From Auckland, it was a pretty easy day trip to Waiheke Island. We sailed around the western shore and anchored in Oneroa Bay.

Oneroa Bay, Waiheke Island

After reading our blog, a Kiwi living on Waiheke contacted us. Simon was interested in buying or building a catamaran. He saw Whistler was in the Auckland area so he asked if he could have a quick tour. We picked him up from shore at Oneroa Bay and showed him the boat. He generously brought us a lovely bottle of Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc and offered us the use of his second car so we could tour around Waiheke. How nice!

S/Y Roxanne had arrived in the anchorage the previous evening, so we invited Tom and Lynn to do a little land tour of the Waiheke. First stop, Oneroa village and then Mudbrick Winery for a look-see.

Monty with Lynn and Tom at Mudbrick Winery
View from Mudbrick Winery

The annual Sculpture on the Gulf was on. Numerous installations were placed along the shoreline, hills and even one in the bay. A spectacular setting for the event and we had a beautiful day! Popular with families.

Each piece had a write up to explain the artist’s concept.
One of my favourites!
This is just a small section of an abstract installation decorating the forest. It had some deep meaning!
This one was created by a yacht painting company.
This sculpture installation that looked like an outhouse or “long drop” as they say in NZ!
Light flooding through the outhouse
Auckland skyline in the background (centre).
This installation was a participation one. People visiting the event picked up tiles and placed them to make the design take shape.
One rocket installation in the bay
Busy Matiatia Bay entrance
Matiatia Bay, sight of the ferry dock
Along the walk we listened to Cicadas. were in full song around the island. Their chirping and clicking can reach 100 decibels!

It was a warm day and we had worked up an appetite and a thirst! We all went for lunch at a little winery called Poderi Crisci Restaurant and Winery. The food was artfully presented and delicious.

The next day we visited a few more sites and wineries before meeting Simon at a winery/brewery next door to his home.

Onetangi Bay
Beach on Onetangi Bay
Tasting at Batch Winery

We sailed around the northern shores to Man O’ War Bay on the western side of Waiheke.

View of the Man O’ War vineyards along the north shore of Waiheke Island

The Bay was named after Captain James Cook visited in 1769 and noted in his journal that the kauri trees would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War warships of the Royal Navy. Few kauri trees remain on the island today.

Man O’ War Bay

The next morning, we went for a walk from the beach landing by the winery up a dusty dirt track to Stoney Batter. It was grape harvesting time and trucks hauling grapes were regularly passing us, kicking up dust. At times, the views were excellent. We passed by vast cattle and sheep pastures and vineyards owned by Man O’ War Winery. The winery write up says, “Man O’ War consists of 150 acres of vines planted in 76 hillside blocks, each with a distinct soil profile and micro climate…they benefit from the cooling sea breezes, extending their growing season and giving them concentration and minerality.”

Man O’ War Vineyards
A few sheep, not where they were supposed to be!
Boulders scattered amongst the pasture land from a fairly recent eruption. Fences are installed around the trees to protect them from the animals.
Someone had some fun!
Old gun installation
Extensive network of tunnels, now closed, that were part of the old military installation on the top of the hill.
Hooks Bay as seen from the top of Stoney Batter. Little Barrier Island in the distance.

We caught a ride part way down with one of the trucks which saved us some time on the return trip down the hill. With a bit of road dust, we stopped in for a pizza and wine tasting at the Man O’ War Winery. Their wines are very good but pricey, almost as expensive as British Columbia wines!

Here is a transport boat ferrying grapes and equipment back from Ponui Island to Man O’ War Winery.

First grapes harvested from neighbouring Ponui Island.

When we saw the hilly vineyard terrain and lack of mechanization, the cost of producing a bottle of wine at Man O’ War was understandably high.

We tried our hand at fishing for snapper off the large mussel farm in the bay.

We had no success. We realized fancy lures were not enough to interest NZ snapper! We needed bait!

More on the Hauraki Gulf and Great Barrier Island coming soon!