Daytrip to Waiheke

I hadn’t seen my brother for over a year so needless to say when he and his family arrived in Auckland a few days ago we were very excited to see them! Little Felix was two when we last saw him … The boys were very happy to be reunited with their little cousin and couldn’t wait to show him all their new Christmas toys. After a relaxing day by the pool at their friends’ house in Remuera, we all hopped on Rehua yesterday and sailed to Waiheke island for the day. It was a sunny and breezy day and after a couple of hours we arrived in Oneroa bay. Two dinghy trips to get everyone ashore and off we went for a delicious lunch at the Oyster Inn. After lunch, back to the boat and a few of us were brave enough for a splash and a swim and then it was time to head back to base. The beautiful Auckland skyline was being lit up as we headed back into Orakei marina. What a lovely day! 

breakfast on Rehua; Felix is a little jetlagged but in great form


cousins reunited


scootering around the marina



day by the pool at Lou and Ed’s


come on Felix!


swimming makes us hungry


amazing views over Auckland harbour from Lou and Ed’s house in Remuera


daysail to Waiheke; Jess, Ed, Bram, Livvy and Louise enjoying the sunshine


beautiful Waiheke island


it’s not just boats in the anchorage


first load to be ferried ashore: Bram and all the kids


time to head back to Auckland


view from the cockpit in Orakei marina



Even though I have never been here before, arriving in Auckland felt a bit like coming home. The very warm welcome our dear old friends Mark and Michelle gave us probably had something to do with that…

We reversed Rehua into a very tight berth at Westhaven marina on Friday morning and a bit later Mark and the kids came onboard to welcome us. How wonderful it felt to be reunited with such good friends. Mark and Michelle really spoiled us rotten this weekend with food, taxi services, tour guiding and generally looking after us. On Saturday morning, Michelle and I hit the town to go shopping (a birthday treat to myself). We started at 10 am, had Japanese for lunch, then did some more shopping, then had a beer to refresh ourselves, then some more shopping and then finally a 30-minute massage at a walk-in Chinese place. Perfect day. In the evening Mark and Michelle took us out for dinner at their local Indian. Delicious food! On Sunday morning, Michelle drove me to the supermarket and I made the most of her taxi services and stocked up on as much beer and wine we could manage and of course some food too! In the afternoon we chilled at their lovely house overlooking Judges Bay and in the evening they whisked us off to a classical concert inside a vineyard just outside of Auckland. The kids were allowed to run around the vines and had a ball while we sat on our picnic blankets sipping wine and tasting Michelle’s delicious home made pie! What a perfect weekend!

Yesterday morning we moved Rehua from Westhaven to Orakei marina where we managed to find a berth for the holiday period. It’s a smaller and friendlier marina in a nicer part of town so we’re very happy we managed to get a space here! Merry Christmas everyone!


Hole in the wall, on our way from the Bay of Islands to Auckland


Quick stop in Tutukaka, Rehua anchored in the bay


Arrival in Auckland!


The view from Westhaven Marina


Ready to run down the ramp


Auckland lit up for Christmas


Mark and Michelle’s beautiful house!


…and their street, overlooking Judges bay


Classical Christmas concert at a vineyard. The Christmas carols felt really out of place during a summer picnic!


Kids playing and running through the vines


Michelle’s delicious homemade pie


Action over Auckland with a helicopter rescue practice as we move from Westhaven to Orakei marina


Ready for the flying fox. There’s a great playground close to the marina


Our view from Orakei marina: spacious, quiet and wonderful. We’re very lucky to have found a berth in Auckland for the holiday period!


Okahu bay with Orakei marina and the city in the background


A visit to Waitangi

Last week we rented a car and drove to Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is the place where Maori chiefs first signed their accord with the British Crown in 1840. We visited the historic Treaty House, with magnificent carvings, set in beautiful surroundings with panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. Also within the grounds is the Waka House that shelters the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. This waka is 35 metres long and needs minimum 76 paddlers to handle it. Apparently Princess Di was the only women ever to set foot on board.

After three weeks in the Bay of Islands we are ready to slowly start making our way to Auckland. We managed to complete a few boat jobs in Opua and Seathan has spent quite a few hours up the mast servicing the rigging. It’s been fun for the boys to hang out with other boat kids but we feel ready to explore some more of NZ now and we are really looking forward to see my brother and his family who are coming over in a couple of weeks. It will be more than a year since we last saw each other so that will be one happy reunion! 

Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Waka House


two waka


great carvings


the flagstaff marks the spot where the treaty was signed in 1840


springtime in NZ!


beautiful views over the Bay of Islands


Maori ceremony


after the show


the anchorage in Opua


Opua and the Bay of Islands

We arrived in Opua nearly two weeks ago! The Bay of Islands is a great cruising ground with many islands, bays, anchorages and plenty of activity ashore. This is one of the favourite holiday destinations for New Zealanders and feels a bit like Britain in the summer (yes it is still quite chilly compared to what we have been used to!).

Our first stop was Russell, a historic small town in the Bay of Islands. This cute little place has several good restaurants on the waterfront and a well stocked grocery store. We must have looked like four lunatics when we made our way around the isles ooh-ing and aah-ing at everything we saw: bagels, strawberries, blueberries, fresh milk, … and many more delicacies we had been deprived of for months!

After a few days of R&R and a visit to the local museum (interesting display about the Maori heritage and a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour) and the Pompallier house (hands-on demonstration of how they used to turn animal skin into leather and how the French missionaries printed religious text and books in Maori language) we went back to Opua. Total coincidence: one of Seathan’s best friends from Australia turned up on Friday evening. A few drinks were had in the yachtclub and then the next day we went back to Russell for a daysail on Rehua with our first Southern Hemisphere guests. We had a lovely waterfront lunch and then returned to Opua late afternoon. On Sunday we went to Kerikeri and visited a local vineyard.

Meanwhile, several cruising friends have turned up and there are some kid boats around including another Antares boat (Fieldtrip). Seathan started working through his list of things to do and to get … and it’s such as refreshing change to be able to order things online and see them arrive the next day! A novelty for us after having been in remote places for 12 months were nothing ever arrives on time (if at all!).


The pier in Russell


The anchorage in Russell


Our first Southern Hemisphere guests onboard Rehua


That’s one way to park your boat …


View from the restaurant


Russell museum, replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour


Pompallier Mission where French missionaries printed religious texts in Maori


hands-on demonstration in the Printery


Beautiful gardens at Pompallier house


We love New Zealand!