Travel

Talk about a great holiday

I STILL talk about my last trip to New Zealand more than 10 years ago.

Bungy jumping, blackwater rafting, high-ropes courses and a jet boat ride were just some of the items ticked off in an adrenalin-packed week.

I was sent on my way by a previous council which was promoting the first charter flights between the Sunshine Coast and Hamilton, New Zealand. I had written a couple of controversial council stories and I was sure the councillors were trying to kill me.

By comparison, the trip celebrating the first "real" international flights between the Sunshine Coast and Auckland was decidedly more placid.

Lunches and dinners in Auckland overlooking the spectacular waterfront harbour, a cruise to an island, visits to wineries and an art gallery, some shopping, and lots of walking around the city made for a far more relaxed experience.

The thing that strikes you about New Zealand is that, for such a small country, it has an incredible diversity of landscapes, people and climates.

One day, you can have sunshine and warmth and that afternoon there will be rain and wind.

One minute, you could be standing in the central city, surrounded by skyscrapers and designer stores, and within 45 minutes, you can be on the spectacular Waiheke Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The official guide to Auckland lists more than 40 "must-do" activities.

They include the Voyager NZ Maritime Museum, jet boating, Auckland Zoo, a sky walk, a sky jump, sailing, kayaking, a whale and dolphin experience, island dive and island dive and snorkel.

The city of 1.4 million people boasts the highest number of boats per capita in the world.

It also boasts one of the most diverse populations.

About 63% of its residents are of European descent, 11% are Maori, 13% are of Pacific Island descent and there is a growing Asian population of about 12%.

An explosion of ethnic restaurants and shops, provide for just about every taste.

One of the trendiest places to eat is Wynyard Quarter - the latest extension of Auckland's waterfront.

It is home to the Auckland Fish Market, some great North Wharf restaurants and maritime-themed play space for the kids.

It is a spectacular spot to watch the sun rise in the morning while enjoying a coffee.

The highlight of our short visit, however, had to be Waiheke Island.

Just a 35-minute ferry ride from the city, the island features amazing landscapes dotted with vineyards, olive groves, farmland and beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is home to about 8000 people, including some of New Zealand's richest. Homes start from about $700,000 and go through to the millions.

During the summer, the population swells to more than 50,000 as many choose to have their holidays in the sun.

Taking a stroll along some of the beautiful beach houses that lined one pristine bay, you can understand the appeal.

You can explore the island on a bike, scooter, or take a full commentary tour on a bus.

We checked out the Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, perched high up on the island, overlooking the Hauraki Gulf.

Great food and wine and very friendly service, combined with spectacular sunshine, made for a blissful Saturday afternoon.

Auckland accountants Robyn and Nicholas Jones bought the property when they were in their late 20s, thinking they would set up a vineyard, live off the land, quaff the fruit of the vines and live happily ever after.

Fortunately for everyone else, the vision became much bigger with a spectacular mudbrick restaurant and cellar which provides perfect conditions for ageing and storing wine.

 

Waiheke Island is also home to art studios and quaint shops while the more adventurous can go mountain biking or sea kayaking.

Some Maori legends say that one of the pioneering waka (canoes) to New Zealand came upon the island.

The first traces of Europeans arrived with the missionary Samuel Marsden in the early 1800s, several years after Captain Cook passed by and acknowledged the island in his travels through the Hauraki Gulf.

Signs of Maori occupation on Waiheke Island still exist today.

Archaeological sites are scattered over the island including more than 40 pa sites, cooking pits and terraces.

On the eastern tip of Waiheke is Stony Batter, a historic Second World War defence complex that is accessible by a countryside walk.

It offers striking views of the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel Peninsula.

It is open to visitors who can walk through the network of underground tunnels and chambers that link to magnificent gun emplacements.

Our only complaint was that we did not have enough island time.

Air New Zealand is now operating direct flights from the Sunshine Coast to Auckland. The trial is running from July until September 18. If there is a big enough demand, the flights will continue year round. There are more than 15,000 New Zealanders who now call the Sunshine Coast home.

Flights start from as little as $149 one way and there are special accommodation deals for people staying in Auckland. For more information go to www.airnewzealand.com.au

For things to do in Auckland, check out www.aucklandnz.com

>> Read more travel stories.

Topics:  holiday new zealand travel travelling



Commitment to find new home for Murwillumbah SES

Emergency services and police Minister Troy Grant and SES Commander Wayne Pettit at Murwillumbah SES.

Government promises to work with council to replace 'untenable' HQ.

BEER COLUMN: Rich drops best for temperature dip

Fire Falcon beer.

CHEERS TO BEERS with Bob Anthony

'Australian Legends World' theme park to also house 2500

Artist impression of Songcheng group’s planned Theme Park at Carrara.

The theme park will come with its own new suburb.

Local Partners

Caravan owner hits out at park boss: 'He should be ashamed'

“TO BE told ‘you’ve been there for 30 years, you’ve had your time’, who limits time? Does it mean to say that if you’re 80 you’ve had your time you can die?”


REVEALED: Meet our five Ninja Warriors

TWEED HEADS: Upcoming TV Series Ninja Warrior contestant Jaymes Wright.

Australian TV series starts next month on Channel Nine

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Take luxury food, wine tour around Toowoomba

FOODIE CULTURE: Emily Moon (left) and Cheryse Bliesner with the Hummer used for Toowoomba's Luxury Food and Wine Tour.

It is designed to highlight the best produce the region has to offer

Unfinished game raises over $130 million in sales

A video game that puts 100 players into a violent battle royal has already sold more than four million copies and it isn’t even close to polished

Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond dead aged 91

Paddington Bear.

Duffel-coated bear became an international superstar

Adele concert tours are no more: Star quits life on the road

After a mammoth world tour, Adele hints she may never hit the road again.

Adele’s heartbreaking note to fans on final night of world tour.

MOVIE REVIEW: The House wins for Ferrell

Jason Mantzoukas, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in a scene from The House.

Will Ferrell finally crank outs a decent comedy after two duds.

MOVIE REVIEW: Diary of a Wimpy Kid — The Long Haul

Jason Drucker in a scene from the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.

Latest film presses button on too many toilet gags.

Aly defends support for Richmond player banned for striking

Aly defends character reference for banned footballer Houli

No filter on talk in everyday Aussie workplaces

Hairdressers Nikki and Kathy star in Common Sense, the new TV series from the makers of Gogglebox.

Common Sense is like eavesdropping on water-cooler talk.

Island caretaker has weeks to live, abandons paradise

St Bees managing director Phil Webb, has been struck with illness and it has prompted the sale of the island.

His health has deteriorated in the past couple of months

Prime CBD site sold as laneway culture progresses

The Longs building Ruthven Street has been purchased by a group of investors to be renovated into a series of shops/eateries.  June 2017

How investors and council plan to transform the Toowoomba CBD

Major German supermarket set to open in southeast Queensland

German supermarket giant Kaufland is understood to have approached southeast Queensland councils about a possible distribution centre, which would kickstart the establishment of new supermarkets.

Supermarket giant Kaufland has its eyes firmly on Queensland.

Ocean views up for sale at Bargara Rise

LAND RELEASE: Rob Sergiacomi on site at the Bargara Rise development off Watsons Road Bargara.

More ocean-view land comes on the market at Bargara

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!