Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

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Waiheke Island is in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, about 17.7 km (11.0 mi) from Auckland. It is the second-largest island in the gulf, after Great Barrier Island. It is the most populated, with nearly 8,730 permanent residents plus another estimated 3,400 who have second or holiday homes on the island.

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

It is New Zealand's most densely populated island, with 83.58 people/km², and the third most populated after the North and South Islands. It is the most accessible island in the gulf, with regular passenger and car ferry services, a Waiheke-based helicopter operator, and other air links.

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

The island is off the coast of the North Island. It is 19.3 km (12.0 mi) long from west to east, varies in width from 0.64 to 9.65 km (0.40 to 6.00 mi), and has a surface area of 92 km² (36 sq mi). The coastline is 133.5 km (83.0 mi), including 40 km (25 mi) of beaches. The port of Matiatia at the western end is 17.7 km (11.0 mi) from Auckland and the eastern end is 21.4 km (13.3 mi) from Coromandel. The much smaller Tarahiki Island lies 3 km (1.9 mi) to the east.

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

The island is very hilly with few flat areas, the highest point being Maunganui at 231 m (758 ft). The climate is slightly warmer than Auckland, with less humidity and rain and more sunshine hours. There are locations of interest to geologists: an argillite outcrop in Rocky Bay, and a chert stack at the end of Pohutukawa Point, considered as "one of the best exposures of folded chert in Auckland City".

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Waiheke has a resident population of 8,730 people (2011) with most living close to the western end, or near the isthmus between Huruhi Bay and Oneroa Bay, which at its narrowest is only 600 metres wide. The settlements of Oneroa and Blackpool are the furthest west, followed by Palm Beach, Surfdale, and Ostend. Further east lies Onetangi, on the northern coast of the wide Onetangi Bay. To the south of this on the opposing coast is Whakanewha Regional Park, Whakanewha, and Rocky Bay. Much of the eastern half of the island is privately owned farmland and vineyards.

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