Man O’ War: a perfect New Zealand vineyard

Costal view over Waiheke island

I am a slow traveller, it’s my ultimate guilty pleasure. I love being able to take my time and admire a view, and if there is a glass of wine in hand while I’m admiring then all to the better. My penchant for slow travel is particularly true since the invention of the smart phone; recently it seems like most people rush through a city seeing all the views through the camera on their iPhone. We are so focussed on creating Instagram worthy shots that we miss out on seeing the view with our own eyes. I mean, you may as well just search Google images and save yourself the cost of the trip if you want to travel that way. So I like to take my time, see less but experience more. And thus my last New Zealand post, a visit to the perfect vineyard that is Man O’ War on Waiheke Island.

A couple of days before Christmas and we really should have been prepping for our insane Christmas Lunch (15 courses…what were we thinking?). But since list making, shopping and cooking sounds like a lot of hard work, we played hooky and escaped to the sunny Waiheke Island for the day to go vineyard hopping.

Farms and a beautiful view over Waiheke island

Waiheke is super easy to get to, the ferry is only 30 minutes from the city centre (the ferry leaves from the wharf at the bottom of Queen Street) and once there you can either hire a car from the ferry terminal or just taxi. But as soon as you arrive there is a huge problem…which vineyard to choose? I am a fantasy freak from way back, so picked the amazingly named Man O’ War. This also happened to be the furthest vineyard on the island which gave the unexpected side effect of some knock out views on the drive over.


First tick in the box is that the wine tastings were free, the second tick is the wines being drop dead gorgeous. Man O’ War is named after the battleships that Captain Cook sailed on, and all the varieties have frankly kickass names like Valhalla, Ironclad or Dreadnought. I went for the Pinot Gris named Exiled (hopefully not a sign of things to come) which I was warned was very sweet – thankfully sweet wines are a dream for me.

Man O War Exiled Pinot Gris

We each took a glass and then … did nothing. If I was there with my blogging hat on we would have rushed all over the island getting those perfect shots and trying as many vineyards as possible. But instead we were on go slow: we sat, we ate cheese, and we tried more wine. At one point we were visited by a dog.

Without the time, without those seconds stretching out into hours I never would have heard my feminist father loudly proclaim to the aforementioned dog “us bitches fight the world”. I also would never have heard my mother’s controversial opinion on current events “as much as I love caramel I am irritated by the popularity of it”. These little moments of silly matter. These little moments and the sunshine making condensation on your wine glass are the ones you carry with you. The ones that will get me through the freezing dark London winter, the homesickness and dropping a bowl of cornflakes on my foot as I made them for dinner.

Slow travel is the answer. No it won’t help you tick off another country on your list, it won’t be content fuel and you can’t Instagram the feeling of a gentle Waiheke breeze. But it will sustain you. And if you forget that feeling all you need to do is take a sip of Man O’ War and you will be there again.

Sheep on Waiheke island

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Author: runawaykiwi

16 thoughts on “Man O’ War: a perfect New Zealand vineyard

  1. O yes this is what I am longing for, Fredrik keeps asking me where I want to go on our next trip and I keep saying somewhere where we can just stroll along and then eat nothing big or fancy just going and being somewhere else.

  2. slow travel is definitely the way to go sometimes! I get a little crazy about needing to see everything, but balance is key. Spending the day at a winery is always a good day in my book, I can’t wait to go home in August and do just that!

  3. Slow travel – what a perfect guilty pleasure, and I totally agree! How many people are so busy taking selfies that they don’t actually look at the view or take time to relax?!

  4. Ummmm – so many good memories of my friends Waiheke Wine Tour hens party last year. I can feel the sunshine, taste the wine and smell the sunscreen right now.

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