1. Guide’s name: Phil P in Auckland, New Zealand.
2. Why I became a guide: I am a fourth generation New Zealander who has lived in NZ’s best City – Auckland, for 40 years. My great-grandparents came all the way from Ireland, England and Denmark in the 1860s (a three month journey in a small sailing ship), attracted by NZ’s gold rush and the chance of a new life. Now I am married to the lovely Mia and have a twelve year-old step-daughter. And our new puppy – Merlot, is a constant source of fun, amusement, and, er…naughtiness! He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, born 1st August 2014.
I ran my own solo physiotherapy practice for 22 years, but decided to make a lifestyle choice and do something less demanding. Following a Wine Appreciation course with NZ critic Keith Stewart, I fell in love with wine and launched my own Auckland wine tour company in September 2000. Since then I have done further study and achieved a Pass With Merit in the internationally recognised WSET level 2 Certificate in Wines and Spirits. Plus I combine my freelance journalism hobby with wine and have been a wine writer for 14 years. In 2008, Random House published my wine region guide to New Zealand, and I regularly attend industry tastings as a wine writer and enthusiast. I have the best job in the world – exploring the never-ending subject of wine and meeting fantastic people from all over the globe.
3. Describe your city in one sentence. Auckland is a vibrant multicultural creative city, with fantastic food and wine, plus stunning scenery.
4. Top 3 things not to miss when visiting your city/region: Waiheke Island boutique wine region; Auckland museum and Maori culture show; Ponsonby Road for its cafes, bars, restaurants and boutique shopping.
5. Best place to go for a great photo: Mt. Eden in central Auckland. 360 degree views from the summit of a 25,000 year-old volcanic cone (644 ft high).
6. Tell us one local food specialty everyone visiting your city/region should try: Green Shell Mussels.
7. Your favourite local restaurant: Mudbrick in Waiheke.
8. Best place to celebrate a special occasion: The Sky Tower revolving restaurant: great food, spectacular scenery, and reasonable prices.