The Boatshed, Waiheke Island review: An island of tranquillity

Read our writer's views on this property below

Guy Wilkinson trades a weekend in the city for the peace and quiet of an island getaway.

IT doesn't take long to clock Jonathan Scott as a perfectionist. Not in that uptight, snapping of fingers kind of way, more in his quietly considered tone and obvious attention to detail.

Dressed in pink chinos, boat shoes and a pressed blue shirt, Scott is giving me a tour of his back garden. It's not just any back garden though. Beneath drooping power lines where plant pots double as lampshades, we navigate a winding gravel bath flanked by explosive red canna flowers and snaking vines.

Inside a weathered wooden shed, rows of lovingly tended herbs grow in neat rows on trestle tables. They are just a small section of what has become a carefully cultivated vegie patch that feeds dozens of people every week.

A little over 10 years ago, this land was little more than overgrown weed and scrub. Then Scott had a dream.

That dream has led to one of the most stylish boutique properties in New Zealand. Built on land his family has owned for 35 years, The Boatshed is a luxurious five-suite hotel (with two external bungalows) born out of Scott's background in hospitality and his father's shared love of architecture and interior design.

But The Boatshed is hardly the only change to have taken place here on Waiheke Island. Located 18 kilometres east of Auckland, this was once a hippie sanctuary and mecca for alternative types before the introduction of regular ferry services in 1986 changed everything.

The result is a weird mix and those who still clearly cling to the hippie ideal now rub shoulders with filthy-rich investment tycoons. Just head to the local beachfront pub Charlie Farley's and you'll see bare-footed activists knocking back pints next to corporate warriors, yellow golf jerseys knotted around their shoulders.

Besides its practical purpose as resident Chef Tibor Matus' (aka Tibi) personal ingredient source, The Boatshed's garden is also just a stunning place to kick back and relax. Having escaped Sydney for a long weekend, my wife and I soak up the last rays of sun sitting in sun chairs outside a retro caravan before venturing inside for dinner.

Immediately, we're struck by the inherent sense of style throughout. Natural light floods in from a high ceiling above crisp, white weatherboard walls. Upholstered armchairs and inviting plump sofas are dotted around tables stacked with hardback coffee table books and flickering candles. There are coils of rope and fresh cut flowers; there's a faintly nautical theme but you never feel hit over the head with it.

Located on a bluff overlooking Oneroa Beach - just one of dozens of beaches on Waiheke - the outdoor deck is the perfect spot to watch the sunset with a cocktail.

As darkness sets in, we spend a glorious couple of hours just leafing through Scott's personal collection of photography, art and design books while sampling a few of the island's best varietals (the climate here lends itself to outstanding syrah).

Around us, a handful of other guests enjoy intimate conversations over candlelight, ponder their next move over a chessboard or, like us, simply recline with a book and a glass of wine. Though it is undeniably sophisticated, I'm struck by the lack of pretention."To see guests arrive, walk in the door and their shoulders drop is a great feeling," says Scott.

" Sometimes people just need a break from the day to day; couples want quality, private time just sitting and enjoying a quiet meal together where they don't need to make a decision, they don't have to dress up and there's no need for airs and graces."

When our food arrives in the form of perfectly grilled lamb cutlets and crunchy seasonal veg - straight from the garden - my mind briefly entertains the countless activities tomorrow may hold.

There are more than 30 boutique wineries we could explore, mountain bike rides, kayaking adventures, eccentric museums and tiny beachside art galleries. We could charter a fishing boat and cruise the Hauraki Gulf, take a day trip to a glow-worm cave or simply take a walk on a blustery headland.

But just a minute away, a private beach cottage with crisp white bed linen, an ocean view and sunken bathtub awaits. Something tells me we won't stray too far.

The writer was a guest of The Boatshed Waiheke.



Check out the 50-seat lounge Waiheke Island Community Cinema. Mismatched chairs and sofas, art house films and a glass of local wine enhance your viewing pleasure. See


Paddle into a lagoon or check out the outer islands from a kayak. See Alternatively, have a go at stand-up paddle boarding on a guided tour through secluded, rocky inlets surrounding the bay. See


There are more than 30 boutique wineries on the island. Hire a car or avoid the risk of drink driving and take a guided wine tour. See


Explore the pristine islands of the Hauraki Gulf by chartering a catamaran for a day or overnight cruise. White sand beaches, marine and birdlife are just part of the experience. See


You can choose from archery, laser claybird shooting and more on a vineyard setting. There's also an onsite brewery and cafe. See



Air New Zealand operates daily flights from Sydney to Auckland. Catch the Airbus from the airport to the ferry terminal for the 35-minute trip to Waiheke Island. Ferry tickets cost $NZ35 ($28), see for timetables.


The Boatshed has rooms from $NZ765 a night double\twin (to April 30); $NZ685 a night, double/twin (May 1 to Sept 30). Includes daily breakfasts, on island transfers and all local taxes. See