After taking a 3 hour bus ride to Hamilton, I was able to bike out to the Zealong Tea Plantation about 16km out of town. Along the way I rode through this amazing bike bypass that goes under a rotary… one of thousands in the is country. They are everywhere!
From the Zealong website:
“Flowering, lush and green, the camellia grew next door to Tzu Chen’s house in New Zealand’s Waikato region.
A lover of tea, Mr Chen was struck by the similarities between tea plants and the camellia. To Mr Chen, the thriving camellia plant meant New Zealand was not just pure and clean, it was also the perfect environment to grow one of the world’s best teas.
In 1996, Mr Chen and his son Vincent imported 1500 tea seedlings from Taiwan. They were left with only 130 after a rigorous quarantine from New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture. But after careful propagation Zealong’s lush, sweet tea plants number in the thousands and spread over 40 hectares.”
Since the tours were all booked, I sat down for a bite to eat and 2 teas. I started with the Pure oolong, which was SO amazing with a smooth, buttery texture and a very clean and earthy flavor. The Dark we had a more smokey and mineral complexity going on. It was certainly tasty, but the Pure was far better in my opinion.
George Good Brewery
After biking back, I walked about 2km to a local brewery, George Good.
They had been open for a few years, and has a surprisingly large election of beers.Over all very solid beer, all drinkable, yet nothing too challenging or dynamic. The brewpub is certainly worth a stop if you are in Hamilton.