Posted by Bob Lord
We've been vacationing "down under" for the last few weeks, hence the title of this post. I'll save Australia for a separate post, but for those of you considering a visit to New Zealand, by all means go soon. The countryside is spectacular and largely unspoiled, including hundreds of miles of breathtaking, undeveloped coastline. You could spend a month here and not see enough.
If you're a bed and breakfast person, here are two fantastic ones to put on your list:
Neil and Mike's Place in Auckland. Since you're likeily to start (or end) your stay in Auckland, this one is an easy call. Like all great B&B owners, Neil and Mike treat their customers as close friends in for a visit. The accommodations are comfortable, but what sets this place apart is how unsparing the owners are in their hospitality. They are the consummate "people persons." Every aspect of the operation reflects how much they enjoy the company. You'll leave well rested, well fed, and with new friends.
Piha Ocean Overlook (Graham and Viv Valentine, proprietors). The same comments apply here, but with an added bonus — one of the most spectacular views of the water at sundown you'll ever see. We arrived shortly before sundown, and wound up sharing wine and conversation with Viv and Graham over an awesome sunset that morphed into a star-splashed sky far from the city lights.
I'd write more, but jet lag is taking hold.