New Zealand – A Country Fit for Royalty?
The answer to this question is obviously a resounding yes as the future King and Queen experienced all of the magic and beauty New Zealand has to offer. A packed 10 day itinerary which commenced on 7th April 2014 made sure that no stone was left unturned as Kate and Wills (and baby George of course!) experienced some quintessential tastes of New Zealand.
Kate and William were welcomed to the North Island with a traditional Maori greeting as well as a 21 gun salute. What a welcome! As New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington is set on a stunning harbour and is home to a thriving café scene including the quirky Cuba Street. The couple also received a ceremonial welcome at Government House and visited a Plunket parents group with Prince George.
2. Blenheim, Marlborough
When in Blenheim, the vineyards are calling and Kate and Wills wasted no time in getting stuck into some wine tasting at Wither Hills Winery. The region is famous for Sauvignon Blanc and the couple were treated to a tasting alongside some of Marlborough’s finest cuisine.
On a more sombre note, the Duke and Duchess also laid a wreath in Blenheim’s Seymour Square to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. Sir Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame also gave the couple a tour of one of the most acclaimed aviation museums in the world – The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
On to the city of sails and it’s competition time! The Waitemata Harbour saw a battle between the Duke and Duchess as they boarded two former America’s cups boats and embarked on a race which saw the Duchess win 2-0. Go Kate!
Auckland is the most populated urban area in the country and is home to a diverse landscape of volcanoes, harbours, gulfs, rivers and beaches. Couple that with thriving waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants as well as countless water based activities, what’s not to love?
4. Hamilton and Cambridge
Kate and William opened the Avantidrome in front of an audience of Kiwi gold medallists. The new velodrome is the National Cycling Centre of Excellence. Prince William even got to start a race with a starter gun and baby George was given his first bike, a mini helmet and a mini Lycra top with a silver fern on it!
5. Dunedin and Queenstown
All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw welcomed the royal couple to Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium to watch a mini tournament of Rippa Rugby. Rugby is New Zealand’s most popular sport and the All Blacks currently hold the Rugby World Cup.
The next stop was the adrenaline capital of New Zealand – Queenstown! The first activity of the day was a jet boat ride on the Shotover River. The Shotover Jet Boat is one of Queenstown’s most iconic attractions alongside bungy jumping, canyon swinging and sky diving!
Central Otago is known for its pinot noir and the couple got to experience the best of what the region has to offer at Amisfield Vineyard. As well as being packed with adrenaline inducing activities, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque towns and a year round destination as it transforms into a ski resort in winter.
The last stop on the Royal tour of New Zealand was Christchurch on the South Island. Crowds gathered in Latimer Square to greet the couple and watch them join in with a friendly game of cricket.
Christchurch is slowly rebuilding itself after the devastating earthquake and is fast becoming one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. In fact, it has just been ranked Number 2 on the New York Times list of 52 cities to visit in 2014.
We think it’s safe to say that Kate and William thoroughly enjoyed their visit to New Zealand and the country did itself proud in showcasing everything it has to offer.