A whirlwind of a trip to New Zealand last fall (their spring) left us so enamored of The Land of the Long White Cloud that we were inspired to head back this spring (their fall).
In anticipation, here are some final memories of our previous N-Zed sojourn – which can start you on your way to a perfect spring (fall) or fall (spring) excursion as well.
Giapo Ice Cream
All the fresh fish and farm to table veggies were amazing, but we’ll never forget the over the top ice cream creations at Auckland’s Giapo; yes that’s a chocolate covered giant squid.
Marine Life Voyeurism
Our trip was very much urban focused, but there are also lots of great outdoorsy activities in NZ. And our fascinating exploration of nature included taking to the water in a see-through kayak, to discover Goat Island’s undersea marine reserve – and we didn’t even get wet.
Dining and Bedding Down at the Boatshed
Few hotels have left us more enchanted than Waiheke Island’s magnificent Boatshed, where our sublime three-course dinner was served in the communal living room – and our bedroom looked out over Waiheke’s ethereal, expansive Oneroa Bay.
An NZ History Lesson
New Zealand’s modern history is amazingly less than 400 years old, so pretty much all of it fits in Wellington’s fascinating Te Papa Tongarewa museum. Our guided tour included an up close look at an amazing exhibit on the WW1 Gallipoli campaign, which featured enormous, haunting human sculptures.
When you learn that there are no snakes in NZ, you’ll truly appreciate their strict/draconian customs requirements. That leaves plenty of room for the close to 200 species of birds, most of which can be found at the very cool Zealandia bird sanctuary.
Image by Brendon Doran
The Birds on Safari
If you prefer taking in your bird species one at a time, we found our afternoon coastal safari to Hawkes Bay’s Gannet colony to be utterly breathtaking. After a 45-minute drive through majestic canyons, you emerge on top of a mountain to a swarm (Gaggle? Flock?) of gannets at your feet. Stupendous!
Discover the utterly charming Hawkes Bay town of Napier, either on bike, or vintage car, depending on your energy level – including Takaro Trails and Napier’s Art Deco Trust. Insider tip; it’s way easier not spilling a cocktail in the back of a 1930’s Packard than on a bicycle.
New Zealand Wine, You Must
We must make a last mention of our favorite wine excursion, Man O’ War Vineyards on Waiheke Island. It was only reached by seaplane, and where our 10am visit included sampling their unforgettable Estate Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Tulia Blanc de Blanc.