Most people living in Singapore want to visit New Zealand, but with so many beautiful options it’s difficult to know where to start. All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens shared his 5 top places to visit when he spoke at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s Residence following the Singapore Ruby 7’s.
Hosted by Tourism New Zealand and luxury travel agency Lightfoot Travel, Will Skinner posed some questions to ex England rugby player James Forrester (now UFIT), and Mehrtens about the game and their careers.
One of the most influential players of the professional era, with a tactical ability recognised as the driving force behind many famous All Blacks, Crusaders, and Canterbury victories. Mehrtens is also a great speaker, even after a couple of weeks of Rugby 7’s in Hong Kong and Singapore, he managed to entertain everyone!
Although he currently lives in Sydney, New Zealand is still is favourite. “I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world and I can tell you, nothing compares to New Zealand. New Zealand is more than just host to some of the world’s most highly-anticipated sporting events. The landscapes, the activities, the wine and food, and most importantly, the people and the warm welcome – it really has it all.”
For those considering a trip to New Zealand, here are five of Mehrtens’ top places to visit:
Being an avid golfer, Queenstown has a special place in his heart. The Jack’s Point course is well regarded by golfers all over the world, and not to mention the Remarkables Mountain range playing an amazing backdrop, as well as overlooking Lake Wakatipu. There is also a skydiving operations next door, so look out for some colourful parachutes as they come in for landing on the airstrip next door! Queenstown is also known for some great wineries – Two Paddocks and Amisfield are a couple of his favourites.
Just a three-hour drive south of Auckland, the region is great for fishing, skiing Mount Ruapehu and exploring the local geothermal phenomena. The region has some of the North Island’s most impressive landscapes right on its doorstep, and is perfect for outdoor adventures.
Northland and the Bay of Islands
If Andrew is looking for some sun, sand and sea, the Northland and Bay of Islands area is the place to be – golden beaches, secluded coves, tranquil harbours and warm waters. Sandy Bay is famous for its world-class surfing. It’s also New Zealand’s diving playground. You’ll get to see penguins, dolphins, and whales! The Doubtless Bay area also has beaches of every description.
The Marlborough Sounds alone offers countless ways to explore – organise your mates or family and hire a yacht or launch – bareboat or skippered, and sail or cruise through this scenic playground. The region is also great for you to find that perfect wine – there’s over 30 cellar doors to explore. If you are just looking for a cold beer, Marlborough has got you covered as well, with the local Renaissance and Moa craft breweries producing quality brews.
For Andrew, Fiordland is the place for hiking – Fiordland National Park has three of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’, the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. If you want to take things slow instead, enjoy the great beauty of the Milford Sounds on a scenic flight, or even kayak into the quietest corners of the sounds, and see rare wildlife up close.
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