What do a fake life-sized post office, collection of colourful resin cubes and Moa made from Nikau palms have in common?
They're delightfully creative works of art you can find on Waiheke Island's Matiatia Coastal Walkway for the next three weeks as part of Sculpture on the Gulf's 2022 event.
Since 2003, Sculpture on the Gulf has transformed the iconic headland into a gallery without walls where people can experience impressive works by some of Aotearoa's best artists.
Just a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland, it's a perfect day trip for art lovers, families or simply curious Kiwis looking to get a good dose of culture amongst nature.
Things you should know before you go:
Remember your ticket
This year, Sculpture on the Gulf will be a ticket-only event. While children aged 15 and younger can come for free, older attendees must purchase a ticket and show it for entry. These won't be date specific, so you can come along any day you choose between March 4 to 27.
Leave the heels and hiking boots at home
The track is a well-maintained mix of wood chips, grass, dusty gravel, and packed dirt, so leave your pristine white sneakers and heels at home. However, you don't necessarily need hiking boots or chunky trainers; comfortable sneakers, flats (or even jandals for the younger ones) are perfect.
Be sun (and rain) smart
There is very little shade along the trail, so keep an eye on the weather before you leave. If it's blue skies and sunshine, pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a bottle of water.
Don't miss the guidebook
If you've ever toured a museum with a guide, you know how context and background can transform the experience. Sculpture on the Gulf is no different. Strange or confusing pieces are transformed into cutting social commentary or poignant reflections when viewed alongside the event guidebook. This can be purchased at the information tent for $5.
Pack your masks and passes
All attendees over 12 years old will need to show their My Vaccine Pass, so have it handy in your wallet or on your phone. Face masks will be encouraged in all indoor locations and required for the ferry and on public transport.
Prepare for a little wait
To allow distancing, only 100 people will be allowed on the one-way track at a time. If you arrive using the event shuttle bus (which goes from Mataitia to the event entry), this will be scheduled every 20-30 minutes to ensure you can start the walk soon after arriving at the entry. If you arrive using a private vehicle or on foot, you'll be admitted as capacity allows.
Go from art viewer to art collector, if you wish
Since 2003, the event has helped up-and-coming to well-established artists build networks, gain exposure and actually sell their pieces. All works (apart from 12 that have already sold ahead of opening) will be for sale, so keep an eye out for little red stickers on their signs.
Make the most of the extended programme
Loved the trail? Keep the art adventuring going and see more installations in the Artworks precinct. This includes a special sculpture exhibition at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, where artists will smaller maquettes inspired by their larger walkway works.
For more information on transport, wheelchair accessibility, shuttles and more, check out the Sculpture on the Gulf website.