by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Mice Net : December 2008
auckland A hearty breakfast courtesy of SKYCITY’s outcatering department, including champagne for those who were keen on an early morning tipple, was just the ticket to ease into the famil program. Ultimate Escape caters for small to medium sized groups, cruising the waters around Auckland in true comfort and style. And delegates who have over-indulged can even take a nap in the downstairs accommodation if they can pull themselves away from the views on deck. Not that this was a problem for our intimate group of participants, and certainly not from our next vantage point which was high above the city and harbour courtesy of Heli-flight. In two groups Heli-flight whisked us up, up and away, spinning around the city before heading out to one of Auckland’s growing attractions, Waiheke Island, just a short distance off the New Zealand coast. Our Ananda Tours guide and bus was waiting for us when we arrived, and we were quickly and efficiently ushered off to Cable Bay Vineyards for some mid-morning wine- tasting and food sampling. Cable Bay is an ultra-modern venue that really does put the old-fashioned tin shed-style wineries to shame. Nothing has been tacked together here. The venue is popular with small-scale retreats, strategy meetings, team-building outings, dinners and not surprisingly weddings. Following our tour and tastings we took off once more to the nearby Rangihoua Estate, which produces what many argue is the best extra virgin olive oil available anywhere in the country. A quick scan of the cost of a bottle of the stuff would certainly put it somewhere in top shelf bracket, in price at least. Lunch on day 1 was held at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, also on Waiheke. This is a more rustic venue than Cable Bay Vineyards, and offers not only great food but views looking back towards Auckland city. With the chopper no doubt taking some paying customers for sightseeing we hot-footed it back to Auckland via Explore NZ’s dolphin and whale safari boat in a comfortable 30 minutes or so, giving us just under an hour to rest up before the evening’s festivities began. And what a treat it was. Ahipara Luxury Travel had somehow hood-winked one of Auckland’s wealthiest residents to give up their house to impress a bunch of Aussie event planners. And it most definitely worked. A traditional Maori welcome with the harbour as a backdrop preceded drinks and dinner in the Hanene Pavilion, a space adjacent to the main house that was built primarily for parties. Rumour has it that some of the biggest names in rock ‘n roll and movies have stayed here. With theming for the night provided by Emma McDonald of NZ Destinations and food by Austin’s, this was a perfect way to end a busy but productive tour of Auckland. And, while some participants decided to continue the party downtown, this little puppy hit the sack in anticipation of a spot of sailing, more food, wine and hotel site inspections. Day 2 One of the most amazing things when you take part in a familiarisation tour is that you eat way more than you usually do and when you haven’t eaten for a few hours your stomach reminds you that it’s time to do so again. Despite a mega-meal the 90 mice.net 90 mice.net