Working Holiday Visas For New Zealand – Seasonal Work And Travel Insurance

A working holiday visa to New Zealand allows you to work in a variety of jobs, with one of the main attractions for many young travellers being seasonal work such as fruit picking and vegetable harvesting. This type of work requires no previous experience, provides training on the job, and is available almost all year round. This article explains the working holiday visa, what seasonal work is available, where and when, and what working holiday travel insurance you will require for your trip.

Working Holiday Visa

With winter settling in over the southern hemisphere, now is the time to start planning your summer trip to New Zealand. If you are eligible, the New Zealand working holiday visa is a perfect opportunity for you to enter New Zealand (NZ) and work legally. NZ currently has agreements with 34 countries and the visa allows you to work here for 12 months, and up to 3 months for any one employer.

You can apply online for your visa on the Immigration NZ website. Here they provide a list of Countries that are part of the working holiday agreement, age and other criteria, and they outline they process you have to follow to successfully apply for your visa. Applying for your visa isn’t hard, and the application usually doesn’t take very long.

Seasonal Work

If you time it right, then you can arrive just in time for fruit picking season. During this season you can pick up work harvesting or packing fruit, vegetables and grapes, pruning trees, and help maintain crops.

The beginning of the season is usually about October, this is when strawberries come into season. The regions strawberries are grown include the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Horowhenua. You could stay picking strawberries right through to March, otherwise the summerfruit harvest starts in November in the Hawke’s Bay and December in Central Otago. Summerfruit includes cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. The season for summerfruit goes through to early March. In mid-February to mid-May you will get the apple harvest in regions mentioned above and in Nelson.

All growers will provide on the job training, so all they require is for you to be fit, and have good vision! Fruit harvesting is the perfect way to see the Country, and meet locals and other travellers while earning money.

Working Holiday Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel it is important to have appropriate travel insurance. If you are travelling to NZ on a work visa, then you are also required to have adequate medical insurance. There is a wide range of travel insurance policies available through a number of different insurers.

Working holiday travel insurance should protect you for a range of activities, including horticultural work, and cover areas such as medical expenses, repatriation, lost baggage, theft etc.

Although NZ is regarded as a safe country to travel there is still theft, especially in many tourist hot spots. Accidents can happen anywhere, and you have to pay for your medical care in NZ, that is why medical insurance is important. Lost baggage, missed flights, cancellations etc, are unforeseeable events that can happen when you travel. Having a suitable travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind when these things happen.

In conclusion, we encourage you to take advantage of the working holiday visa scheme that NZ offers. You should also investigate seasonal work as an option and the many informative websites about this type of work. But most importantly, make sure you take out appropriate working holiday travel insurance to both meet your visa requirements and to give you the peace of mind you need to travel abroad.

Wine Travel – Washington’s Eastern Region Shines

If you’re a wine travel lover, Washington is an especially rewarding destination. Practically everywhere you turn, there’s an interesting winery to discover, not to mention vibrant cities, natural wonders galore, and a pleasing four season climate.

In our estimation, many Washington wines are becoming as well known as California’s. It’s not surprising, as Washington is the second largest wine producing state in the country. To illustrate the importance of Washington’s wine industry, over 500 Washington wineries add almost $3 billion to the state’s economy, and employ more than 29,000.

There’s so much to discover about Washington wine, so let’s focus on Washington’s eastern area, known as the Inland Empire, and in particular the strikingly beautiful city of Spokane.

Introducing Spokane

One of the first things you’ll notice about Spokane is how the great outdoors literally snuggle up to this friendly city. Bisected by the Spokane River, white water rafting, skiing, cycling tours, and hiking opportunities abound. And yet, the vibrant pulse of this high tech city is always on display, with live music and fantastic restaurants just steps away no matter where you turn.

The city itself is wonderfully walkable, interspersed with historic architectural gems that have been restored and reinvented. Our first evenings discovery was the Davenport Arts District, a lively arts and entertainment area.

The Davenport Arts District is really where you’ll feel Spokane’s pulse. Historic buildings house galleries, restaurants, and unique shops. This is an ideal late afternoon and early evening stroll, with extra time the next day to fully appreciate all the District has to offer.

Just a few of the shops we discovered were Simply Northwest, which features specialty foods, wines, and regional gifts, and the whimsically named Spokandy, a local candy making institution since 1913. Next, it was time for dinner at the Steam Plant Grill, housed in an historic handsome landmark former steam plant.

This was dinner as it should be. Steam Plant Grill focuses on local ingredients, hearty portions, and reasonable prices. Try the planked salmon, beer cheese soup, and the basil cream ravioli. Don’t miss dessert … the vanilla bourbon stout float is made with the onsite brewhouse’s oh-so-delicious dark stout beer and creamy premium vanilla ice cream.

Spokane Wineries

Twelve wineries call Spokane and the surrounding area home. Spokane itself is compact enough, so driving distances aren’t burdening. Many of the wineries are clustered fairly near downtown, with others just slightly farther afield. Conveniently, 12 of the 14 are quite near the Spokane River, which bisects the Spokane area as it meanders east/west.

Wineries East Of Downtown

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars: Wine Spectator named Arbor Crest one of “50 Great Producers Every Wine Lover Should Know”. It’s located in the Cliff House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located high on a bluff overlooking the Spokane River, the view is almost better than the wine here. Look for award winning Cabernets in particular.

Knipprath Cellars: Located in a handsome old red brick schoolhouse, Knipprath boasts an impressive selection of Port wines, a favorite of ours. Have you ever tried a Vanilla Port or a Chocolate Port? You can here! We also loved the Moonstruck Merlot, with its notes of brown spice and plum.

Latah Creek Wine Cellars: If you like Rieslings as we do, you’ll enjoy Latah Creek. The extensive gift shop here is one of the nicest we visited on this trip. Also be sure to try a Washington specialty, the Huckleberry d’Latah. This wine is a blend of huckleberries, a small blueberry-like fruit, with Riesling.

Nodland Cellars: What a wonderful small boutique winery this is. Just like many European estate wineries, Nodland produces only one red and one white wine. These wines are aged in French Oak barrels, adding to the smooth complexity of the finished product.

Wineries North Of Downtown

Mountain Dome Winery: Located in the foothills of Mt. Spokane, Mountain Dome is something of a change of pace, as they are Washington’s premier sparkling winery. One of the key differences between production of sparkling wines vs. regular wines is the lengthy bottle aging, thereby producing a secondary fermentation. These wines are fun to drink, and add a new dimension to a wine lovers palate.

Townshend Cellar: This small winery north of Spokane offers small lots of quality wines, many of which have been praised by the wine press. The reds are the star here, especially the rich dark fruit taste of their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wineries In And Near Downtown

Barrister Winery: We literally walked right into this winery, housed in a early 20th century brick building in the heart of the Davenport District. It’s red wine heaven here. Barrister produces limited quantities of Bordeaux style reds and Syrahs.

Grande Ronde Cellars: Wine Specator loves Grande Ronde Cellars, having raved about their Cabernet and Merlot. The real star for us, though, was the creamy Chardonnay. The bouquet of apricot and peach truly was the forebearer of great things to come.

Lone Canary Winery: This was our personal winner of “best winery name” in the Spokane area. But Lone Canary is more than just a name, although the logo is eye catching and named after Washington’s state bird, the wild canary. The wines here have great depth and complexity, from the deliciously fruity Cabernet Sauvignon to Bird House Red, a red blend.

Robert Karl Cellars: Located in the heart of Spokane’s historic warehouse district, Robert Karl Cellars specializes in premium Cabernets. These wines are ideal to cellar for a time to bring out their true mature flavor. In particular, we recommend the rich red Syrah and the Claret.

Vintage Hill Cellars: This downtown Spokane winery is a very comfortable and pleasant place to stop and taste. We bought a few bottles of Vintage Hill’s Sauvignon Blanc and the Riesling.

Of course, eastern Washington and Spokane are just a part of Washington’s wine scene. In the meantime, don’t overlook Spokane! This is an appealing destination whether you crave outdoor activities, historic architecture, city life, or all of the above!

Wine Travel – New York’s Niagara Wine Trail is a Shining Star

As any wine lover knows, that next great bottle of wine can come from any of the world’s great wine producing regions.

And while this travelogue’s destination is very well known, we’d also like to tell you about a friendly, terrific city that, frankly, probably isn’t on many must see lists.

The New York State Wine Scene

Wine and grape growing have long been a part of New York state. New York is consistently in the top 10 states in terms of grape growing and wine production, and boasts well over 100 wineries. Wine trails abound here, from Long Island to the beautiful Finger Lakes, and many more. Most of the state’s climate and topography are ideally suited to grape growing, and wine production has been thriving since the 1800’s.

Western New York is an especially ideal area for wine lovers, as the proximity to two Great Lakes creates a perfect microclimate for wine grapes. The Niagara Wine Trail, just minutes from Niagara Falls and only 1/2 hour from Buffalo, boasts of 12 wineries that offer a welcoming introduction to New York wine.

First Stop: Niagara Falls

As we entered New York from the Pennsylvania border, we had our hearts set on an afternoon visit to Niagara Falls. First discovered by European settler Louis Hennepin in 1678, the world has been beating a path here ever since. And the Falls always delivers! The spectacular cascade of water is a jaw dropping and awe inspiring sight.

There are numerous places to view both the Horseshoe and American Falls, on the U.S. or Canadian side, but the best place to truly feel the Falls is on the legendary Maid of the Mist. Before you step aboard, you’ll be given a bright blue rain slicker, complete with hood. As the boat chugs toward the Falls, it will rock and bob as it churns over the turbulent water. Ultimately, you’ll be ferried to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Here, the true power of the Falls looms before you, with a roar so deafening you can barely hear the captain’s dramatic announcement, “This … is Niagara Falls.”

Of course, there are numerous places to part with your money here, from wax museums to souvenir shops to helicopter rides. But no matter how you choose to experience Niagara Falls, we have just one piece of advice: Bring lots of film!

Experiencing Buffalo: Wings And Other Great Things

After drying off from our exhilarating Maid of the Mist experience, it was time for the short 20 minute drive to the Lake Erie port city of Buffalo. From reading the brochures we’d collected beforehand, we were intrigued by the promise of historic architecture, trendy entertainment and shopping districts, and local food specialties.

We checked into our downtown hotel, the convenient Best Western Inn on the Avenue, to settle in for our 3 night stay in the Buffalo-Niagara area. With a particular local food specialty on our mind, we set out for a Buffalo institution, the world famous Anchor Bar.

The Anchor Bar is, of course, known as the origin of Buffalo wings. Since 1964, this neighborhood gem has been turning out several chicken wing styles, one more delicious than the next. As good as the chicken wings are, be sure to try another Buffalo specialty, Beef on Weck. It’s a thinly sliced roast beef sandwich, served on a specialty roll called a Kimmelweck, which is basically a round deli style bun with course salt and onion on top. Washed down with a pitcher of the always marvelous Genesee Cream Ale, this is as close to heaven as you get in western New York! If all this is making you hungry, never fear, the Anchor Bar ships wings overnight all over the country.

Over the course of the next three days, both before and after winery visits, we came to experience and know Buffalo. This is a proud, friendly city teeming with historic architecture and lively entertainment and shopping districts. It’s also a city of four distinct seasons. Temperatures are moderated by Lake Erie, and we learned that the mercury has never hit 100 in Buffalo. In winter, the area surrounding Buffalo is a skiers paradise. So no matter your pursuit of choice, there’s something waiting for you in Buffalo. For a complete list of things to see and do, visit our Recommendations section below.

Niagara Wine Trail

The Niagara Wine Trail is very convenient to both Buffalo and Niagara Falls. From downtown Buffalo, it’s less than 1/2 hour to the main cluster of wineries, situated just west of the small village of Lockport, NY. Just take Route 425 north from Buffalo and follow the winery signs.

There are 12 wineries on the trail, 11 of which are right in Niagara County. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to visit all 12 as we did, take the time to enjoy the pleasant short drive from Buffalo or Niagara Falls to see one or two. This is agriculture country, a haven for fruit growing. There’s a sense of serenity here, with rolling breezes off Lake Ontario just a few miles north.

The wineries here celebrate the passion of winemaking, and you’ll be in luck if the wine trail is hosting an event while you visit. You’ll find everything from Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, dessert wines, and fruit wines. Of particular note, we found that most wineries on this trail had a unique style specialty, with almost all using grapes and fruit from the immediate area. Let’s get to know each of the 12 wineries …

Vizarra Vineyards: This is a great family destination, with two outdoor patios with vineyard and sunset views, and U-Pick opportunities from onsite orchards. The vineyard itself is part of Becker Farms, a well known attraction in this area.

There’s a full selection of reds, whites, and specialty fruit wines here. We enjoyed the crisp Rusty’s Riesling and the sweet Barreled Over Niagara, made from the Niagara grape common in the region.

Eveningside Vineyards: Eveningside is a family farm winery (complete with gorgeous red barn!) specializing in Chardonnays, Rieslings, and Cabernet Franc. We particularly recommend the 2007 Riesling, an excellent example of the style, and the Crofton Blush, a semi sweet offering that’s ideal for summer sipping.

Honeymoon Trail Winery: Having the perfect name for a winery in the Niagara Falls area, Honeymoon Trail offers a beautiful setting to sample their wines. Try the rich spicy Cabernet Franc and the White Lace, a blend of Riesling and Cayuga White. We also took home two bottles of Just Peachy, a crisp and fruity wine made with New York grown peaches.

Warm Lake Estate: Pinot Noir is the name of the game at Warm Lake Estate. Wine Spectator consistently praises the Pinot Noir, rating it the best of its kind in New York. Their expansive vineyard, hosting exclusively Pinot Noir grapes, is viewable from the outside deck.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards: This alluring family farm winery has a wide array of grapes in its vineyard, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Chardonnay, all of which do well in the Niagara region. The result is some of the more spectacular wine we enjoyed on this trip.

We loved the smooth, buttery 2006 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay in particular. Another we added to our collection is the Apogee Red, a delightful blend of European varietals that stands well on its own or with a meal.

Niagara Landing Wine Cellars: One of the older wineries in the region, Niagara Landing offers over two dozen wine selections along with an inviting gift shop with artwork from local artists.

Go for the House White, a fruity blend, and the red Baco Noir, one of the most complex berry and spice reds we’ve had. Another wine worth crowing about here is Red Rooster, a smooth drinking red blend. Last but not least, try the Boxer Blush, named after the family’s pet boxer, Sir Arthur. Also of note, we found the prices here to be a great bargain.

Spring Lake Winery: The vineyard at Spring Lake Winery is part of the peaceful 78 acre site, complete with an 8 acre lake and numerous walking paths. We enjoyed an invigorating 2 mile hike through the property before ending at the Tuscan style tasting room, where we dove in and tried the Gewurztraminer, with its bouquet of apricot and banana. If you visit, be sure to ask about their Wine Train excursions, a cooperative effort between the winery and a local railroad museum.

Chiappone Wine Cellars: Located on a beautiful farm setting near the small town of Newfane, Chiappone Wine Cellars has a long tradition of winemaking over three generations. We thought the whites were the stars here, in particular the Morning Star, a dry but fruity Riesling that has won numerous wine awards. Also try Moonglow, a clean and smooth Traminette.

Schulze Vineyards and Winery: Just a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Ontario, Schulze Vineyards and Winery is situated on 120 acres of beautiful farm land. When you visit here, you’ll literally experience the fresh aroma of grapes and Lake Ontario at the same time.

In their vineyard, current plantings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Catawba, Vidal, Niagara, and Riesling. In terms of wine, we were delighted to taste some very interesting sparkling wines here, before moving on to their very nicely done Cabernet Franc Nouveau and Vidal Blanc, among others.

Freedom Run Winery: Freedom Run Winery is family owned and operated, with fragrant orchards surrounding the new tasting room. When we visited, 11 wines were available. We thought the Manning Manor Blanc was superb, a blend of Cayuga White and Vidal Blanc, making for a pleasant and mildly sweet taste. Also we recommend the Cabernet Franc, with big flavors of dark cherry and blackberry. Before you leave, be sure to see the various works of glass and pottery art, handmade by one of Freedom Run’s owners and available for purchase via their website.

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery: This brand new winery is the only Niagara Wine Trail member outside of Niagara County, as it’s just over the Orleans County line, just 5 minutes from Vizcarra Vineyards. The official grand opening is early July, but the wines and tasting room were ready to go when we visited a few weeks prior.

Leonard Oakes Estate wines are all produced from grapes grown on site, and are fun and easy to drink. Try the wonderfully complex Frontenac, with notes of dark fruit like blackberry and plum. On the lighter side, opt for a true taste of the region with White Oakes, a refreshing blend of Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, and Cayuga White.

The Winery at Marjim Manor: Finally, we’d like to take you to the shores of Lake Ontario to the gorgeous grounds and setting of The Winery at Marjim Manor. The winery’s location has an interesting history, serving at various times as a grainery, a home, and even a convent. Some even say the place is haunted!

The wines, though, are very upfront and friendly. Fruit wines rule the day here, all produced from the owner’s large orchard. And this is truly a spectacular location to taste wine and linger, with a commanding view of Lake Ontario. We found several truly unique wines here, with one of our favorites being Thursday Afternoon At Three, a blend of Niagara grapes and peaches. Another was the white One Hundred Windows, an easy to drink, fruity selection. Be sure to take your time here … the setting and the grounds are stunning.

We divided these winery visits into a three day period, visiting a maximum of four per day. The best part about this wine trail is the close proximity of the wineries … not only are they an easy drive from one another, but they’re very close to Buffalo as well.

The New York leg of this journey was a great combination of rural farm wineries and city attractions. In essence, the best of both worlds. We hope this issue piqued your interest in this scenic and underrated wine producing area!

The Niagara Wine Trail is just one of many highly enjoyable wine travel destinations in this part of the country. New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are brimming with wineries and wine trails, so be sure to put these destinations on your wine travel wish list.