Easily accessible via a short 40 minute taxi ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has a micro-climate and relaxed feel. Getting around is easy with the option of taking a car ferry, or hiring a scooter or car over there.
Expect to pay around $60 to cross the island (8km) from the Ferry Terminal to the beach via taxi, but for only $9 you can get an all day bus pass which is much better value. Then, if you were to only get off the bus at one stop and wanted to visit as many wineries as possible, Onetangi Road clusters Te Motu, Stonyridge (for views and great cheese platters), and Wild on Waiheke together.
For a special meal, Casita Miro, is in Metro's top 50 in Auckland in 2014. Our host prompted us to try Sherry, Green Olives and Roasted Almonds, all of which were lovely. The fish and octopus were highlights.
Cable Bay is a final must-visit. The views from the lawn of Auckland City on a clear day are amazing.