This is our on-the-ground introduction to the New Zealand wine scene, focused on the South Island regions of Marlborough, Central Otago, and Nelson. It includes recommended wineries, a wine cottage experience for the romance bucket list, and an insight into how wine tasting in New Zealand can be more frightening than jumping off a bridge.
This is a story about living in someone else's shadow. It's also the beginning of our answer to the question: New Zealand, North Island or South Island?
Imagine a geeky younger boy who grows up in the shadow of his brother, the all-star. The big brother gets all the attention, all the fame. But it's the younger brother with whom you develop a special relationship, who was allowed to surprise you because you spent some time with him.
This is our relationship with New Zealand's North Island. It lives in the travel shadow of its South Island brother. Sure, the South Island is spectacular (yes, we'll get to that), but it's on the North Island that our New Zealand love affair began.
While most may steer you directly to the South Island when asked about New Zealand travel, we take a different approach. Visit both. Really. You can thank us later.
One minute, you're in the center of the town of Franz Josef, a cafe on one side of you, a pizzeria on the other. Then, within minutes, you are transported to another world. Your helicopter pops up into the air, through jagged mountain crags, just before dropping you into the heart of a glacier, an otherworldly ice field of turquoise blues and glowing whites.
This was Franz Josef Glacier.
This is a story about losing our surfing virginity on the beaches of Raglan, a town on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s also about taking a step back to appreciate that learning to surf is a lot like learning to live life itself.
I am starting to wonder about you guys. every time you celebrate your ‘love' (V-day, anniversary) you jump off something very high. Please explain.
— A good friend responds to our Valentine’s Day bungy jump, capturing a little problem we seem to have.
So there we were in New Zealand, Valentine’s Day approaching. We find ourselves in Queenstown, the so-called adventure capital of the world where just about any adrenaline-pumping, blood-draining exercise can be found. So we think: What sort of shared experience, that we haven’t done before, can we do together to celebrate Valentine's Day?
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves fortunate enough to be surrounded by so much beauty that we can feel a bit like we are drowning. In these moments, we need a dose of wisdom, an aid in context that allows us to grasp it all at once, to properly honor it, to put it into perspective.
Some places on our planet seem to lend themselves to the imagination, that is to the image of the mind, to putting eyes closed and attempting to place yourself somewhere you’ve never been. Think about it: there are endless beautiful places on Earth that evince all manner of beauty, but among them, there are a few special places whose reputation so precedes them.
One of those places: New Zealand.