Waiheke Island named in Lonely Planet's top five

Auckland's island paradise, Waiheke Island, has been recognised as a top destination to visit in 2016.

Auckland’s Waiheke Island has been named one of the world’s top 10 regions for next year in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016 publication.

The travel bible has dubbed the island the “playground of the gods” in the 11th edition of the book which covers the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.

Mayor Len Brown says, “Aucklanders have always known Waiheke Island is one of the jewels in our crown and this accolade from one of the world’s leading travel authorities only echoes that sentiment.

“In 2014 Auckland was named in the top 10 as one of the world’s best cities and it’s fantastic to now have Waiheke singled out as the only Australasian region to make the list,” he says.

The news comes after Conde Nast Traveler included Waiheke Island on the Best Islands in the World List released last week. 

The Top 10 Regions 2016 were independently nominated by the authors, staff and travel community of Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel media company.

The chapter on Waiheke Island was written by Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher who has long been a fan of the region as a whole but made special mention of Ecozip Adventures, Mudbrick, Cable Bay, Oyster Inn, Wild On Waiheke and Fullers Vineyard Hopper.

“The secret is out and in 2016, Waiheke Island is welcoming the world to sample from its abundant offering and inviting all visitors to fall under its spell,” writes Mr Zeiher.

“Waiheke is an electric, heady mix set against a Buddha Bar soundtrack: fast yet slow all at the same time – there’s nowhere else on earth quite like it.”

Waiheke Island is just a short and scenic 40-minute ferry ride from the centre of Auckland’s central business district. Surrounded by the waters of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Waiheke Island has been a long-time haven for free spirits and Auckland families on beach holidays. 

It is also a favourite island get-away for Aucklanders attracted by beautiful white sandy beaches and historic sites, a thriving food scene, an eclectic mix of artists, an extensive list of boutique and luxury accommodation, brazen architectural delights and some of New Zealand’s most coveted vineyards and wineries.

Waiheke Island may be New Zealand’s third-most populated island but with a permanent population of around 9,000 and only 92km2 land area, it’s hardly overcrowded.