lifeafloat New Zealand wines have become increasingly recognised over the last few decades, and the country exports 80% of its production around the world, with great success in the UK and US markets. Whilst the Marlborough region further south is already famous for its great Sauvignon Blanc - among other excellent wines - Waiheke Island, only 45 minutes away by boat from Auckland, is fast becoming another wine hotspot. A tiny island the size of Singapore, Waiheke focuses on high quality, bespoke production of white wines, as well as interesting attempts at the development of original red wines. The Cable Bay restaurant and winery ( this page and opposite page, top left) is a prime spot on the wine scene and offers a vineyard tour, with lunch amidst the vines, accompanied by samples of the local vintages. An all- encompassing experience, the restaurant lies in a stunning location amidst vines and olive trees overlooking the city of Auckland in the distance. Cable Bay also features exhibitions of famed local artists. The local entrepreneurs are passionate about their local produce and delight in sharing this with visitors. One such couple can be found at the nearby Destiny Bay winery. Having visited New Zealand's Waiheke Island, they fell in love with the country and people and relocated from the US West Coast to set up the Destiny Bay winery.
58Isea& iIAUTUMN 2009 Rolling pastures, snow capped mountains, ancient forests and dramatic coastlines - the tranquil beauty of New Zealand inspires all those who cruise its stunning shores Kiwi connection F or an unparalleled multi- centre cruising destina-tion, the two islands of New Zealand are utterly enchanting. Home to some of the world's greatest sailing, New Zealand's North Island plays host to Auckland, renowned as the ' city of sails'. Cultured and calm, the city is abounding with fine restaurants and shops. For a taste of the best the city has to offer, stroll down the streets of Parnell or Ponsonby, located on one of the hills neighbouring the city centre, where designer shops and art galleries line up in boutiques whose architecture is reminiscent of the older days when the Auckland region was merely a group of small villages. Overlooked by the Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour bustles with life in the evening and over the weekends, when people take on the pedestrian walkways all around to enjoy a glass of wine or fine food in the numerous bars and restaurants that opened in the early 2000' s, at the time when the America's Cup made its way to Auckland. Among these, make your way down to Soul Bar and Bistro ( www. soulbar. co. nz), a lively contemporary restaurant with excellent fusion cuisine and New Zealand flavour, great wines and excellent service. Other places worth a culinary visit include the French Café ( www. thefrenchcafé. co. nz), Iguacu ( www. iguacu. co. nz), and the aforementioned Clooney ( www. clooney. co. nz) located near the quaint Victoria Park, where you will also find the renowned Victoria Park Market. Located in a former factory, the market is where you will find local arts and crafts including Maori designs. For those looking for more serious pieces the Moko Artspace Below left: the diversity of landscapes in New Zealand has no equivalent the world over Below right: The Chuan Spa at the Langham Hotel offers fabulous facilities