A few kilometres north of Hamilton the family farm on Gordonton Road holds fond childhood memories; the road still very familiar, despite my grandparents’ farm being sold many years ago.
Heading to the Bay of Plenty last week, on Gordonton Road just before you reach the farm is Zealong, home of the world’s purest tea and New Zealand’s only tea plantation – originally a dairy farm in years gone by. Pulling into the carpark on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, the number of cars was a surprise. Even more so to find the cafe restaurant full: ladies indulged in a decadent high tea; tourists ate a late lunch and an elderly local couple simply enjoyed a cuppa and the view out over the tea plantation.
Delighted to be offered a window table, the outside terrace was too cold to be pleasant on a brisk winter’s day. I looked forward to a pot of tea, the choice of: Green, Pure, Aromatic, Dark and Black teas. Aromatic promised an intense fragrance, subtle flavour and a hint of fruit and flowers; it lived up to expectations. The china tumbler and tea leaf filled strainer, a large pot of gently bubbling water at my side, my waiter assured 8 cups from one serving of leaves with a reminder to only seep for 1-2 minutes each time.
Warmed by the copious quantity of tea, the walk back to the car overlooked the 100% organic tea plantation. One imagined the delight of a walk amongst the plantation on a sunny warm day. The tea walk is part of the twice daily (open 7 days excluding most public holidays) Discover Tea Experience including:
- Tea walk
- The Zealong story
- Traditional tea ceremony
- Zealong tea tasting
- An opportunity to pose for a photo in traditional tea picking garb
For more information and to make a booking click here: Discover Tea Experience - Tours - Zealong
Take time to enjoy the garden – the giant-sized teapots and cups a delight and the copper statues of workers in the plantation add to the picturesque scene. Zealong tea is available to purchase at the shop or nationwide stockists, click here: Zealong - 100% Pure New Zealand Tea
For those of us who love a local collaboration, why not try Whittaker's Waikato Grown Oolong Tea – dark chocolate infused with Aromatic Oolong tea.
If you love tea, you’re in great company too.