On a Road Trip about the North Island
A journalist for Canada’s Calgary Herald spent several weeks traipsing across New Zealand. In the first of two stories about the country, Will Ferguson details what he found on the North Island.
“New Zealand is a land of contrasts and nowhere is this more evident than in the North Island, with its thick rainforests and secluded coastlines, small towns and eclectic cities,” Fergusson writes for the newspaper. “Here is an easy four-day road trip from Wellington to Gisborne, featuring art deco treasures, fine food, and wine. Lots and lots of wine.
“New Zealand’s Wairarapa region [is] a patchwork of towns, each with its own distinct personality. Travel writer Sara Bunny met me in Featherston for a culinary tour of the region. ‘We’ll start with C’est Cheese.’
“A designated ‘book town’, with a concentration of second-hand and antiquarian shoppes, Featherston is also home to an artisanal shop famed for its blue cheeses made from organic milk at its own creamery. The shop features a newly opened ‘cheese bar’ which includes – egads! – its own take on poutine. Canada’s unfortunate influence on world cuisine continues.
“From Featherston we made the short drive to Martinborough, a town laid out in a Union Jack formation around a central square. More than 20 wineries, most family owned, are within walking, cycling or (depending on how much one has imbibed) wobbling distance from the town centre. Or, if you want to sample the town’s labels at one-stop drinking, Martinborough features a Wine Bank, an actual historic bank no less, where the region’s famed pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and others are on tap. Yes, wine on tap. In a bank.”
The writer also visits Greytown, the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, where he discovers his “all-time favourite spot on this North Island road trip: [the] Dome Cinema, recently voted one of the top 10 ‘coolest cinemas’ in the world.”
Original article by Will Ferguson, Calgary Herald, May 18, 2019.
Photo by Ray Sheldrake.