Art, travel, wine – three of my most favourite things. When those three things come together, heaven really is a place on earth. That is why Brick Bay is my new favourite place. It is here where you can find ‘art and wine entwined’. Not only is it a beautiful vineyard, it is also a fantastic sculpture garden, along with a working farm and restaurant! What better way to spend an afternoon than strolling through woodland, appreciating amazing artwork and ending the trail with a wine tasting! Pinch me now!
Brick Bay Wines and Sculpture trail is only 50 minutes drive north of Auckland. The sculpture trail costs $12 (£6.65) for adults, discounted if you eat at the restaurant. There are over 60 artworks to explore on this 2km nature trail, which weaves through woodlands, up hills and via vineyards. With artwork by some of New Zealand’s leading sculptors, some of the pieces are up for sale, some are interactive and some are musical pieces. They each relate to their natural surroundings, linking art and nature together. Here is a run through of our favourite pieces.
Brick Bay Folly 2016/’Daughter of the Swamp’, is an interactive piece created by Ryan Mahon, Sacha Milojevic, Edward Roberts and Raphaela Rose. As you enter the tangled web of the folly, you become inside and out. The piece is meant to ‘examine its surroundings and bring it into an abstract existence.’ That aside, this piece is simply fun! You stroll in, stand tall, then soon realise the wires are getting smaller and smaller and closer and closer to the ground. You have to form to the shape of the arch and bend down to crawl through to the end. It reminded me of being a child, playing in the woods and building a den.
Another stand out piece was named ‘Counterbalancing’ by Chiara Corbelletto. These ornamental pieces hang freely within the forest trees, suspended to look they are hovering, defying gravity. The negative space allows the green of the trees to come through, but the bright white of the material stands out strong against the dense woodland.
‘Mahoe’ by Jeff Thomson was a beautiful sculpture of a fallen leaf, which was found on this very trail. Using corrugated iron, the artist has created the look of an autumn leaf, eaten and eroded by the weather, crumbling and decaying on the floor. The intricate pattern makes this piece seem delicate, just like a dried leaf would be. This is one of the artworks up for sale, you can take this home for a cost of $5400 (£3000). ‘Pete? How much travel money do we have left?’
The piece that impressed me the most was the musical piece by Olivia Webb, named ‘Miserere Mei’. As a sound piece, the picture we have does it no justice. At first, you can hear it hauntingly in the background as you walk through the trail, a song in the distance. Then, as you get closer, you hear more voices weave through the trees. The different voices were isolated to individual speakers, so depending on where you stood, you would hear the tenor the loudest, or the soprano the loudest etc. When you finally reach the piece, it is like being in an outdoor theatre, with the best a cappella choir, harmonising on stage. It created a magical feeling. It was a moment where you just stood and soaked in the sounds and their surroundings. The piece is best described in the Brick Bay guide: ‘In this natural amphitheatre of native bush we hear an ephemeral sound monument dedicated to the bygone song of the forest.’
After you have completed the wonderful woodland trail and marvelled over the fascinating and varied artwork, you return back to the Glass House, the restaurant area of the vineyard. Try their wine-tasting menu for delicious flavours of New Zealand berries that tickle the taste buds. With my wine we sat on the open, wooden deck. This overlooks the lily pad filled lake and the rolling hills, filled with sheep and spring lambs. The view is breath-taking and their wines, divine. The only thing missing, the thing that would actually make this my ultimate heaven, would be if Chris Hemsworth was to serve me the wine, topless. But for now, I guess it will have to do as it is!