Manginangina Kauri Walk, Bay of Islands, New Zealand


Kauri trees in the Puketi- Omahuta Forest which is one of the best remaining examples of the subtropical rainforests which once clothed Northern New Zealand, Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand


From our anchoring spot in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, we went ashore at Paihia Wharf and then boarded a van for a 45-minute drive inland to the Manginangina Scenic Reserve operated by the New Zealand Departmnent of Conservation (Te Papa Atawhai).  This ancient kauri forest is located in the heart of New Zealand’s Northland and with Omahuta Forest, forms one of the largest adjoining tracts of native forest in Northland.  The 37,000 acre / 15,000 hectare forest is home to several rare native birds; kauri, podocarp and hardwood trees; and more than 370 recorded species of plants.  Puketi played a central role in the lives of Māori and early European settlers thanks to its sustaining plants and animals.  We had a fantastic naturalist lead our small group on a walk along a raised boardwalk in the kauri forest (much of the ground was wetlands; the boardwalk also protects the tree roots from the pounding they’d get if all visitors walked on terra firma).



The tress grow quite large and are the 4th largest trees on the planet (after the Giant Sequoias of CA, USA, the Redwood Trees of CA, USA, and a species found in Mexico), Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand; here the bark showed some really interesting patterns



The upper canopy of part of the Puketi- Omahuta Forest, Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand


The Puketi- Omahuta Forest is one of the best remaining examples of the subtropical rainforests which once clothed Northern New Zealand.  Lying in the heart of Taitokerau (Northland) the forest has provided spiritual and physical sustenance to Māori for the past 1,000 years.  The forest survived early European logging and farm development because of its steep terrain and poor soils.  Around the beginning of the 20th century, huge tracts of kauri forest were destroyed.  Only 3% of the original forest now remains.  Today the forest is a haven for native plants and wildlife, including kiwi, rare native bats, and kauri snails.



Many of the really large trees were lost in the 19th century – this was one of the larger Kauris that we saw on our walk through the forest, Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



This fallen kauri tree was deliberately wounded in times past by gum bleeders [see text, below], Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

The fallen kauri tree in the photograph above was deliberately wounded in times past by gum bleeders.  When damaged, kauri produce a gum to act as a bandage as the tree tries to heal itself.  However, these wounds can also be a point of infection and this tree succumbed to heart rot and blew down in a storm.  Kauri gum was once highly valued for the manufacture of varnishes and linoleum.  The gum was primarily dug from fossilized deposits in many Northland swamps, but as this became harder to find, bleeding of live trees began.  Gum bleeders climbed kauri trees with spiked hammers and boots making cuts at intervals up the trunk, later returning to collect the solidifies gum.  This practice was eventually outlawed in 1905, but for many trees the damage was already done.



Lichen growing on the trunk of a Kauri tree – making a nice geometric pattern with the bark, Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



The bottom of a Silver Fern (Māori: ponga) – New Zealand’s national emblem — found in the Puketi- Omahuta Forest, Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



A beautiful baby fern unfurling (Māori: Koru) represents peace, tranquility, personal growth, positive change and awakening; it is associated with new life and harmony and is widely used in New Zealand; Manginangina Scenic Reserve, Bay of Islands, New Zealand – a wonderful photograph to end our blog posts on this trip to New Zealand


Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand


Shops and restaurants line The Strand in Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, overlooking Kororareka Bay


While it is certainly known for its obliging climate and wealth of outdoor activities, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands also holds a significant position in New Zealand history: the town of Russell was the first permanent European settlement in the country.  The Māori people, having arrived centuries earlier, were none too pleased with this development — Chief Hone Heke sacked the town in 1845, sparing only the Mission House.  Signed here, the landmark Treaty of Waitangi eventually sorted things out and remains the cornerstone of race relations in New Zealand today.



The southern side of town overlooking Kororareka Bay is all New Zealand recreational reserves, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand


One of the country’s first European settlements, Russell was at one time known as the “hell hole of the Pacific” for being a lawless town.  Now a romantic seaside destination, it offers excellent dining options with fresh local seafood as the highlight.  It is accessible by road, but more easily reached via the ferry frequently operating to and from Paihia, where our ship was anchored.  We spent a very enjoyable day taking the ferry to and back from Russell where he had a terrific seafood lunch overlooking the bay (see photograph, below) and hiked to the opposite shore after walking and shopping in the central village



Our al fresco fresh seafood luncheon at The Gables – begun with a nice, crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc — was served to us sitting under a tree at a table on the edge of the Bay, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand; this was one of the most pleasant spots for lunch in many years of travel



The carved “pou” in the garden of the Russell Museum commemorate the life of Tamati Waka Nene (1780s – 1871), a high-ranking chief among his peoples locally, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



We found this interesting sign on our uphill walk out of central Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, to Long Beach on Oneroa Bay on the east side of the peninsula



Long Beach on Oneroa Bay on the east side of the peninsula, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



With the large number of major earthquakes in New Zealand and the surrounding area, Tsunamis are a major fear in the aftermath of a “big one”; Long Beach, Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand



A final view of the northern peninsula around Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, from the return ferry to Paihia


Waiheke Island, New Zealand


No, we didn’t leave Auckland and suddenly arrive in Tuscany (although it looks that way) – these are olive trees on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, belonging to the initial olive oil producer there, Rangihoua Estate


Located one-half hour from Auckland by ferry, the “Wine Island” of Waiheke is far removed from the city’s bustling urban ambiance.  Rolling hills, abundant sunshine and the sea breeze off the Hauraki Gulf combine to create ideal growing conditions for grapes and olive trees.  An abundance of wineries produce a range of intensely flavored varietals, from elegant, floral syrahs and deeply colored Cabernet Sauvignons to refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and Viogniers.  We anchored off the Maitiatia Wharf on Matiatia Bay on the far western end of the island.



The tasting room and factory (on the ground floor) for the world class EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) produced by Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


We spent a day exploring several of the island’s wine and olive oil producers.  Our initial stop was at the first olive oil producer on Waiheke, Rangihoua Estate. Rangihoua manages 4,200 olive trees and produces internationally acclaimed extra virgin olive oil.  Our visit included a tour of the olive groves, presentations about harvesting and olive oil production techniques, and an olive oil tasting to appreciate their range of freshly produced EVOO (extra virgin olive oils).  Rangihoua took home gold and silver awards at the Royal Easter Show 2016, and was named in the Flos Olei 2017 guide book of the world’s best olive oils.  We liked the Waiheke Blend EVOO so much we bought some to bring back to our apartment’s kitchen on the ship



An Italian-made olive oil press which is at the heart of the production of excellent EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) at Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


We liked the Waiheke Blend EVOO so much we bought some to bring back to our apartment’s kitchen on the ship, Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand




Vineyards at Stonyridge Vineyards where the first vines were planted in 1982 and 1983, among some of the first on Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Our next stop was a tour and wasting with the winemaker at Stonyridge Vineyards.  Well-known for its Bordeaux-style cabernet blends, Stonyridge Vineyards has employed traditional French winemaking methods since its very first harvest in 1985.  Two years later, they drew international appeal with their top-rated Larose.  The on-site Veranda Café serves appetizers, salads, entrées and desserts accompanied by Stonyridge varietals



The award winning Stonyridge Vineyards Larose was the best Bordeaux-style red wine we tasted on this trip around New Zealand – its price, now about US$300 for the current release (2014), reflects the wine’s ratings at the top of the country’s red wines, Waiheke Island, New Zealand



The vines at Te Whau Vineyard overlook Hitapa Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Our final stop was at Te Whau Vineyard and their restaurant where we had a delicious lunch accompanied by several of their wines.  A recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence as “One of the Best Restaurants in the World for Wine Lovers,” Te Whau specializes in fresh New Zealand and Pacific Rim cuisine.  Located on the top level of the Te Whau winery, this award winning restaurant features first-rate New Zealand labels, a collection of contemporary wines to accompany meals and spectacular views of Hitapa Bay.



Several different vintages of the top Te Whau Vineyard red wine, The Point, is served at the winery’s namesake restaurant that overlooks Hitapa Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand


A view of the Central Business District of Auckland, New Zealand, from Viaduct Harbor, near the cruise and passenger ferry piers


Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand, is the most populous urban area in the country with a population of 1,495,000, which constitutes 32 percent of New Zealand’s population.  Consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the world — and New Zealand’s largest by far — Auckland’s dazzling beaches, sunny climate, and profusion of parks, trails and vineyards are all within reach of the culturally dense Auckland Central.  With a Polynesian background and a modern passion for food, wine and shopping, it is easy to see why the “City of Sails” is such a favorite.  “A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world.  The Māori language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning “Tāmaki with a hundred lovers”, in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.” – Wikipedia



The historic 19th century Ferry Building on the quay by the cruise and passenger ferry piers, Auckland, New Zealand



New development along the harbor in the Wynyard Quarter (a current redevelopment project – look at all the cranes!) includes the ASB (sponsored) Waterfront Theater (for the NZ Opera, etc.) and the new ASB headquarters building, Auckland, New Zealand



The Te Wero Bridge is a pedestrian only draw bridge (all boats have priority!) connecting the waterfront piers with the redevelopment area of the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand


We had the opportunity to explore an up and coming new neighborhood in Auckland – the Wynyard quarter.  After visiting the Auckland fish market and procuring some great fresh, local seafood for our kitchen on the ship, we enjoyed a nice restaurant luncheon.   In the evening we attended the NZ Opera performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado” in the new ASB Waterfront Theater (that opened three months ago).

“The Wynyard Quarter is a reclaimed piece of land on the Waitemata Harbour at the western edge of the Auckland waterfront, New Zealand…  As of 2012, a good part of the area [was] still covered by petrol and liquid chemical storage facilities of Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) and various other companies, that gave the area its now slowly disappearing “Tank Farm” moniker.  However, major changes are underway, with the area intended to be redeveloped into a mixed-use residential-commercial area, with a major park to run along the northern headland and up to the point.  As one of the first changes, the eastern section of the Quarter, as well as one of the main west-east roads running across it, were revitalised with new office and entertainment/restaurant areas, with several major projects finishing in time for the Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament.” — Wikipedia



The new ASB (Australian Savings Bank which is now internationally owned) headquarters building is a standout example of contemporary architecture in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



Details of the exterior decorations and window “shades” on the new ASB headquarters building in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



A close up of the “aquarium” window coverings on the new ASB headquarters building in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



Another striking modern building at the entrance to the Wynyard Quarter is the popular ANZ (Australia – New Zealand Bank sponsored) Viaduct Events Center, Auckland, New Zealand



Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


The 2011 expansion with majestic Kauri (native tree) columns and roof, complementing the original 1887 gallery building, houses seven centuries of New Zealand art at the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


“Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand.  It frequently hosts traveling international exhibitions.  Set below the hilltop Albert Park in the central-city area of Auckland, the gallery was established in 1888 as the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand.   The building originally housed the Auckland Art Gallery as well as the Auckland public library.” — Wikipedia



The museum’s atrium in the new wing hosts annually changing sculpture exhibitions, hung from the kauri wood paneled ceiling, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand; the Māori sign in the entry says: “Nau mai , haere mai” (“Welcome”)


“The main gallery building was originally designed by Melbourne architects Grainger & D’Ebro to house not only the art gallery but also the City Council offices, lecture theatre and public library.  It is constructed of brick and plaster in an early French Renaissance style and was completed in 1887, with an extension built in 1916…  In the late 2000s, a major extension was mooted, which caused substantial criticism from some quarters due to its cost, design and the fact that land from Albert Park would be required for the extension.  In late 2007, the Gallery closed for extensive renovations, and re-opened on 3 September 2011…  The expansion design by Australian architecture firm FJMT in partnership with Auckland-based Archimedia, increased exhibition space by 50%, for up to 900 artworks, and provided dedicated education, child and family spaces.  As part of the upgrade, existing parts of the structure were renovated and restored to its 1916 state – amongst other things ensuring that the 17 different floor levels in the building were reduced to just 6.  The redevelopment has to date received 17 architectural and 6 design-related awards, including the World Architecture Festival’s 2013 World Building of the Year.” — Wikipedia



The Kauri wood panels in the entries to the galleries are all carved in Māori designs, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


“We are Auckland’s wharenui (home) for authentic and meaningful engagement with art for all.” –



Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), “Te Tohu Tuatahi”, 1991 (acrylic on board), draws a powerful continuum between the past and present; at the painting’s center is a cross motif, the mark used by many Māori signatories to sign New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840; Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), the artist who painted “Te Tohu Tuatahi” in 1991 and was raised in Waitangi — the first site of the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 — commented at that time, “I paint about the Treaty now, wishing for ideals of racial harmony, equal opportunity, recognition of a pact for partnership to become reality.”



The former Auckland public library was stripped of its tall bookshelves and restored to its 19th century architectural design and added to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, in the 2011 expansion



Daniel Malone (born 1970), “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Daniel Malone (born 1970), returned from Warsaw, Poland, in 2015 to undertake the McCahon House Artist Residency in Titirangi, Auckland.  The purpose built McCahon House is located adjacent to New Zealand’s most famous painter’s (Colin McCahon, 1919 – 1987) former home.  Malone’s “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), pays homage to Colin McCahon’s paintings, as the present day artist filters McCahon’s interests and achievements through his own.



The atrium of the 2011 extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, photographed from above in Albert Park



One of the beautiful native kauri columns supporting the roof at the back of the new extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, abutting Albert Park


“The team looked at the existing character of the park [Albert Park] and utilised this to create linkages between the building, the park and the surrounding streets.  New landscaped terraces and paved platforms form a smooth pedestrian connection between Kitchener Street and Albert Park.  One of the most distinctive features of the new building is its roof design, which forms a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the Forecourt, North Atrium and gallery areas.  Between the terraces and the roof canopy of kauri wood, large windows allow a view from the Gallery’s forecourt through the building to the park and beyond – inviting discovery and opening the Gallery to Albert Park and public spaces.” –



The new wing of the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, as seen from a pathway in Albert Park; note how the kauri columns bring the trees and flora of Albert Park into the museum



A modern sculpture in Albert Park, immediately behind (and uphill from), the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand



Sky Tower, Auckland’s most famous structure, viewed from Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Wineries in Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


At Trinity Hill, following the planting of traditional Bordeaux region varietals, Southern European grape varieties, Syrah and Viognier were also planted (here covered by netting to protect the grapes from hungry, flying birds); Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


On our second day docked in Napier, New Zealand, we joined a small group for a trip south to Hawke’s Bay, one of the country’s top wine growing regions, especially well known for its Bordeaux-style wines and Syrah (Shiraz).  Our explorations took us to three top wineries in the area – Trinity Hill, Te Awa and Elephant Hill, the latter of which was a grand setting for an al fresco luncheon accompanied by wines from the property.  [For background on Hawke’s Bay and Napier, see our two previous blog posts.]



In 1993 Trinity Hill, founded by John Hancock, became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The tasting room is adjacent to the barrel aging cellar at Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


“Homage is Trinity Hill’s Flagship wine. A wonderfully round rich Syrah inspired by the famed Cote Rotie of the Northern Rhone, it has consistently gained more “Parker points” than any other New Zealand Syrah, achieving  92  to 95 in its seven vintages.  First produced in 2002, it has been voted “Best Red Wine in New Zealand” by Cuisine Magazine and taken home the coveted Air New Zealand Awards Double – Best Red Wine and Champion Wine of Show.  Homage pays tribute to one of the Rhone Valley’s most iconic figures,  the late Gerard Jaboulet.  A long-time friend of Robert and Robyn Wilson – his wine dinners at the Bleeding Heart were legendary.  Gerard took John Hancock [founder and proprietor of Trinity Hill] under his wing in 1996 and allowed him to work beside him at the Jaboulet family wine cellars in Tain L’Hermitage throughout that harvest.  Gerard later told the Wilsons that John was the most committed winemaker he had had the pleasure of working with.  He said, with some surprise, that John would stay behind at lunchtime to hose down the cellar.  In those days in the Rhone, lunch was much more important than cellar hygiene.  As a mark of gratitude, Gerard gave Trinity Hill cuttings of Syrah from his famed La Chapelle vineyard, in Hermitage, and Viognier from Les Jumelles in Cote Rotie, and from these our Homage was born.  Like the Cote Rotie of its inspiration, our Homage Syrah is traditionally blended with a small amount of Viognier.  Homage is only produced in the very best years, following the warmest growing seasons, and in very limited quantities.” –



The vineyards of Te Awa, nestled in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels wine growing region of Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The grapes at Te Awa were ripening when we visited, about a month or two before the spring 2017 harvest, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


Testament to the intricacies of the natural elements the Te Awa Single Estate wines are grown on a single site in the sacred Gimblett Gravels, allowing true expression of the classic Hawke’s Bay varieties Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux blends.  “Te Awa o Te Atua, The river of God — a reference to the mysterious subterranean streams over which the vineyards are situated and from which the wines draw their exquisite, yet subtle characteristics.  The quality comes from the free draining soil which consistently produces high quality fruit.   Walking the vineyard at Te Awa Winery you will see the vines planted in alluvial soils, typical of the area.  The single estate is made up of 151 hectares, 100 of which are planted in vines.  Te Awa vineyard soils are the trails of the old Ngaruroro River which meandered through the region until a huge flood changed its course in 1867.” –



The dining room at Te Awa, on the side of the tasting room, viewed from the vineyards, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The vineyards at Elephant Hill, with the Te Awanga coast of Hawke’s Bay in the background, viewed from the offices of the winery upstairs, above where we enjoyed a nice al fresco luncheon, Hawke’s Bay, Haumoana, New Zealand


Exploring Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


Looking out from the Craggy Range Winery tasting room and Terrôir Restaurant to the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium growing area of Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand


Following our art deco walk in Napier, we drove south to the Hawke’s Bay wine region centered around the towns of Hastings and Havelock North – the region lies on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.



Cattle grazing on the plateau below Te Mata Peak (the mountain gave the winery its name) as seen from the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The vineyards at the Craggy Range Winery are bearing fruit (a month or so before harvest) and the nets are keeping the birds at bay, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; the winery buildings are in the background


“Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.  The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it’s a popular place for bicycle wine tours.  Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre [see our previous blog post on Napier, New Zealand], rebuilt in the 1930’s after a huge earthquake.  It hosts the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki – the Maori New Year.  It’s a place where you can shop at the farmers’ market for locally grown delicacies and indulge in artisan gourmet food…  And it’s a place where you can walk the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks, visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony [and world-class golf course] or relax on the glorious beaches that stretch along the coast.” –



The tasting room and offices of the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; he winery was recognized in 2014 by renowned U.S. publication Wine Enthusiast as ‘New World Winery of the Year’ with many of the wines also receiving notable accolades and awards



We drove up the mountain to get this view of the Craggy Range Winery from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



Another winery is visible in the valley from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The tasting room of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate was established here in 1896, specializing in high-quality wines of classical style



The vineyards of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most prestigious wine producers, making nearly 40,000 cases a year of premium wine and exporting to over 42 countries