Photo: Nicholas Carlson
I flew down to Auckland, New Zealand last Thursday with no plans for the weekend.By that evening, I’d met some locals.
By Sunday afternoon, I was with one of them, 35 minutes from the city, off the coast of a small island called Waiheke, reeling in ocean salmon and snapper.
Before I went out there for myself, Kiwis would describe Waiheke to me, a New Yorker, as their equivalent of the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard.
It’s a fair comparison.
Like those places, Waiheke is a vacationer ‘s island – with a population of about 5,000 in the winter (now) and more than 20,000 in summer.
But unlike those places, Waiheke is full of Kiwis. And nothing beats Kiwi hospitality.
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. It has 1.5 million people and feels a lot like Seattle.
New Zealand is a archipelago of volcanic island. The newest one near Auckland is 700 years old, and on the horizon here
A taxi driver named Max picks us up. He and our host, Dr. Tom Mulholland, have lots of mutual acquaintances
There were also oysters, pulled from the ocean a short jog away. If only we could go back for more of them.
Somehow, we pulled ourselves away. We head for the ocean for some fishing. It's raining, but that won't last.
Amid mult-million dollar mansions Blake's is a modest, almost ideal spread. See the boat with wheels? It's called a Sealegs. It's amphibious. Blake drives us right over the beach and out into the bay on it.
Two hours later, we do not come back empty-handed! Left to right, that's an ocean salmon and a snapper.
The proprietors are Tony and Moira Forsyth. They bought the land in 1996 and opened the restaurant in 2001.
After the vineyard, it's time to head to Dr. Tom's place and cook up the fish! We stop at a grocery story.
You should know that I flew to New Zealand on New Zealand's dime. The government offered to buy my ticket and get me a hotel room so I could meet some entrepreneurs down here.
Scratch that; I jumped at the chance.
I promise to keep any stories I write about them honest.
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