New Zealand Walks: Bay of Is­lands Walk­ing Week­end - Walk, wine and dine

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You can Walk, Wine and Dine on the Bay of Is­lands Walk­ing Week­end on the 12th, 13th, 14th Oc­to­ber 2018. Omata Es­tate is one of Rus­sell’s top spots to visit in sum­mer, Alex Clay­ton one of the Walk­ing Week­end guides shares his ex­pe­ri­ence on the Omata Es­tate Walk.

This walk is for those who like a small re­ward at the end (read a few glasses of wine and some good food!).

Gath­er­ing at the Rus­sell Bowl­ing Club for what is usu­ally a very light hearted walk and the en­thu­si­asm starts to build - the walk is by no means a stroll in the park, but the des­ti­na­tion that we are all head­ing for is well worth the ef­fort!

Head­ing through the town­ship, past some sig­nif­i­cant her­itage build­ings, then up ‘Con­sti­tu­tion Hill’ which sig­ni­fies the real start of the walk.

From there it is an easy pleas­ant walk down to sea level and through the man­grove board­walk, stop­ping briefly to learn about the fascinating his­tory of Tik­i­tiki­ioure and its min­ing her­itage.

The sto­ries of man­ual labour and a hill­side vil­lage that was, at its time, larger then Rus­sell town­ship. Rus­sell was not all about whalers and wenches! – you have all heard those sto­ries, but few know of our min­ing her­itage.

There are tales of fly­ing foxes and large ships in Orongo Bay, ready to carry the min­ing spoils to far away lands.

With this new knowl­edge taken on board, our walk­ers carry on, thank­ful that we live in a day and age where man­u­ally chip­ping away at the mi­ne­shaft is be­hind us.

We now stroll around the board­walks

of Orongo Bay, tak­ing in the ex­ten­sive oys­ter farm op­er­a­tions.

One more steep climb up and over Te Wa­hapu ridge through well-es­tab­lished na­tive bush. Plenty of bird life on of­fer and a rather cheery at­mos­phere to keep you well en­ter­tained, - your glass of wine will be well ap­pre­ci­ated.

Af­ter a fur­ther hour of talk talk walk walk, you come to the beau­ti­ful grounds of Omata Vine­yard, with its ex­pan­sive views out to Pai­hia.

The land was pur­chased from the lo­cal Maori in 1831,by cap­tain John Wright, Omata was a key des­ti­na­tion point for Euro­pean im­mi­grants to New Zealand. This be­gan Omata’s in­volve­ment in Rus­sell un­der Euro­pean own­er­ship.

In 1883, the Deem­ing Fam­ily pur­chased 70 acres from John Wright’s es­tate. This land was passed down through gen­er­a­tions un­til 1994 when the land was de­vel­oped to make to­day’s Omata Es­tate. Omata Es­tate is now owned by the Cash­more Fam­ily and has es­tab­lished it­self as one of North­lands pre­mier wine grow­ing sites.

Here we are met by the res­i­dent viti­cul­tur­ist who hu­mor­ously and skil­fully presents a taster of all the wines Omata Es­tate have in their sta­ble.

Not­ing that ev­ery­one is fam­ished, the ta­bles fill up with the home­made piz­zas fired up in their pizza oven or plat­ters (depend­ing on which walk you choose) – which you can wash down with a glass or two of Omata wine.

As if sent by the an­gels them­selves, we are then fer­ried back to Rus­sell by

Op­po­site page above: The view over the Omata Es­tate Vine­yard. Below left: The board walk over the wet­lands. Above right: Paroa Bay. Below left: A wa­ter­fall at Paroa Bay.

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