Category Archives: Auckland

Highlighting the Chardonnay wines from New Zealand

Wine has been grown in New Zealand for nearly 200 years with the first vines introduced by Samuel Marsden in 1819. For most of its history, the New Zealand industry actually focused on producing fortified wines for the local community, due to their greater emphasis on animal agriculture and a preference for beer and spirits.

This all changed during the 60’s and 70’s when Britain entered the EEC, leading to New Zealand exploring more diverse and more cost effective agricultural options for overseas trade. Other factors include the growing popularity of travelling and the recognition that wine is a stable and lucrative culture in Europe.

ChardonnayThe rise of Chardonnay wines

Many different types of grapes were grown in New Zealand, starting with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir. These early successes led to a growth in the industry which led to an oversupply for a while in the 80’s, causing some growers to leave the industry and others to switch to more fashionable varieties such as Chardonnay.

New Zealand is now well-known for both its Sauvignon Blanc and range of Chardonnay wines and the grapes are grown on the North and South Islands, mainly along the east coast regions.

The focus on white wines was due to the lack of sunshine in New Zealand, making some of the red varieties less abundant and vigorous, although Pinot Noir now has a solid foothold in the market.

Due to the difference in climates and hours of sunshine between the two New Zealand Islands, there is a distinct difference in the taste of the Chardonnay wines. One notable difference is that on the North Island, Chardonnay grapes are harvested in mid to late February, due to the late summer heat, but not until mid-April, are they harvested in the South Island. This leads to a difference in acidity and richness to the wine, between the North and South islands.

In general there are 3 major growing areas for Chardonnay in New Zealand.

Gisborne: Located on the eastern tip of New Zealand, Gisborne grapes are blessed with lots of sunshine, shelter from the mountains and fertile alluvial soils. This warm, dry climate has cooling afternoon breezes, which makes this the perfect area for growing their world-class Chardonnay grapes.

Hawkes Bay: Just 3 hours south of Gisborne is Hawkes Bay, this region has more of an eclectic type of soil, ranging from fertile sandy loams to gravelly coastal areas. Whilst Gisborne is famous for its Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay is the leading producer of full-bodied red wines in New Zealand, although they also specialise in rich and complex Chardonnays.

Marlborough: Located on the north-eastern corner of the South Island, Marlborough has broad alluvial plains, protective mountain ranges and whilst it is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, it also produces some of the best Chardonnays in New Zealand.

With its natural beauty and wonderful climate, it is no surprise that New Zealand has risen to prominence in the wine industry. To make the most of the available range of chardonnays from New Zealand, match them with seafood, chicken or cheese and don’t forget a rich, creamy garlic sauce and a crisp tomato salad.




Best Aquariums in America – Georgia Aquarium


The United States of America has a wonderful wildlife. For preservation and conservation of the animals and natural life there are number of habitats to encourage them to thrive. Several protect areas have been defined and worked upon. In terms of the sea life there are several aquariums that feature on the list of best aquariums in the country, one such example is the Georgia Aquarium. It is notable that its vision is to be most engaging aquarium experience worldwide.

Best Aquariums in America Georgia Aquarium

As the name suggests Georgia Aquarium is in Georgia Atlanta. It has approximately 10 million US gallons of fresh and marine water that supports its 100,000 animals. Interestingly when it opened in 2005, it had the distinction of being the largest in the World. This magical aquarium is home to over 500 species including sharks, whales, dolphins and rays.

Georgia_AquariumThe founding president and ex-executive director of the aquarium Jeff Swanagan played a huge role in coming up with this massive tourist attraction. A trip through this wondrous place highlights each of its exhibits well. The design is amongst the best in the world and is able to entertain, educate and inspire the visitors for sure. The whale shark here can be viewed from the theatre and was imported from Taiwan. Great hammerhead sharks are the other crowd pullers here along with the five beluga whales.

Nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts and wildlife watchers all visit America and its many attractions. People from within the country as well as overseas visit places of their interest every year. Those traveling from foreign locations usually need to obtain a valid tourist visa for legally entering US. There are select countries whose citizens don’t need a visa. These fall under the Visa Waiver Program and can temporarily visit by applying for ESTA visa authorization.

Number of interactive programs are organized here including the Cold Water Quest, Kids Corner, 4D Theater, Journey with Gentle Giants, Ocean Voyager, Dolphin Tales Show, Tropical Diver, Behind the Scenes Tour, River Scout and the Georgia Explorer. The Learning Loop is the gallery space for educating students and visitors. This occupies pretty much one fourth of the entire place. The aquarium makes an offbeat choice for hosting weddings, events and other special events. Birthday parties are organized here which includes tickets along with diverse themes like Shark, Mermaid, Pirate, and Dolphin for the kids. The cafe serves a meal for the invitees with pizza/ hot dog, fountain drink, goldfish crackers etc. There parties take place behind the scenes and are not for general public to participate in. Otherwise too the Cafe serves salads, grilled items, pizzas, soups, pastas, deli, beverages, snacks and deserts. The gift shop here has array of collectible, apparel, books and art pieces. It even offers an online shop.

Amazing City of Auckland

City of Auckland

Auckland is not only the largest city in New Zealand but also the largest Polynesian city in the world. There is a diverse landscape with rainforests, beaches and even volcanoes.

I stayed at the Langham hotel in Auckland with a good location within walking distance of shops and some main tourist attractions such as the Auckland Museum and the Auckland Art Gallery. The hotel had a good variety of dining options and a spa where I treated myself to a relaxing treatment known as the five elements rebalance and would definitely recommend.

Auckland SailboatsAuckland has lots to do whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation. The Civic theater is a beautiful building and worth paying a visit to. I suggest watching a show at the Civic.

Something not to be missed is Auckland’s sky tower which gives you breathtaking views of the city. I dined at Orbit which is a revolving restaurant located at the sky tower and enjoyed the combination of delicious food with the amazing views of the city.

One of my favorite day trips was a visit to Rangitoto Island, which is a 25 minute ferry ride away. Rangitoto is the largest of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones. You can take the train or if you have the energy take a walk up to the summit passing black lava caves on the way.

Another place to see is the Kelly Tarlton’s sea life aquarium which has the world’s largest exhibit of the Antarctic Penguins. Auckland Zoo is also a popular tourist attraction.

My trip to the Waitakere Ranges was an unforgettable experience. I took the opportunity to take a walking tour in the rainforest which was definitely the highlight of my trip. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to explore the beauty of native rainforests.

When looking for places to eat, you will be spoiled for choice. There is a wide selection of cuisines with some fantastic restaurants. One restaurant I found particularly good was Andiamo. The service was brilliant and the food was delicious. They also had a good choice of options for vegetarians.
Tyler Garage has a beautiful waterfront location with Asian fusion cuisine. If you don’t fancy eating there, it’s also a great place to sit and relax while sipping on drinks from the rooftop.

Auckland NightlifeAuckland has a vibrant nightlife with clubs have a lively and friendly atmosphere. Bungalow 8 in the famous viaduct district makes for a fun night out, as does the Havana club situated on Commerce street.

Auckland is an amazing city with so much to do no matter what your age. The city has many great things to see and do. I feel like there is so much I still haven’t seen and so will definitely be making another visit there soon.