From Auckland, it was a pretty easy day trip to Waiheke Island. We sailed around the western shore and anchored in Oneroa Bay.
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.
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.
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.
We sailed around the northern shores to Man O’ War Bay on the western side of Waiheke.
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.
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.”
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.
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!