Waiheke Island is an idyllic retreat just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, surrounded by the glistening waters of the Hauraki Gulf. It has a deliciously balmy climate, often warmer and sunnier than the nearby mainland, thus making it a lovely spot to unwind for a couple of days. The coastline is blessed with numerous picturesque coves that provide a protected mooring spot for sailing boats, and several beautiful golden sand beaches which are ideal for swimming. The rolling inland hills are scattered with grapevines and indeed a few of New Zealand’s most famous vineyards – Stonyridge, Mudbrick and Man o’ War – are found here. The small size of Waiheke means that you can see most of it in a day or two, with plenty of walking and cycling trails and interesting historical sights. There is also a vibrant arts scene here with a couple of significant galleries in the main town of Oneroa and a number of other open studios dotted around the island. Rent a car on arrival and explore at your own pace or join one of the excellent local tours; however you approach it, Waiheke is sure to enchant you.