Meet the Guide: Phil in Auckland, NZ

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Even though Auckland is heading into its winter season, things never get very chilly in this gorgeous, temperate city on New Zealand's north island. Joining us to introduce himself and talk about why he loves to guide in and around the Kiwi capital is our guide (and local wine expert) Phil.
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.
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