Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AUCKLAND

18 Feb 2008 – Departing Auckland New Zealand 9:30 PM. Went on a wine tour today. Brian found a fellow over the internet and he was great – www.finewinetours.co.nz. He’s been doing this for 8 years and has published a popular NZ wine guide. Clyde, Mary and Brian were the only guests on the tour today. Phil picked us up at the ship, took us to three wineries, a great lunch and to see some of the sights. He also provided cheese and his own homemade tomato relish along the way. Since NZ has a fairly cool climate, they are better known for their whites than their reds. We had lots of great Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc but Clyde did not care for the reds very much – found them harsh and tannic. They did have some Reislings that were very fruity tasting and drier than any we had ever tasted – we liked them. We were able to bring a few bottles aboard for future consumption. Things are very reasonable here with $1 US == $2 NZ. Our wine tour was $75 US all inclusive.

Countryside was very pretty rolling hills. Reminded us of a cross between Oregon (lots of fruit stands and some drizzle) with California (green hills and brown hills) plus something exotic thrown in that is hard to pin down. We also got a look at a kiwi fruit orchard. It consisted of vines trained on tall trellises so that it creates a shady canopy about 5 feet above the ground and the kiwi fruits hang down – not in clusters like grapes, but quite thickly. The harbor area is a happening place – lots of trendy restaurants and bars. The people are very friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Auckland is a modern interesting city – reminded us a bit of Toronto. They have a large tower in the center of the city that is a major landmark – something like the Tokyo Tower or the Seattle Space Needle, but with an interesting twist – they have a setup where you can be hooked to a static line and jump off a platform 197 meters up the tower on a static line and plunge to the ground. Brian got a bit of footage of people doing so. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that Phil had recommended. It was full of Chinese patrons (a good sign) and quite good. They also had several tanks full of the biggest lobsters we have ever seen. (see pic)

We will be cruising along the east coast of NZs North Island until about noon tomorrow and then we will turn southwest toward Tasmania.

1 comment:

  1. We look forward to seeing Clyde's photos taken with the Tasmanian devils!!

    ReplyDelete