There are many ways to enjoy an apero with your friends. One of the best ones I experienced until today was in the southern hemisphere springtime, as we were visiting our friend and bride-to-be in New Zealand. If you have the chance one day to go to New Zealand, take the time to visit the Bay of Islands in the Northern part of the North Island. There, hundreds of islands are creating a unique and protected environment for many species such as dolphins and kiwis. This is also the place where the Maori tribes and early European settlers set the stones of the nation of New Zealand in the 19th century. The Bay of Islands is well-renowned for its beautiful beaches and as an excellent fishing and sailing spot.
We arrived there on a fine sunny afternoon after a day road trip from Auckland through wide green landscapes, stopping by orchards and quirky cafes on the way. Our friend had kept for us a surprise for the end of the day: a winery kayak tour. From Paihia, we boarded in kayaks to cross over to the Omata winery. It took us a few adjustments to get accustomed to the paddling and to actually move forward instead of in circles… thanks to the patience and good tips from our guide Matt, we soon managed to reach our destination. We climbed up through the bushes and after a short stroll across the ferns and low trees, the vines field opened up in front of us.
This was the sort of travelling shots you see in the movies: a 180-degree view over the vines caressed by the generous sun and the sea salted wind, the blue bay waters, the white sailing boats and the green hills. As we sampled the local specialities: Summer merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah… and got to know our fellow companions, the sunset light was taking a golden shade that changed all colours by the minute. More than a stunning view, it was a shared feeling: the one to be in the right place at the right time with the right persons… and with good wines. On the way back, all you could see was a bunch of cheerful and chatty grins bouncing merrily up and down across the vines.