September 2021 Newsletter
by the Festival management team | September 4, 2021
5th – 21st November  

Well, here we all are again in lockdown of one level or another.

Have you started walking regularly again thanks to these weeks in Alert Level 4? There’s no doubt we feel better after a walk around the neighbourhood, in the fresh air. And it’s great preparation for the Walking Festival, of course!

Our planning continues for November’s Festival.  However, as there’s no defined date for the Auckland region to return to Levels 1 or 2 – which is where we need to be to run the Festival – we’ve made a decision to delay the programme launch and booking dates. (Details below).

We haven’t taken this decision lightly, we know some of you will have made travel arrangements and are looking forward to seeing the programme.

There is uncertainty about the lockdown length and of possible changes to event and hospitality regulations, which could impact many of our procedures – from walk check-ins to the number of walkers on walks or in restaurants together.

We’re optimistic that we will be able to welcome you to the island in November for the world’s friendliest walking festival.

In the meantime … we hope you enjoy the newsletter, stay safe and keep walking.


The details:

  • The Festival Programme will not be published while Auckland remains in Alert Level 4 – we hope to publish it mid-September, fingers crossed!
  • Bookings will not open until there is certainty about when the Auckland region will move to Level 2
  • This is while we work on the possibilities and procedures to operate safely in Level 2, anticipating changes to government regulations from last year
  • We will let you know ASAP when bookings will openWe will send out information to keep you up to date a little more often over the month ahead


And now some good news:

  • Ray White Waiheke’s true connection to the Waiheke Walking Festival
  • Two sneak peaks at new walks
  • There’s some great news around Make Track’s community project
  • Get Fit for the Festival in 9 weeks. See our brand new training page by Sarah Gloyer
One of our favourite walk pictures – courtesy of Mark Lapwood
Ray White Waiheke … personal journeys and meaningful connections

Our presenting partner, Ray White Waiheke, loves walking as much as we do. Actually maybe more!

Here’s something you may not know … Matthew Smith heads up to the team at Ray White Waiheke and he once walked from Waiheke to Queenstown. Here are a couple of pics of his journey.


Well, he wanted to get out of his comfort zone and headspace, do something positive for his health and see this country of ours from a completely different perspective. And the crazy thing is – he’d do it again.

So that’s why we have a presenting partner like Ray White Waiheke – Matthew and his agents love walking, they love Waiheke and they want other people to enjoy walking our Island with Waiheke Walking Festival.

A new walk for this year’s Festival – it’s a little bit different and a definite slippery one for the kids … it’s all about eels!

We love Tanya Batt’s eel tales – walk in Awaawaroa Bay Eco Village and spend time in the eel sanctuary.  Tanya, our Island’s renowned storyteller, will weave stories around our endemic long finned eel and share its history with young and old alike. Gumboots are recommended for this one!

Sculptures and Gin anyone?

This is one especially for visitors to the island, and for those who can’t easily zip out to the eastern end. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be guided around the Connells Bay Sculpture Park by owners John and Jo Gow and walk over to the Waiheke Distilling Company to enjoy gin and tonics and platters … and those views.  This walk will be popular, and will tick a few boxes for some of you!

Make Tracks helping our kororā, kererū and kāruhiruhi

We asked for nominations for a worthy community project that Make Tracks, one of our major sponsors, could get stuck into over a day or two. Gary from Make Tracks will be working with Native Bird Sanctuary to help construct a path that will ring the seabird rehabilitation pool.

This path will also be bird friendly as kāruhiruhi (pied shag) and kororā (gosh I think we who live on Wiaheke know this is our little blue penguin!) can use it to access the pool and shade area.  We will keep you up to date with some pics from Make Tracks  – and thanks to Gary and the team for giving your time and mahi to this community project.


We have recently hosted a couple of journalists, with dish magazine being the latest.

Here’s a montage – as everyone loves a montage, right – of some pics of the Onetangi Progressive Walk we did just before lockdown.  You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day – and a delicious one at that!

We are working with 20 wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants and cafes to bring you mouth watering, tastebud tingling experiences over the Festival.

They might be looking to open soon like Postage Stamp Wines or the HEKE Kitchen and Garden Bar, or they might be places that have stamped their history on Waiheke’s hospitality scene. We know you’ll enjoy everything they have to offer!

Photo credit: Liam Carr
Get Fit for the Festival – it’s 9 weeks to go today!

Our own island fitness pro Sarah Gloyer from Trail Tribe has kindly given us 3 amazing fitness programmes, plus some festival “bulletproofing” exercises that will have you fighting fit before Nov 5th!

Choose from Festival Fit in 9 weeks, Next Level Up for the fitness walks, or the Te Ara Hura training programme – get ready for your 100km walk!

CLICK HERE to see the programmes

Thank you so much to Sarah for giving us these unique programmes to share with our walkers, just for the love of walking.



Happy walking everyone,
Your Festival Team and Waiheke Walking TrusteesVicki, Nicky, Anna, Tess, Linda, Mandy, Judy, and Sarah
To email us CLICK HERE
A BIG thank you to our Presenting Partner 
Ray White Waiheke, and our Principal Funders – Patrons of the Waiheke Walking Trust and the Waiheke Local Board, and to our Major Sponsors Treescape, Make Tracks and Fullers360 for your continued support of the Festival in 2021.
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We couldn’t run this festival without the support of our Sponsors, Funders and Supporters. The Waiheke Walking Festival would like to the thank you all. Support our supporters to show your thanks too.

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