New Zealand

Winter sports in New Zealand for people who don’t like skiing

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NZ’s best options for taking to the snow and ice without hurtling down hills with skis

The world’s coolest McDonalds?

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In New Zealand, David Whitley succumbs to a Maccas with an aerial twist


I don’t get the idea that there is a time and a place for McDonald’s. Some people – even people who will usually eat good food – seem to have an occasional weakness for the golden arches. It’s seen as a dirty, naughty treat – something of a guilty secret to be indulged in, like listening to Meatloaf whilst drinking Amaretto and Coke or watching Total Wipeout in a onesie whilst making your pet cat dance.

Talk is sheep – the truth behind New Zealand’s stereotype

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David Whitley prays for the silence about the lambs, but begins to understand where the Kiwi sheep obsession comes from.

For some years now, New Zealanders have tried to dispel the notion that they have a penchant for sheep that extends beyond a nice roast lamb dinner. Unfortunately, it seems as though they forgot to tell the tour guides. Put a Kiwi behind the wheel of a bus and the obsession takes over. Throughout my two weeks in New Zealand, I’d barely be able to sit down and buckle up the seatbelt before the tales of New Zealand’s glorious wool industry would begin. The hardy merinos bred in the high country farms produce the finest wool in the world, they say. Low prices are making farmers convert to cattle and dairy, they continue. Special breeds of sheep have been created in New Zealand to suit the conditions, they harp on.

Kart attack: A day at the races in Rotorua

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On the Southern Hemisphere’s longest kart racing track, David Whitley realises he’s neither the skill nor the will to win

Auckland’s redemption: why everywhere deserves a second chance

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Auckland and I have never really seen eye to eye. That’s mainly because, while I am no oil painting, Auckland’s eye is pretty darned ugly. Even the most proud Aucklander would struggle to deny that the city centre is a hideous scar on what should be one of the most beautiful spots in the world. The city lies on an isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea; it has two sprawling natural harbours, islands off the coastline and 40-odd volcanic cones dotted within its boundaries. Yet, in what seems like a calculated bid to stick two fingers up at Mother Nature, Downtown Auckland is a high-rise monstrosity from which any architect with the faintest hint of flair or soul has clearly been banished. A troll stands in the shoes of a princess.