I've just returned from a whole week on Waiheke Island which is 40 minutes by fast ferry out of Auckland. I stayed in an apartment complex on Palm Beach (the unit was called Palm Breeze, if you're looking it up) and was just across the road from the beach. What a beautiful place to swim..... I swam at least three times a day. I swam at 7 a.m. I swam at 7 pm, and any time in between. The temps were from 23c to 28c, and I only had about an hour's drizzle in total. Poor Wellington, they didn't have too good weather, I believe! - hehehehe...
My heel didn't play up (I took a collapsible stick with me but didnt use it). In fact, I did a lot of hiking along tracks. Everywhere on the island there is greenery, and bird song. The i-site office can supply folk with free walking maps.
Another thing that is rampant on the island.... chain saw noises, mower noises, weed-eater noises... You know how they say that a dog can bark at the top of the north island and the call is taken up by other dogs continually all the way down the island until a bark reaches Wellington? I figure chain saws and such noises are the same on Waiheke... from one end of the island to the other in mere minutes.
Until I can locate and transfer photos on my new mobile phone, for your perusal, here are some photos I took last year. Below is Palm Beach, the main part. There is a nude beach at the other end of Palm Beach, behind a rock cluster...
Here is the verandah of my Palm Beach holiday rental - it used to be called Seascape (the name is still on it's wall) but is now officially called Palm Breeze.
If my overseas reader ever gets a chance to get to Auckland, do take a day trip over to Waiheke. You will love it.