If you’re not local you might find yourself chanting “Hookah Chaka Hookah Chaka” on the somewhat lengthy plane ride over. Don’t be put off, you’ll be wishing you had extended your travels by the time you’re due to return. If you’re an “All Blacks” fan it goes without saying that you would spend your last pennies just to see these majestic lads line up side by side to sound out the guttural tones accompanying the “Haka” traditional Maori war dance. This is but one of the statuesque sights to absorb in Kiwi territory. Lets not forget that the city has been built around 48 extinct volcanoes, which leaves a mindboggling geographical summary at the very least.
New Zealand is a key exporter of seafood and vegetable crops. Their horticultural industry is booming and one look at the landscape and natural resources beggars the question as to why this beautiful piece of land is not more inhabited. Known as a country with more sheep than people, the latest figures show a ratio of 9 to 1. It comes as no surprise therefore that statistically they have maintained their reputation as producing some of the finest quality wool in the world.
Nothing is too far from the water and all kinds of outdoor activities are open for exploration. For some crazy adrenalin action have a go at bungee jumping off Harbor Bridge. Award winning wineries are also a must on your to do list but make sure you bungee jump before the wine tasting to avoid a messy outcome.
Cruising with dolphins or walking through local forests are all within close reach, it’s just a case of finding the time to fit it all in. Don’t forget Vulcan Lane for some quirky shopping and Karekare Beach where you can relax and pummel your feet as you sink them into the famous black sand. Close by and within easy reach are two little spots of tropical paradise known as Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island. Both are equally as beautiful and certainly well worth a visit.
As for gay life these down to earth folk have more than welcomed same-sex marriage. Gay and Lesbian residents live side by side and the community is well accustomed to acting as a lighthouse in the forward endeavors toward gay awareness and equality. Their first elected transsexual Member of Parliament leads the way towards strong community ties with a brigade of followers to ensure other such successions. Kiwis are free thinkers with equality running deep in their native blood. Although there is no defined gay neighborhood, they like it that way, as the belief of segregating any group runs contrary to their value system.
Auckland’s Gay Pride Parade has now returned after a decade of noted absence. February will be the highlight of the gay calendar year, with a 13-day bumper influx of LGBT travelers occupying every hotel room in town. The return of this famed event will create quite a stir and shall no doubt be welcomed back with open arms. As summed up by one savvy traveler, this is one hell of a vacation destination.
Photos: Auckland Tourism