Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism - taken by Chris McLennan
Excerpt from the Ensemble October monthly magazine - written by Craig Tansley;
Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism - taken by Chris McLennan
Perhaps you’ve tasted a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc like Oyster Bay, but little else is known about the country’s wine throughout North America. While Australian Shiraz and Chardonnay hog the Australasian limelight, New Zealand is home to some of the world’s best wine in the world’s most unique vineyards. We share some of the secrets…
When thinking of South America, Peru, Brazil and Argentina often get the most attention. But don't overlook Chile, a country with a diverse landscape north to south and ample things to see and experience.
It's no secret. I fell in love with this country over 10 years ago. Warm and friendly people, great food, wine, interesting history. And for me, the absolute best was the amazing scenic beauty and wildlife. There is no doubt I'll be returning.
Here are my top 8 reasons to visit:
Whakatane Ohope International Golf Club - photo courtesy of NZ Tourism - taken by Strike-Photography
Despite being a relatively small country (about the size of Oregon or Colorado), it's quite easy to spend months exploring New Zealand's north and south islands. So much to see, experiences to take in, food, wine and people to meet.
One special touring route is a drive down the beautiful east coast on New Zealand's Pacific Coast Highway. Check out this itinerary between Auckland and Napier.
Australia's largest state, WA for short, stretches over a third of the nation, borders two oceans and has more pristine beaches than any other state. And with only 10% of the nation's population, it is far less crowded than Australia's eastern states.
Nature and aquatic wildlife, pioneer history, Aboriginal Australia and food, wine and beer experiences are just a few reasons that attract visitors to WA.
Old world European charm. Serene villages. Steep and narrow landscapes dotted with romantic castles and lovely vineyards. Gentle, winding bike and walking trails. World-class wine. Delectable cuisine. This is the Moselle River valley.
And where I had my first official wine tasting.
Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism (Lake-Wakatipu Queenstown)
I know if you were to ask a Kiwi or folks who have experienced the wonderfulness of New Zealand, they would give way more reasons on why you'll fall in love with the country. Wonderful, proud, friendly people, stunning scenery, unique flora, fauna and wildlife, the land of Bilbo Baggins and the Shire, caves lit up by glow worms, delicious food and wine - these just a few.
Here are my top reasons:
Photo courtesy of New Zealand Tourism - photo by Julian Apse.
New Zealand is blessed with numerous wine regions, on both the North and South Islands. Lucky for those living in or visiting Auckland, one is a short 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland - Waiheke Island.
With it's warm and dry weather, this 12 mile long island is a great spot to grow a variety of wines. Waiheke is home to 30+ boutique wineries and award winning wines, including Bordeaux style reds (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc), Syrah and even some Chardonnay.
Whether you are short on time or have a few days, Waiheke is well worth a visit.
These days there are cruise themes for many different interests: Golf, art, photography, World War II history, cultural heritage, gardening, beer, and yes, wine. Wine themed cruises have been around for several years and are growing in popularity. They offer exclusive access to vineyards, winemakers, special talks and tastings one normally doesn't have access to.
River cruising continues to be very, very popular. Plenty of new ships are being launched, along with new itineraries, new ports of call, ships dedicated to younger travelers and excursions dedicated to wellness and being more active.
River cruising is truly amazing. And the good news is that one doesn't have to leave North America to take advantage of this exceptional experience. One region relatively under the radar is the Columbia River (and her tributaries).
Have you "been there, done that" and want a different type of vacation experience? How about a truly unique trip for a family reunion or simply a group of friends? Are you looking for time to unwind and unplug? Interested in visiting roads and waters less traveled, getting into the heart of a country, strolling through quaint villages, mingling with locals?
A luxury barge cruise may be just the ticket!
Photo courtesy of European Waterways
River cruising is quite popular, for many great reasons. Especially in Europe, where rivers have long been major transportation hubs, cruises offer passengers ample opportunity to experience history at its best and visit sites off the well traveled trail. The number of passengers onboard is far less than ocean cruising, which creates a more intimate environment, smaller excursion groups and time to meet and mingle with fellow travelers.
As much as I love to travel internationally, sometimes staying closer to home and getting to the destination (and back home again) in a few short hours is just "what the doctor ordered". Less airport time, less jetlag....a perfect prescription.
Alaska and the Caribbean are top destinations for many who want a "quick" getaway - the standard 7-10 day escape. These regions are tops for cruises, and for good reason. Definitely fun, exciting, adventurous and relaxing destinations. But sometimes you may just want something different.
There a number of other cruise destinations closer to home - from the East coast to the West coast and in between - that you may not have thought or even known about. Different from the bi ship cruises, are you ready to try something unique, something that will get you away from the crowds? Could one of these small ship trips be in your future?
Vancouver B.C. - a fantastic destination all year round. The city and the surrounding area has so much to offer, from nature and wildlife to culture, the arts and culinary delights. Something for everyone, and a great value right now for US visitors especially considering the current exchange rate.
Did you know Australia has more than 2400 wineries located in 65 wine regions and that they grow 100 different grape varieties?
Go beyond the cellar door - check out this collection of premium, award winning wineries offering unique experiences within Australia's most renowned wine regions.