Towering Kauri, choirs in the trees and great wine at Brick Bay

I knew Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Trail was going to be good but I wasn’t prepared for quite how good it was.  I’ve been to sculpture trails before.  I’ve been to my fair share of vineyards as well.  But Brick Bay was something else again.  Maybe it’s the combination of the two that works so perfectly?  But more likely its the impossibly picturesque location, the unexpected twists and turns around each corner, the delicious food and amazing wine and the glass house to dine in.

Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Trail is just a one hour drive out of Auckland but it’s one of those spots that feels like you are much further away.  Rolling hills back on to coastal vistas with Kawau Island sitting right there on the horizon.  It’s a lovely location to drive to and even better to find a little spot like this.

We went on a typical Autumn day – you know the ones that are fine one minute and rainy the next.  The minute in which we left for the sculpture trail it was fine so we walked straight past the bright yellow Blunt umbrellas that they had there for people incase it rained and yes, 20 minutes later it was raining and we were too far in to go back.  Luckily by this point we were seconds from the forest part of the walk and once ensconced under their leafy shelter we didn’t feel a drop of rain.

So where to begin?  We started with the sculpture trail so lets start there.  Brick Bay currently have around 60 pieces on display and what I particularly love about them is that the sculpture trail operates as a trust with profits being put back into supplying materials for the artists as well as giving them a place to display their art and potentially sell pieces as a result.

I think it is that symbiotic relationship that makes the sculpture trail so amazing.  Neither overpower the other.  There is brilliant pieces of art, some on a very grand scale – side by side with nature at it’s finest.  Towering Kauri, lakes, swamps, native forest and birdsong.

My absolute favourite part was Miserere Mei.  Walking through a grove of Kahikatea trees there are 16 speakers in the trees from which come the voices of a choir singing Miserere Mei.  It feels like, as you walk through this utterly beautiful forest, that the trees are full of singers and you are the only person in the audience.  It is an intensely personal and moving experience and I could go back here over and over again.

Another highlight for me was the Kauri climb.  Boardwalks and stairs winding through towering kauri’s.  It was so peaceful and quite frankly awe inspiring.

The walk took us just over an hour.  As James said, walks in beautiful places always take way longer with a photographer, so most of you will get around quicker than this but it’s the type of place that you won’t mind lingering in.

Wine Tasting

So walk done it was time for a bit of wine tasting…

It’s a good point here to point out that the staff are amazing here.  Not only incredibly knowledgable but passionate and genuinely happy to be there.  It makes a huge difference.

The wines at Brick Bay are amazing.  They make 3 varieties – 2 reds and a white, with a Chardonnay soon to be added to the list.

Our favourite was definitely the rose and at $8 for the tasting we would definitely recommend this as a must do while then.

Lunch at The Glass House

Last on the list was lunch at The Glass House Kitchen.  Just like it says on the box – it’s a glass house with panels and shades that can open and shut depending on the weather.

It’s very busy so bookings are a must (and even then you may need to be flexible with times because when we booked there weren’t many times left).

We went for the tasting plate, followed up by some chocolate truffles that are made on site (yum!) with another glass of the very delicious Rose.  A perfect ending to the day!

James and I went without the kids to this one (last day of child free school holidays!)  It looks like it would be awesome to take the kids to but as we passed a group of children arguing over whose turn it was on the swings and deciding that’s exactly what ours would be doing we decided that it’s even nicer without the kids so book in the babysitter if you can.

Allow at least 3 hours for the full experience.  We were there for 3 and a half hours and it was perfect.  Our only other piece of advice is to pack good walking shoes with good grip as some of the walkways can be a bit slippery in the wet if you don’t have good shoes.

You can find out more about Brick Bay here.