Some­where spe­cial to drink

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

“There is some­thing in the na­ture of tea that leads us into a world of quiet con­tem­pla­tion of life,” said Chi­nese writer Lin Yu­tang in The Im­por­tance of Liv­ing. If that is true, then there is no more per­fect place to qui­etly con­tem­plate life than at Zea­long Tea Es­tate, look­ing across the lush Waikato plan­ta­tion while sip­ping pure (oo­long) tea from a del­i­cate china bowl. The Zea­long story be­gan with con­tem­pla­tion. Owner Tzu Chen looked at a thriv­ing camel­lia tree next to his prop­erty just north of Hamil­ton and mused, “tea would grow here”. The re­sult is New Zealand’s only tea plan­ta­tion, on a 40-hectare beau­ti­fully land­scaped site that has paths lined with teapots and quiet seats for vis­i­tors to sit and med­i­tate. Tours of the es­tate in­clude a tra­di­tional tea cer­e­mony, a fac­tory tour and high tea. There is also a restau­rant, where many dishes are in­fused with tea. Warn­ing: name drop ap­proach­ing... Prince Charles’ bet­ter-half Camilla loves Zea­long tea. 495 Gor­don­ton Road, 0800 932 566, zea­long.com

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