Getting Close to Perfect on the North Island
“Countless travellers fantasise about New Zealand as a place untouched by much of the world’s bustle and strain,” Jim Farber writes for the New York Daily News. Farber tours the North Island to see what all the fuss is about and finds that parts of the country come as close to paradise “as earth is likely to get”.
“The less-touristy North Island boasts a screen-saver-worthy beauty that rivals the more mountainous and remote south,” he writes.
“The island also offers great opportunities for bicycle fetishists like me. During my stay, I took four cycling jaunts, each vastly different in challenge and setting. The first sent me around downtown Auckland, which boasts many dedicated lanes, all easily navigable, despite the city’s hilly topography. Biking let me breeze through the Wynyard Quarter which snakes around the wide harbour, on over to the Britomart precinct, which features some of the few heritage Victorian buildings preserved in a town more prone to tearing-down-and building anew.
“Ditching the bike, I took a fast, 35-minute ferry out to Waiheke Island, which boasts first-class wineries. A highlight was Passage Rock, where I sipped a Reserve Chardonnay that lingered on the pallet. The rolling land has equal staying power. Views from tiny wineries like Mudbrick Vineyard stretch all the way back to the city.
“My last stop was Wellington, the once sleepy seat of government which has transformed into an arty, Portlandia type town, complete with challenging hills and charming wooden Victorian architecture.
“One hour north lies the Napa Valley-like Wairarapa Valley, which contains James Cameron’s vegan-pure Food Forest Organics shop in adorably precious Greytown. I had the most leisurely, and drunken, bike experience of my trip here, via Green Jersey tours, which wound me through many wine tastings.”
Original article by Jim Farber, New York Daily News, April 28, 2018.
Photo by Todd Eyre.