Ananda Tours connecting visitors with the Waiheke community
Visitors to Auckland’s largest suburb, Waiheke Island, are treated with lush beaches, world-class vineyards and incredible ocean view walks. But to get a truly unique (memorable) experience, you need to get off the beaten track and meet the locals.
The Ananda Tours team can provide you just that. For the past 22 years they been providing tour experiences showcasing the very best of the island’s best kept secrets. The team is made of born, bred and passionate locals who are connected to the community, taking local and international tourists and corporate event delegates behind the scenes of famous vineyards, meeting winemakers, and offering boutique tasting experiences.
Brooke Robinson, Ananda Tours’ Office Manager, says sharing the knowledge of the local community with business event visitors is at the heart of what Ananda Tours does.
“At the heart of our philosophy is supporting local. Tour guides take visitors away from the hustle and bustle where they can meet the Waiheke creatives, artists, and locally owned wineries to get a true taste of the island.”
“Waiheke Island exemplifies a location that showcases local ecotourism creating bespoke corporate offerings and creating lasting legacies,” says Ken Pereira, Head of Business Events at Auckland Convention Bureau.
“With regular ferries, we’re seeing increased accessibility and connectivity to a lot of places that might not have had a many corporate customers in the past.”
Members of the Tiaki promise
Part of loving the island is doing their bit to look after it, adds Brooke.
“We are conscious of sharing the island while maintaining the natural beauty that Waiheke Island is known for, and so all of our decision making is stepped in sustainability.”
Ananda Tours knows that a tour isn’t just about the destination – it’s about the journey. Their new fleet of vans used to transport visitors are regularly serviced and updated to ensure that the journey has the smallest environmental footprint they can manage, and the tours get out on foot and walk where they can.
On the road, drivers and tour guides speak to the island’s unique biodiversity and the importance of water conservation and waste disposal while visitors are on the island, something they hope visitors take home with them and implement into their own lives.
Suppliers and vendors are all dedicated to keeping waste minimal along the way.
“Waiheke people are proud of the island, and will always do their bit to protect it how they can,” says Brooke. “You’ll spot drivers and the team picking up any rubbish they spot and doing beach clean-ups outside of office hours.”
The team works alongside the Waiheke Resources Trust to create bespoke programmes and itineraries for visitors seeking sustainability education and immersive experiences. This year they have commenced a donation programme where clients can choose to donate to the Trust when they book a tour, helping to preserve the island and reduce their visitor impact. The donations are used towards tree planting, maintenance and cleaning up water ways and beaches.
The Ananda Tours office utilises solar power and sits on a large area of bush in sunny Ostend, where it’s surrounded by native birds and fauna. To protect local wildlife, Ananda Tours is a member of the Te Korowai o Waiheke rat pilot operational trials, aiming to eradicate the island of pests so native birds like Kererū, Kākā and Tui can thrive.
Alongside their environmental initiatives and local focus, Ananda contributes to local schools and grassroots organisations for social good on the island. The team also regularly donate to Westpac Helicopters, a vital service for residents needing healthcare.
“Waiheke Island is our home, and we always want to treat her with respect,” says Brooke. “While we’re small in size, we do what we can to make our island a better place and show visitors the special people that call it home.”
Ananda Tours is a member of the Auckland Convention Bureau and work closely with us to design bespoke experiences for business event organisers wanting to treat their attendees. With ferries operating throughout the day, event attendees can experience Waiheke and be back in Auckland’s CBD in time for dinner.