Long shorelines. Natural bays. Islands off its coast. Cosmopolitan vibe. The similarities between Mumbai and Auckland couldn’t be more obvious. Yet, the historically and culturally richer Mumbai could learn a lot from its comparatively younger commercial counterpart in New Zealand, when it comes to promoting its sights and sounds, as Fiona Fernandez discovered
It’s sad enough that the Elephanta Festival hasn’t taken off this year, and the historic caves continue to lie in ruin. Waiheki, a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, is a vineyard haven, offers a second home/retreat to many Aucklanders and makes for the ideal weekend escape with varied options ranging from kayaking, walking trails around its varied topography, ancient Maori sites, and even stunning wedding locales at its landscaped vineyard resorts!
About the island: www.waihekenz.com
For an island tour: www.ananda.co.nz
It’s possible to chill at vineyards (Stonyridge on Waiheki Island, in pic) over wine, great food over a relaxed weekend.
Be it the clean shorelines, scenic promenades or tastefully done sea-facing cafes and restaurants, it’s all here. Rules are abided by; and unlike in Mumbai, civic sense is applause-worthy at every square mile of their shoreline. Beach strips abound and make for a safe place to take a dip, sip on a beer or chill. Sea-kissed restaurants and promenades like those at Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers Bayor, Ladies Bay and by the Ferry Building offer stunning views, especially at sunset. Blessed with hundreds of km of pristine coastline, it’s believed to have the largest boat ownership per capita in the world.
Eat at: Harbourside Seafood Bar & Grill, www.harbourside.co.nz
The coastline offers stunning views of the Tasman Sea. Pics/Fiona Fernandez
Guided tours with a difference
Imagine this — the wind in your hair, as you zip past negligible traffic and soak in the city’s sights and sounds, while a leather-jacket clad Harley Davidson-riding guide shares tidbits of information along the way. The innovative idea of discovering a city on a mean machine sure leaves an impression. A far cry from our deadpan open-bus guided tours.
For your ride: Bularangi Harley Tours www.bularangi.com/harley
Mount Eden is one of the spots that are on the Harley city tour.
Be it the buzzing, smoky cafes around downtown Auckland that whip up Turkish to Tahitian cuisine, vineyard restaurants, the sky-high restaurants for its sweeping city views or Waiheki Island's wine-laced gastronomic indulgences, the foodie will be spoilt for choice across Auckland. With fresh produce ranging from seafood to red meats, and indigenous wine labels to tipple over, it makes for a delish feast, every time.
Eat at: www.skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/the-sugar-club; www.stonyridge. co.nz; ww.mudbrick.co.nz
Think out of the box
It’s a no-brainer to figure which of the two cities tops the skyscraper list. But adventure-obsessed Kiwis seem to have found an apt location to whet their thrills even in commercial Auckland at the Auckland Sky Tower (the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere). With sky jumps (192 m) and skywalks around the tower on offer, it’s a heady way to see the city and satiate your adrenaline rush. Take your pick! When can Mumbai boast of such an fun activity in the heart of the city?
How to sign up: www.skyjump.co.nz
The skywalk or the sky jump offer panoramic views of the city from its highest manmade structure. pic courtesy/
tourism new zealand
How to reach
Regular flights on Singapore Airlines connect Auckland with Mumbai.
Log on to: http://www.tourismnewzealand.com for complete travel plans.