As a kid from out of town, a trip to the top floor of Auckland's Farmers Building - up to the Grand Tearoom - was a big deal. It was a privilege to be back there last Wednesday night.
The annual Travcom Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards are a great night out. Over food and drink in the Heritage Hotel's Grand Tearoom, Kiwi writers and photographers who love to tell travel stories get a chance to celebrate the best of their peers' work ... or to quietly grumble about it.
These are the stories and photos that inspire us to book the next trip.
It's become customary for those with enough stamina to adjourn to Mo's Bar, around the corner on Federal St.
This year's big winner on the writing front was Venetia Sherson, a fine writer (and my old boss at another newspaper, as it happens).
She won for her story Counting Sheep, which was published in NZ Life & Leisure. Paul Daly was named Travel Photographer of the Year. Regular Herald Travel contributors Ewan McDonald, Pamela Wade and Paul Rush were also category winners. Congrats to them and all the other winners.
We'll be featuring work from the top scribes and snappers over the next few weeks.
Celebrating the best in NZ travel photography
Paul Daly, the Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards Photographer of the Year 2015, also won the Best Travel Image with People category with his photo taken in the backstreets of Istanbul, Turkey. Fay Looney won the Best New Zealand Travel Image category for her picture of a solitary sheep at daybreak in Whangamomona in Taranaki.
Christchurch landscape snapper Paul Daly took the top photography prize at last week's annual Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards.
As well as the Photographer of the Year title, there were six other categories recognised at the awards, including Best New Zealand image (won by Fay Looney). Photography judge Chris Coad said Daly's work was not only of a high technical standard and professionally presented but visually communicated a wealth of information and detail about the locations they were shot in.
"It was his ability to capture context in his photographs that provided the narrative that kept us coming back," he said.
Runner-up for the main prize was Amos Chapple, while Looney was highly commended.