June 27, 2006

Almost time to visit the naked natives

I see that Waiheke island and New Zealand are featuring in several local newspapers in Massachussetts:
"Take a half-hour sail across Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke, the Martha’s Vineyard of New Zealand - only imagine Martha’s Vineyard 50 years ago, a charming, unspoiled place called home by grape growers, fishermen and artists. Accommodations are small inns and B&Bs and natives swear the air and water temperature is always 10 degrees milder than it is on the mainland.
Spend a day exploring the remnants of more than 50 native Maori villages, then mountain bike the rolling hills or hike from vineyard to vineyard (carrying plenty of bread and cheese for a picnic). Waiheke means “cascading water” in Maori, and its idyllic beaches are a key attraction. A few hours basking on Little Oneroa or nude Palm Beach, and you’ll be ready to take on the rest of New Zealand."
I have no idea whether Waiheke looks/feels like Martha's Vineyard as I've never been there (let alone 50 years ago). The "50 native Maori villages" are unfortunately only in Ms Miller's mind and one wonders whether she has actually been here. There's a marae (traditional Maori meeting house) that you can visit but it's not really billed as a tourist attraction, it is an integral part of Maori society here. "Nude Palm Beach" is spot on and a highlight for any traveller to our island - there's really nothing better than getting down and naked with the natives on the beach for a taste of local life.
If you decide to come, plan a summer holiday (Christmas to Easter) here, it was freezing this morning!

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