially if you have decided that you want to hire bikes, cars, go horse-riding etc...). All the buses go via Oneroa (the main village) and this is only 15 minutes walk away if you have missed it. There's a great 'walks' guide (7 different walks) that's useful if you fancy 'tramping' round the island, with a splendid one starting virtually at the ferry terminal.
And for all you naturists out there, Palm Beach also has a nudist part to it (the end closest to Oneroa).