Archives for Travel

On the 1835 Declaration of Independence

With Waitangi Day on 6 February, some attention will focus on the status and relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi in modern times, and on whether it is the founding document of our country. Some claim that the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand is a better model for relations between Māori and other New Zealanders. John Bishop uncovered some widely differing viewpoints when he travelled to Northland recently. View as PDF
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Lord of the forest stands tall

Walking in Waipoua Forest, in Northland, New Zealand we come across Tane Mahuta. We are standing at the base of Tane Mahuta, 16.41m around, 51.2m tall, carbon dated at around 3000 years old. He’s still alive and growing, although slowly. Lord of the forest stands tall
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Buy carefully on London Food Tours

Food tours are enormously popular in many major cities around the world, and often in areas with unique cuisines. London presents a special challenge as Europeans generally look down upon English cooking as stodgy, provincial and unimaginative. John Bishop found there is plenty to be delighted about as he took three food tours around London, with some history and culture thrown in. View article as PDF
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Continental river cruise

There are few things better in life than quietly drifting down two of Europe’s best-known rivers in comfortable surroundings, well fed, with plentiful supplies of wine and other drinks, rising each day to a new town and a new experience. View as PDF
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Low lights of Louisiana

Baton Rouge, the capital of the state of Louisiana, presents a medley of experiences for visitors, both in the city itself and as a jumping off point for the state’s many natural attractions, including swamps, alligators, fine historical houses, and special French flavour not found elsewhere. View as PDF
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A Walking tour of Boston published

A piece I wrote about the joys of walking around Boston has been published in Rotary Downunder, the magazine that goes to 61 000 Rotarians in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands
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Profiling three Kiwi Chefs in New York in the Listener

  As a result of my travels in the US earlier this year I’ve had a piece published in this week’s Listener on three Kiwi chefs making a go of it in New York, including the big guy Matt Lambert whose restaurant holds a Michelin Star. The others are Pauli Morgan of the Nelson Blue bar and restaurant and Mark Simmons of the Kiwiana Café in Brooklyn. A pleasure to talk to all of them.
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Airbnb booming in Spain – is it  a good experience?

News that the number of tourist beds in Spain offered by Airbnb operators now outnumbers hotel beds is an interesting development but not necessarily a welcome one. AFP quotes a survey by the Spanish tourism sector body Exceltur that in Barcelona 64 per cent of available rooms are offered by online home rental services. Airbnb and other similar sites now list 2.7 million beds in Spain (December 2014 figures) compared to 2.4 million beds at hotels and other lodgings. Tourism accounts for about 11 per cent of all economic activity in Spain and for one in nine jobs. But apart from quality issues there are two other drawbacks from a national economic perspective. The number of jobs generated from home rentals is just 9.8 per 100 beds, compared to 53 jobs per 100 tourist beds at a hotel, according to Exceltur. It also estimates that up to $1.3 billion is lost in tax due to undeclared earnings. From the tourists’ perspective Airbnb may be cheaper, but I think the practice raises questions about quality. I used an apartment in Brooklyn
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An American Traveller’s Tale Part five

Santa Monica: chill out in an oasis of calm Forty minutes down the road from Los Angeles International Airport is the seaside settlement of Santa Monica, and a charming spot it is too. Very chilled out, but also modern, authentic not tacky, with great restaurants and cafes (always important for me), an interesting and historic pier, a thunderously good beach and no showoffs (go to Venice Beach for that). I spent several hours there last week in between flights in and out of LAX. What a contrast to the hustle and hassle of a busy airport. It’s dead easy to get there. Take a Flyaway bus from just outside the entrance to Tom Bradley (or any other terminal) on that great sweeping boulevard where buses are monsters. The Flyaway bus to Santa Monica comes past every hour at 45 minutes to the hour. $8 for a single journey. (It’s even cheaper if you take a shuttle to a carpark and catch the Big Blue Bus – then it’s only a $1.) Remember the song…..”until the the sun comes up.on …”
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Night tour of Boston’s breweries covers only a few

Boston has an active craft beer scene and the state of Massachusetts has at least 47 micro breweries, ten of them in greater Boston. I signed up for an evening brewery tour with the Boston Brewery Company, and eventually five of us headed off in a van across the river to Night Shift Brewing while Andy from Arkansas, our beer guide, talked about how lifting the legal ban on home brewing in the late 1990s had led to an explosion of experimentation. Night Shift Brewing’s story is typical: three guys in an apartment making their own stuff and giving it to friends, who eventually said, ‘man, this stuff is good enough to sell.’ Now they have a large warehouse with big steel tanks, a range of brews and a bar out front where people from the neighbourhood gather to sip, talk and eat stuff. Very homely. We tried four beers there, a very plain beer called Whirlpool which had grapefruit flavours but not much else; 87, which was a 7.8% IPA with extra hops added at the end of the
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