Waiheke Island’s annual, and hugely popular, walking festival is coming up and it’s bigger and better than ever, so dig out your hiking boots, get some mates together and start your stretches!
What is the Waiheke Walking Festival?
Now in its eleventh year, the Waiheke Walking Festival is this year an 18-day event offering a huge range of walks from 11 – 29 November 2020.
The walks vary in length from a couple of hours to a few days and offer various levels of effort to ensure all abilities and interests are catered for. You’ll find photography walks, music, conservation, fitness, history, story telling and even booze walks!
Josh Emmett and Oyster Inn are leading a 6km oyster and bubbles walk from Oneroa Beach this year. There’s a 4km Brewer’s Loop from Onetangi Sports Park with beer tastings along the way, and a gin and tonic making walk with high tea and bubbles ending at Batch Winery.
How fit do you need to be?
Many walks are family-friendly and not strenuous, while some of the walks end up at Waiheke’s vineyards to allow participants to enjoy the local food and wine on offer. There are beach clean ups and scavenger hunts for the kids, some are dog friendly, there’s even a nine-day walk covering 10-12km per day.
How much does it cost?
Most of the walks are free, but as numbers are limited you’ll need to register as soon as tickets are released (see below about becoming a Friend of the Festival) as they fill up quickly. Several walks are in the $20-$35 bracket and one is $450 for 3-day walk with accommodation.
How many people can join each walk?
With COVID-19 now a reality in our world, walks will be operating at a limited capacity of walkers this year. But to counter the smaller number on each walk, the festival is longer in duration and some of the more popular walks are repeated more than once. See details for each walk here >
Becoming a Patron or a Friend ($100) of the Festival will assist with early access (starting from September 17th) for booking your choice of walks, helping to increase your chance of getting onto the walks you want to.
A few Waiheke Walking Festival highlights…
Onetangi Progressive Lunch Walk – This year the walk offers two date options at different restaurants, hitting some of the best food spots on Waiheke Island. Eat and drink at Casita Miro, Tantalus Estate and Three Seven Two on Thursday 12th November ($110) or Obsidian, Shed at Te Motu and Three Seven Two on Thursday 26th November. Both walks are from 10am – 4pm ($95).
5-Day Te Ara Hura 100km Walk – This five day, 100km Te Ara Hura walking adventure which will see you circumnavigate Waiheke. Tackling 5-7 hours of walking every day at a moderate pace, you’ll get stunning views of Waiheke Island throughout the 20km stretches you’ll be doing each day. Wednesday 25th – 29th November ($150).
Mindfulness in Whakanewha – This two-hour walk will invigorate the mind and body. Walkers will experience how to use their senses with intent and connect them with nature and themselves. The medium grade walk will finish with spectacular views and a delicious, specially priced optional lunch and bubbles at Batch Winery. To ensure the experience is intimate and connected, bookings will be limited to max 30 people for this walk, happening on Tuesday 17th November, 10am – 12pm ($35).
ASTRONZ Night Sky Walk – This is a fantastic non-walking opportunity for an evening of astronomical adventure for all ages. View the night sky through telescopic equipment and hear fascinating information about what twinkles above from the experts at Astronz and Dark Sky Waiheke Island. Dress warmly and bring along a sense of wonder, Saturday 21st November, free to all walkers, bookings required.
Wild Herbal Gin and Tonic Walk – Join local Helen Elscott, well known medical herbalist, and gin maker, for the Wild Herbal Gin and Tonic Walk. Helen, from the popular Botanical’s Distillery, will lead walkers for a wander in Whakanewha Regional Park. The experience will then finish with a gin masterclass, high tea and bubbles at Batch winery, on Tuesday 24th November 1-4pm ($95).
Shrinrin-Yoku Forest Bathing Walk – Accredited nature and forest therapy guide, Gabrielle Young will host a forest bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) experience in Goodwin Reserve. Walkers will get the chance to slow down, connect with nature, become mindful, and open their senses during this special two-and-a-half-hour experience. The Forest Bathing Walk will take place Wednesday 25th November, from 9:30am – 12:30pm, and is free for participants, but must be booked prior to arrival.
Whakanewha Photograhpy Walk with Peter Rees – For moderately experienced amateur photographers, let brilliant landscape photographer Peter Rees guide you through beautiful Whakanewha Park sharing tips and ideas to further develop your photographic skills. Sunday 29th November, 10am-12pm, free to participants with bookings mandatory.
So, grab a group of friends, put the dates aside and use the festival as a good excuse to become healthier and fitter, and support local, whilst having fun! Head to the website for the programme, booking information and to sign up to the e-newsletter for updates. Tickets to the general public go on sale Thursday October 1st
See the full programme of Waiheke Walking Festival walks >