Category: New Zealand

Great products of New Zealand

In winter time when the days are short and grey, the weather is not spoiling us with the warm sun, it’s pretty common for all of us to experience the “winter blues”. Less daylight and warm sunshine plus cold temperatures usually have us spend more time cooped up indoors. Our mood starts to fall as fast as the thermometer and unfortunately to have a sunny vacation under the palms is not always an option. The good news is that there are several things that can help you improve your mood, health and energy levels!

Start your day right!

Sounds simple but we all know the way you start the morning can affect your whole day. If you learn how to start your day right it will significantly increase your chances of having a satisfying, productive day! I know it’s hard enough to wake up in the early and dark morning but try to start your day with a boost of energy from a refreshing shower. When life gives you lemons you make handcrafted scrub out of it: Aio Sugar Scrub Lemon. This magic mixture of coconut, olive, almond and rosehip oils that I found on cherrusnz.com will boost your circulation in the morning, get your blood flowing and wakes you up quicker.

You don’t want to carry sleep on your face the whole day so definitely use Astral Collective Zen Activated Sponge. I love that cheeky little sponge because it contains only two ingredients: activated charcoal and konnyaku potato fibre but gives my skin a clean and healthy feeling in just 1 minute! Another deep cleanse alternative is Astral Collective Detox Face Mask although I’m impatient and prefer to use that one in the evening so I can lay down and wait until it’s dry. Nevertheless 1 spoon of this powder mixed with a bit of water works miracles! Oh yeah and the packaging is tiny and cute!

Moisturising your skin is an important part of every bath ritual especially during the cold days. Worth to mention that showers shouldn’t be hot either: The more heat, the more moisture is drawn from your skin. It’s hard to find good face creams, prices and brands don’t mean good quality nowadays. I doubtlessly recommend natural-derived Oxygen Refreshing Moisturiser and Tribeca Glow , it just depends whether you prefer oil or cream.

After your beautiful morning routine leave your house with the perfect smile! I’ve tried the new natural and cruelty-free Zoo Natural Teeth Whitener to whiten and polish teeth. I really liked the result. I need to inform you though, it won’t work immediately but if you use it every day you will notice the difference! It’s a bit of a messy procedure but will definitely give you that million dollar smile!

A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away!

During the winter, it’s especially important to get your daily dose of fruits and veggies to help maintain a strong immune system to battle all the colds and flu’s going around. Blended smoothies are an efficient way to pack a ton of nutrition into glass. Nevertheless we don’t always have time to search for various recipes and buy fresh products in our busy lifestyle. Blend it Raw makes it very easy to be healthy and save some shopping time with their idea to deliver chilltainers filled with ingredients for 10 portioned servings direct to your home. They offer free shipping, everything that they send is recyclable and there are 3 new recipes every week! With the exact amount of products you won’t experience any waste. The amazing aspect about Blend it Raw – recipes is that they describe why the ingredients of each smoothie are important for you. Additionally it’s easy to follow them: Just throw the mentioned ingredients into the blender and Voila! The energy booster in your glass is ready! It’s the most effortless and effective way to stay healthy, energetic and avoid to gain weight during those cozy peckish winter nights at home.

P.S. Worth to mention, they regularly publish new delightful smoothie recipes on their website!

Relax. Soak. Unwind.

The best escape from the rainy cold weather is by soaking in a hot bath and relax that winter blues away. You don’t have to go to a pricey spa, you can have the same luxurious experience in your own home and without spending a fortune. You just need to possess a bath and visit the beautiful website donoharm.com . There you can find various natural and cruelty-free products for affordable prices. Try Anoint Coconut Bath Milk and immerse into an exotic heaven with the smell of coconut and essential oils. And the way the bottle with the cork lid looks is adorable!

Winter times can also cause dry scalp and slows the growth of your hair. But where there are problems, there are solutions! I’ve discovered Essential Scalp Spray which helps to support hair growth and scalp circulation. It also contains Lavender oil that helps to alleviate dryness and inflammation. It’s simple to use, just spray it directly onto the scalp, there is no need to wash it out. You can use it daily, it’s up to you! Furthermore all us girls want is for our hair to grow fast and strong even if it’s not winter!

Future mummies need to take even more care of their skin because of going through the big changes. There is a great range of numerous oils and creams to prevent stretch marks and relieve the feelings of itchiness. One of them is Mother to be Body Oil which is 100% natural and it’s safe for mother and baby. For just $30 you will receive an amazing mix of almond, avocado, wheat, lavender and carrot oils that you need to massage into your skin once a day.

The success lies in taking care of your beautiful body!

Best time for a tea party!

What is a better way to spend a cold winter afternoon than enjoying a cup of delightful tea with your favorite friends? Especially during this winter season’s relentless low temperatures that leave you frozen to the bone. There’s no solution more immediate and enjoyable than a hot cup of good tea. You can surprise yourself and your cherished ones with the Himalayan experience from Nepal. It’s ideal for black and green tea lovers who enjoy rich and strong flavors. I’ve ordered the 10 gram tasters from Tea House and found my favorite one: Ruby Black.

Experience some luxury

With time our skin gets thinner and dryer, furthermore it’s getting more susceptible to damage through the cold temperatures and wind. Especially the area around our eyes is very sensitive to surroundings and different lifestyle habits. We all know that eyes are the windows to our soul, that’s why we need to keep them happy and vibrant! Saintsco Bee Venom Eye Cream is my favourite at the moment. I prefer to put on eye cream in the evening because it’s easier to apply my make up on the next day: No panda eyes after using mascara. Most eye creams made my eyes look swollen the next day but not Saintsco . It’s quickly absorbed by the skin, additionally it tightens and lifts the eye area. Great anti-aging and moisturizer.

And again regular moisturizing is definitely good to prevent any unwanted conditions such as dryness and wrinkles during the colder periods. I discovered the unique Saintsco Bee Venom Mask and was amazed what it’s done to my skin. I have a normal skin type and use it just once a day in the evening and it makes my skin soft and healthy. It contains bee venom that’s known as as a painless alternative to botox, that means no needles needed to look beautiful and fresh! Nevertheless some people might be allergic to bee stings, just make sure that you are not one of them if you want to experience wonders of Saintsco.

Another Sainsco product that I adore is Bee Venom Lip Plumper . Surprise, surprise it makes your lips bigger in a natural way! The bee venom will give you a bit of tingling feeling in the beginning but it takes just 2-3 minutes and as a result you will have voluptuous lips. The combination of  manuka honey and shea butter will nourish and soften the lips. Furthermore it’s possible to wear it under your lipstick!

When it comes to keeping the skin look young, no beauty ingredient does a better job than two of my beloved Saintsco products: Saintsco Bee Venom 24ct Gold Serum and Bee Venom & Stem Cell Super Protein Essense with 24ct Gold. In the winter and for those who are working indoors where the skin is under the influence of conditioned air all the time moisturizing and hydration are essential. Both of these incredible products are suitable for all skin types and help you to combat the signs of aging. Serum helps to increase blood circulation, soften your skin and gives a bit of a shiny effect because of the gold powder in it. It’s a marvelous way to spoil yourself and boost elasticity, correct skin, reduce wrinkles and emphasize your youthful appearance. Furthermore all products are from New Zealand and it contains 100% pure natural bee venom. Definitely a winter must have!

Stay warm and cozy!

While winter is spreading it’s cold all over the country, we instinctly feel an urge to create our warm nests during the season. The sheepskins are the best way to give that feeling both visually and sensually by their soft surface. Did you know research reported that sheepskin has a soothing, swaddling effect that can result in better sleep, reduced stress and improved weight gain. Furthermore you can use them  in different ways by lining the chairs, covering the beds, placing onto the floors or just using them as throws at any place easily. Or just get some warm and soft slippers to keep your feet warm throughout any bad season times!

Give a gift!

During the cold temperatures it’s important to take care of your beloved one. And who has the tendency to forget about essential daily procedures? Right, men! The best way to solve that problem is to surprise him with great products. Furthermore giving presents to others stimulates feelings of kindness, compassion and love. I would suggest Mens Refreshing Pack from KDone. It’s all made in New Zealand and includes shaving gel, aftershave balm, body wash, aluminium free deodorant and lip balm. The products may have a bit of a specific smell, it’s because they are 100% natural and don’t have added fragrances that cause sensitizing and other negative skin reactions. You will be positive surprised about the result and smoothness of your partner’s skin! Additionally it’s packed into a useful travel bag that can be used if you want to escape cold weather and fly away to a sunny paradise.

You need effective travel products for yourself as well? No worries, here is a lovely Skincare Pack with moisturizing goodies. Facial cleanser with the refreshing smell of lemongrass is perfect to remove make up and clean your face. There are two different types of moisturizers: light hydrating and rich& intensive for mature skin, it’s also great to use as a night cream. Last but not least; Hand & Body cream to spoil your skin with avocado oil and vitamin E.

My two other winter must-haves from Kareen Holland’s collection are Foot Balm and Peppermint Shampoo. We tend to forget about our feet in the cold season because they are covered most of the time. But wearing shoes the whole day will cause dry skin and other discomforting reactions. It’s crucial to use foot balm rich in effective hydration and moisturizing. KDone’s with avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and other essential oils is doubtlessly one of these! Use it over night and you will wake up with baby skin on your feet.

As I mentioned before dry scalp is another unpleasant issue that winter can bring. And while it’s not snowing on the North Island, you won’t be able to get away with the “Snowflakes in my hair” joke. Most of the shampoos nowadays contain numerous amount of harmful ingredients, KDone Peppermint Shampoo is absolutely natural. It will sooth your scalp, stimulate blood circulation and makes your hair pretty! It’s undeniably worth the money!

Just Be Natural with soaps!

As I mentioned the seasonal attack of biting wind on our skin and hair leaves us with a dry and uncomfortable feeling. The keys to radiant skin in the winter time are using natural products that work with your skin’s own oil-producing system, protecting skin (and hair) from the harsh elements. I discovered New Zealand’s Be Natural soap products and was amazed by the great results you can reach with it!

Facial skin is sensitive and delicate, but takes quite a beating in terms of exposure to weather, chemicals and other external influences. Furthermore we forget that cleaning our makeup brushes regularly is important. Not only will it get rid of bad bacteria, but it will also prevent your makeup colors from getting mixed. That’s why Make Up Brush Cleaner is one of my favorites. Afterwards you can use Be Clean – Honey, Oat And Almond Face Soap For a gentle, natural cleansing use. It smells like caramel and can be also used as a baby soap, body soap and is  fantastic for men’s shaving.

Be Silky is an organic shampoo bar with Rosemary and Eucalyptus. I’ve never used solid shampoo before and to be honest I was skeptical. But the results are amazing, my hair smells good and it looks shiny and healthy! What else do you need?

Online you can find various soaps which will make every beauty junky happy and excited. They are all just $8!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geothermal wonders of Rotorua

Rotorua is another geothermal treasure of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s located just one hour drive away from Taupo and offers various attractions for curious explorers. A special feature of this town due to the sulphur in the air is the incredibly strong smell of eggs that makes the journey unbearable and can be handled for only 2 days.

35% of Rotorua’s population is Maori and the reason for that goes back to the time when the tribes just arrived in New Zealand. Shortly after they discovered lake Rotorua and it’s geothermal surroundings. They immediately saw the benefits, providing hot water and fertile soil. They also gave a spiritual meaning to the region. Nowadays there are numerous villages that you can visit and experience a journey back in time.

Where to stay?

We stayed in the private double room of the X Base Hostel which I doubtfully recommend, if you want to make your journey lovely and memorable. It looks like the building has seen some wear and tear, which needs a bit of maintenance. The bathrooms and toilets were not cleaned and the swimming pool area looked like no one was interested to take care of it. The positive aspects were the close proximity to the city and the free parking space for the driving backpackers. Wi-fi was available at the reception but only until 9pm, otherwise you need to pay $6 for 24h. Anyway if your expectations are not as high as mine and you are a flexible, easy-going traveler then you will survive a couple of nights in this hostel.

The highlights of Rotorua

Geothermal reserve walk in Hell’s Gate

Rotorua is one of the most touristic towns of the North Island because it’s New Zealand’s most dynamic geothermal area and contains various attractions. The best way to start your day getting to know the sulphur-rich area is with visiting one of the 5 geothermal parks. We decided to experience the unique Maori owned active geothermal area with mud bath spa, Hell’s Gate. They also provide it’s visitors with a shuttle bus, just write them an email and book it in advance. Unfortunately they don’t mention it on their website that you need to let them know that you want to be picked up, so we were waiting in the early morning in the cold for them until I decided to call. Nevertheless it’s a mesmerizing field with erupting waters, pools of boiling mud and a volcano with the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. Every hot pool has a different temperature, for example the steaming cliffs pool is the hottest one and reaches 122C.

If looking at the active geysers and boiling mud is not enough for you then you can also immerse yourself into it’s waters and experience nature’s healing beauty therapy. There is a separate charming area where you can relax and enjoy the landscaped view. I need to warn you though, your skin will have an egg odor for a few days. Addendum, you will need around 2h to visit this unique place.

Volcanic Hill – ambrosia in the bottle

New Zealand is famous for it’s rich variety of great wine. Every region produces it’s own liquid pride, so does Rotorua. Nevertheless there are only two amazing winemakers, who are creating divine wine together, Sean Beer and Brent Park. They gathered experience from all over the world and decided to produce high quality wine, poetically named Volcanic Hills. Their winery is small and they sell directly to costumers which makes their wine even more exclusive.

To explore the savoriness of Volcanic Hills’ wine you can have a ride on the breathtaking Skyline and visit the tasting room. The memorable ride on the Gondola will leave you in excited anticipation to see the top of the Skyline. The tasting room will spoil you with samples of wines from New Zealand’s best wine regions. Furthermore the ladies who are working there, will give you detailed information about the treasures in shiny glasses. While you are being a professional and decadent wine taster you can also enjoy the 180° panoramic views over Lake Rotorua. There are 5 different varieties of wine to try each one has it’s own explosive flavours. My favorite is Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, love that fresh and herbal character. And of course you can also purchase a bottle of these scrumptous squeezed grapes!

Experience Rotorua by night

This is one of the must tours in Rotorua! It’s something completely different because you will experience the nature of New Zealand by night. Everything that seems to be so normal by day comes to life by night. The shiny eyes of a cute opossum looking at you from behind a tree, curious wallabies and thousands of glowworms covering the walls of the forest like stars in the sky.

All this we witnessed with our great tour guide Stephen, who picked us up from the hostel. He told us about Rotorua’s history and forestlands, to which we were driving. When we reached the secret location, we were provided with torches and safety vests and we started our journey through the dark and mysterious woods. On the way Stephen was telling us about the fauna and flora, pointing out the most important plants. The wow effect were the glowworms adjacent the waterfall by night. It’s very hard to describe the beauty of the nature that we saw, you just need to experience it by yourself.

After the walk through Native Forest we headed to a river where we could sit down, have a nice chat and enjoy hot chocolate with biscuits. Stephen’s wife is from South America and she makes really great hot chocolate, of which you can’t get enough!

Hobbiton

Visiting New Zealand and not going to Peter Jackson’s famous movie set, where the adventure of the little hobbit Frodo began, is a sin! All tourists know it, that’s why 30% of Hobbiton‘s visitors haven’t even seen the movies and still were willing to pay $114. We’ve been told that the best time to experience hobbiton is in the morning, before the set is full with excited fans. That’s why we took the first bus from Rotorua to Hobbiton. Over an hour later we reached our destination and started our walk through the magical paths. By the way movie set is not the original one, it was rebuilt after the Lord of the Rings trilogy concluded. Why? Because after the movies came out, many people came to the farm where it was filmed. So being a businessman, Peter Jackson decided to cooperate with the farmers again and open the attraction park for their faithful groupies.

 the 2 hours guided tour will definitely leave you with an infinite amount of pictures and a happy smile on your face. Hobbiton is indeed an amazing place with incredible scenery that looks so genuine that you would like to choose one of the gardened houses and stay there forever. People who are working here taking care of every element of the village, even the evergreen lawn grass is perfect! After a fun tour you will be invited for an ale or cider at the Green Dragon. Unfortunately you will have only 15-20 minutes to enjoy your drink and the magnificent views, which is a bit disappointing. But Hobbiton is full with groups of people every single day, that’s why everything should go fast. All in all it’s must visit place that will inspire you to watch all movies from the beginning again!

Attractions and things to do in amazing Taupo

The lakeside town of Taupo in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places to visit in the country of sheep and hobbits. The lake is actually an active rhyolitic volcano, which has produced two of the world’s most violent eruptions in recent geological history. The marvelous lake with the crystal clear water is also the largest lake in New Zealand. The whole area provides it’s visitors with various activities like hiking, fishing, lake cruises and many others.

Where to stay?

Private Double room in Base Hostel, Taupo

We were staying in the centrally located Base Hostel. Important to mention; Taupo is a very tiny town with numerous lovely cafés and restaurants, so everything is just a stone’s throw away. Base hostel is relatively new, rooms are very modern and the walls are still white. In the kitchen area guests are provided with all possible equipment and even a spacious deck, where you can enjoy your breakfast under the hot sun. The hostel would be ideal if not only for one essential thing: sleep. It’s located just above the Element Bar, which is part of the hostel. It starts to play incredibly loud music from 6pm – 2 am. If you think you can sleep through this, then you are mistaken! The locks on the doors are made out of huge metal card readers and to close it quietly is impossible. It means after 2 o’clock you will hear banging of the doors until at least 8am.

Arrived in the evening

Ernest Kemp Cruise

We started our journey in Taupo with the famous boat cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings. The 14-metres artwork above the deep water was completed in 1980 by the team of four artists and is only accessible by boat. We decided to visit this attraction with Ernest Kemp Cruise and it was a great choice! We went on the evening trip at 4:30 and were spoiled with a cozy vibe, heaps of wine & beer, pizza and even some delicious treats by the end of the almost 3h long trip. We could enjoy a gorgeous sunset and get very close to the carving to take amazing pictures. The tours are organized by a lovely couple who made our little trip memorable.

Maori Rock Carvings

One perfect day in Taupo

Taupo Bungy

The perfect way to start your day is to be picked up by the Taupo Bungy Team from the place you stay in the morning and to dip your head into the mesmerizing Waikato River from 47 meters high. Adrenaline rushing through your veins will work better than the strongest coffee you know! I did my Bungy Jump with Taupo Bungy for the first time and I think it’s much better to know that there is water underneath, so there is still a possibility to survive! I’ve also tried the Tandem Swing and both of the experiences are definitely memorable and exciting. Nevertheless I believe that Bungy is more of a test on how courageous you are and the swing is more about enjoying the butterflies in your stomach and a picturesque view! So don’t think twice if you are in this region, collect all your bravery and do it! YOLO!

Taupo Bungy

After thrills and spills you will be able to skip around like an energizer bunny, so it’s an ideal time to go to see the Huka Falls. Just follow the path next to the river in the opposite direction from the town. It’s one of the best free walks in New Zealand that will lead you to the natural hot springs first. After 30 minutes of walking you can soak into the hot bubbling water in Otumuheke Stream at Taupo’s Spa Park. Just don’t forget to grab a towel, swimwear, a pick-nick basket and 1-2 or even more friends. It’s better to arrive in this place to be in the morning, because the hot pools are famous but very tiny, so many locals and tourists want to enjoy them too.

The lakeside of the walk

The famous Huka Falls, one of the Taupo’s highlights are another 45 minutes away from the natural hot springs. On a sunny day the water on the lakeside walk is crystal clear blue and very inviting. If you have thick skin and are not afraid of the cold then don’t hesitate to jump in. I didn’t do it, I enjoyed the walking track alongside and the views from the platform when we reached the waterfall. Huka Falls doesn’t look like the waterfalls that we all know, the 220,000 liters of water per second flow horizontally. Waterfalls are genuinely beautiful but the sound of a steady rhythm has something peaceful and magical about it. It’s a great spot to immerse into the tranquility of the nature.

Huka Falls

How about a fancy dinner?

In Taupo you are spoiled for choice when it concerns eateries. The town is tiny but it offers numerous great possibilities to have sumptuous and huge portions of delightful food. The only challenge is if you are not keen on eating fish&chips you might have to pay fair amount of money for your meal. Withal we discovered a marvelous restaurant where casual and fine kitchen meet each other: Plateau.

Angus Beef Eye Fillet

We had two different mains: Angus Beef Eye Fillet with truffled potato, portobello mushroom, shallots, charred baby leeks, baby carrots, madeira jus and Fish of the Day, Pan Served Snapper with camera fondant spinach, baby carrots, fennel, orange slaw, sundries tomatoes and salsa verde. The steak was juicy, tender and full of flavors accompanied with a delicious dark sauce. An epitome for the steak lover. The fish was done on point and the ensemble of the various culinary treasures made the whole dish very interesting and tasty.

Chocolate Fondant

After the sumptuous mains we couldn’t resist to try some desserts. We decided to take two classical variations: Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Fondant
with doris plum & creme fraiche ice-cream. And it was the best decision! The Creme Brûlée was perfectly smooth and crunchy on top. The Chocolate Fondant was right on point: hot and intense with a meltingly soft centre. In one word: Divine!

One more day of exploring

Real Kiwi Tour with Alex

We came to visit Taupo by bus but there are various magnificent spots in the surroundings of the harmonious lake. We were lucky that we could find Alex, who organizes private tours to the different attractions around Taupo and Rotorua in her spacious and comfortable four-wheeler. Alex is a lovely woman, who knows a lot of facts about the area, she will take care of you, provides you with snacks and will keep you hydrated. She can adapt the tour to your wishes the way she did with us. We wanted to visit Orakei Karako and afterwards head to Rotorua. Alex made our wishes come true easily!

Orakei Karako

We also needed Alex’s transport help because you can only reach the geothermal treasure of nature Orakei Karako by car. It takes 25 minutes to drive from Taupo or 45 minutes from Rotorua. It’s a volcanic colorful world of geysers, hot springs, mud pools and silica terraces. To get to the untouched geothermal paradise you need to take a ferry which will bring you to the other side of the lake. Don’t worry, it’s all included in the acceptable price of $36.

Orakei Karako

On your 1h self-guided tour you will discover 23 active natural geysers, numerous bubbling hot springs and the Ruatapu Cave. This impressive natural cave has a jade-green pool, which is thought to have been used as a mirror by Maori women for ritual preparations. It’s also one of the picturesque geothermal areas that doesn’t have so many visitors because of it’s hidden position. This means you won’t feel crowded when you enjoy the native bushwalk. I would recommend to everyone to visit Orakei Karako, see the stunning beauty of geothermal park and it’s vibrant colours with your own eyes!

 

 

 

Wellington Wine and Food Festival on the 10th & 11th of March, 2017

Charming Wellington is famous all over the world for it’s huge variety of delicious food and beer breweries. New Zealand’s culinary hotspot blooms and shows it’s best even more during the summer period, celebrating the stunning weather with numerous outdoor events. One of them is Wellington Wine and Food + Craft Beer Festival, which spoils Wellingtonians with endless tasty eats, fine wines and refreshing beers, all in one place. This year everyone can enjoy the festivities at Waitangi Park in the heart of beautiful Welly.

The Crab Shag spoils with it’s seafood delicasy

The relaxed atmosphere and good vibes are the main component of the festival here in our beloved Wellington. But what is food, beer and wine without music, dance and entertainment? That’s why over 22 local food and drink vendors, like Crab Shack, Hillside Kitchen and Cellar and The Arborist will be coupled with the live music. Foodies and adventurous taste testers will find a paradise captured in one spot. It’s the best way to spend the time with your friends, to recharge your batteries with positive energy and make the summer time memorable. You can just stroll, sip, nibble and enjoy the rich cultural tapestry Wellington offers. With a glass of the exclusive wines from the best regions around New Zealand like Marlborough you can immerse into this urban event complimented with party feelings as the sun sets.

Crocodile Meat from great Afrika Restaurant, Wellington

To rejoice into the most of Wellington’s Wine and Food oasis on the 10th and 11th of March, the festival has been divided into three sessions: Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. As a result it’s the perfect start for the weekend on Friday after work, starting at 5pm with decadent drinks or all the well-known ciders and beers. You are driving back home? No problem, there is a wide range of non alcoholic mocktail creations available to fill your glass.

Ticket prices are more than acceptable this year because it’s all about wine, food, outdoor entertainment and a vibrant Wellington crowd! Just be fast enough to get the early bird discount and to ensure that you will be a part of the incredible happening this year at Waitangi Park! To save you time with searching for tickets, just click here to get one or two.

The festival is all you need to make the summer of 2017 unforgettable! Cheers!

Activities to do in Golden Bay, New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for it’s maritime refreshing climate, relatively high rainfall and a couple of hours of sunshine on a lucky day. But I have good news, there is a place at the top of the South Island where you can absorb vitamin D most of the time: Golden Bay. If you are searching for beautiful beaches with gold sand, turquoise water and ample outdoor activities then this is the ideal place for you. This vast Eden will spoil every nature lover with it’s incredible scenic views, never-ending walkways and relaxed atmosphere.

The tranquil region is comprised of very small rural towns and farms where you can find a couple of old-fashioned as well as less old-fashioned restaurants and pubs. The majority of the population is made up by families with young children, the elderly generation and plenty of German backpackers having a carefree lifestyle. Golden Bay offers everything to escape reality, furthermore if you want to hideaway from civilization and maybe even start your own little business, go there.

2B Natural Insect Repellent

The Great 2B Natural Insect Repellent

But as every heaven on Earth even this place has something unpleasant and it’s thirsty mosquitoes. Nevertheless there is a great product made by locals that I discovered there: 2B Natural Insect Repellent. It’s always great to support a local business especially knowing that all the oils used to manufacture that spray are organic. The smell resembles a spa salon and the spray’s effectiveness is surprisingly good: haven’t been touched by any cheeky sandflies afterwards. The other incredible aspect is 2B is waterproof and long lasting. You can find it online or in many other shops across spacious New Zealand. Trust me nothing will protect your precious skin better than this spray!

The breathtaking walks in Nelson

Nelson is a lovely town on the top of New Zealand’s South Island which should be the first stop on the way exploring the beauty of New Zealand. The best and inexpensive way to reach the jewel is to fly. Compare the prices on good old sky scanner.

Paradiso Backpacker Hostel, Nelson

The sun shines almost all the time in Nelson which emphasizes the great outdoor experiences like hiking, kayaking, biking and causing. These aspects attract plenty of tourists and backpackers that’s why it’s very easy to find a place to stay. Nevertheless I would suggest to book a room or bed 1-2 weeks in advance during the high season, which starts in December and ends in March. I stayed in a tidy, cozy and exceptional hostel equipped with facilities such as a swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna: Paradiso Backpacker Hostel. It’s located just 15 minutes away from Nelson’s center and offers a good breakfast and on some days even dinner. The prices are acceptable, most rooms are occupied by 4 people and have their own bathrooms.

Centre of New Zealand Walk

New Zealand is all about breathtaking views and mesmerizing landscapes, that’s why you need to start your day with the Centre of New Zealand Walk. I would suggest to start your 45 minutes walk from Atawhai Dr. towards the town’s center. Keep your finger on the trigger because you will be surprised by picturesque sights of Nelson and it’s harbour.

The Cathedral of Nelson city

After some Instagram-worthy views head toward the cute city of Nelson. If you’ve been traveling a lot then nothing will surprise you, as anywhere else in a town next to the beach there are various possibilities to dine, shop in the boutiques and visiting museums. Nevertheless it’s fun to walk around and sometimes you can discover curious things like an exhibition of local artists in one of the parks for free. So it’s a nice spot for typical backpackers to stay there and find an easy-going job.

Don’t miss Stoke!

Stoke is one of the suburbs of Nelson with a modest population of almost 18.000 people. It’s an ideal area to stop and discover some hidden jewels on your way to the next destination especially if you have an affinity for beer or food.

Tasting in McCashin’s Brewery

You’ve probably heard that beer has played a significant role in the local culture of New Zealand, going back to the 1840s. And not only because Kiwis love to drink beer under the gentle sunbeams but being home to the perfect location and climate to cultivate the best and most unique hops in the world. That’s why you will find numerous breweries in Nelson region but at McCashin’s you can have a tour through their big beer factory accomplished by tasting a wide range of unique beers. If a tasting dose was not enough for you then you can purchase more of this refreshing drink at Mc Cashin’s restaurant.

The great chef of Crusoe’s

If you didn’t have time for a proper breakfast or you are planing to have long ride then visit the hidden oasis of Crusoe´s Cafe & Bar. It’s a tranquil spacious restaurant with a funky decor and cozy, relaxing atmosphere. There are many great aspects about this place. One of them is that they please every food preference that exists on the planet. I’m not talking about vegetarian or lactose intolerance, because we got used to it already but also the special needs that makes everyone’s life more complicated like gluten free and vegan. Moreover the size of the meals will make your eyes grow and the taste will leave you in delightful and speechless splendor. The place is beloved by the locals because of the delicious homemade and locally sourced food. It’s definitely a lovely spot to get charged with positive vibes and talk to people who are living there.

Sumptuous portions of smoked salmon salad and open steak sandwich with camembert

All you need is beach!

Breaker Bay

No doubt that Kaiteriteri is home to one of the most beautiful beaches of Golden Bay. It lays around 13 kilometers from Motueka and offers incredible golden sand and clear turquoise water. The magnitude of the main beach is vast but if you require something a bit more private then there are two attractive alternatives for you: on the left side from the main beach behind the bushes you will discover a path leading to a smaller beach, which carries the name Breaker Bay. It’s the epitome of a lovely paradise, surrounded by rocks covered with huge mussels. On the right side is Kaiteriteri’s little brother, equally beautiful but with less people.

Delicious mussels and a beautiful view over the beach

To have a better overview of the scenery you can wander to the top of the cliff above the beach. Don’t forget to take a drink and a partner with you to make that moment even more memorable. If you got hungry after all the exploring visit one of the restaurants and try their seafood. Just be sure that it won’t be fried because Kiwis have the tendency to batter up nearly everything.

A must do in Golden Bay is a kayaking day tour along the mesmerizing Tasman Bay coastline. Do it with the great Kiwi owned Tasman Bay Sea Kayaking operators starting all their tours from Old Macdonald’s Farm Holiday Park in Marahau. Even if you’ve never kayaked before, don’t worry, they will train and take care of you so you will turn into a professional by the end. I booked a full day adventure for $125 with them which included 3 hours of great adventure on the water with the amazing guide Troy and a 3,5 hour walk through the Abel Tasman National Park from where I could take plenty quixotic pictures for my blog and memories of course. The difference to other kayak tours is that the groups are much smaller and instead of being surrounded by 6-10 double kayaks you will almost have a private tour of 2 or 3. It means you can hear all of Troy’s interesting stories about the environment and mythology of New Zealand and paddle freely in the sparkling waters at the same time.

Lookout from the Abel Tasman National Park

All in one…

Golden Bay offers beautiful spots where nature shows it’s best. You can easily explore the surroundings without paying anything for it by hitch hiking and discovering walkways by feet. You will need at least 2 weeks time to complete the incredible adventure and collect unforgettable impressions. Go further, reach Takaka, ride horses on the beach coast and try savory seafood. New Zealand is unfortunately not a cheap country but don’t think about money, it’s all about enjoying the moments.

 

Attractions of Wellington, where sophistication meets the warmth of a village

Wellington is the capital of picturesque New Zealand, which has been named the world’s “coolest little capital”. The cosmopolitan is famous for it’s internationally recognised coffee culture and world-class culinary scene.

Hello from Gandalf in the airport of Wellington

Hello from Gandalf in the airport of Wellington

The vibrant and creative city never sleeps, it entertains citizens and tourists with numerous activities, like national museums, theatres and galleries. It offers a magnificent outdoor lifestyle and incredible harbourside setting. Just take a walk along the waterfront and enjoy a coffee in one of the cafés.

The best things in life are free!

The best way to get to know the charming capital of New Zealand is to visit Wellington’s free museums. One of them is the informative and interesting Wellington Museum, which was designed by architect Frederick de Jersey Clere and built in 1892. There are four floors in this fascinating museum, located on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront, sharing the social and cultural history of this cosmopolitan. For example I didn’t know that Wellington was the first city in the whole world where women were allowed to vote. It’s also a pioneer of implementing the 8 hour work day as well as establishing a set minimum wage.

The Time Machine

The Time Machine

The imaginative exhibition includes various highlights like The Time Machine, which shows you the the very beginning of the universe, The Big Bang and continues with the most influential events of New Zealand’s development, i.e. the Maori landing in 925 and the establishment of a British colony in 1841. Furthermore the museum presents the maritime history of the harbour city Wellington including the dramatic story of The Wahine Maritime Disaster in 1968. The enormous ship sank close to the shore because of atrocious weather conditions and dragged 51 lives into the deep blue sea. But enough of this sad story, in Wellington museum you can also watch a spectacular holographic show about Maori myths and legends.

Wellington Museum

Wellington Museum

Enjoy the outdoors in the Botanic Garden and discover it’s hidden treasures

Wellington central city is the proud owner of a tremendous impressive garden which is open every day from dawn to dusk. Everyone can visit the park area filled with exotic plants and flowers from different corners of the world for free. There are extensive and well-maintained walking paths with signs leading you to the various attractions. Spend the whole day in this scenic greenery and you will discover an entertaining children’s playground, free guided tours, glow worms in the Main Garden and the Botanic Garden Café with it’s amazing view. The Botanic Garden also offers numerous free performances during the summer season for all it’s visitors.

The Botanical Garden and it's cute dinosaur

The Botanical Garden and it’s cute dinosaur

If you want to experience something spectacular and memorable then you definitely need to reach the top of the park’s hills. There you will encounter the Space Place planetarium at Carter Observatory. Without hesitating visit the educational and entertaining exhibits about the universe, planets and humanity’s efforts to reach the stars. You can touch authentic space rocks and even a little piece of the moon. Check the planetarium’s show schedule and book a ticket for one of the magnificent shows. I’ve seen two movies, “Dynamic Earth” and “We are all stars”. Both of them are breathtaking, letting the viewers realise how simple and complex at the same time our planet and the universe are. That everything is connected and we should appreciate that Earth is not a burning and volcanic planet such as Venus, but it’s providing us with all possible goods to keep us happy and alive. By the end of every show you will be introduced to the mysterious constellations, stars and planets, visible to everyone’s eyes. If you are still craving for more knowledge then you can also watch the moon through a telescope crafted by Englishmen Thomas Cooke and Sons in 1867.

Real space rocks!

Real space rocks!

The walk through the gigantic Botanic Garden can be exhausting but creative Kiwis know how to make the life of a curious traveler easier: There is a quick possibility to reach the centre of the city in five minutes by using the funicular railway of the Wellington Cable Car. It will cost you $4 one way but if you use a Snappercard, which you can get in every kiosk or night shop, you can save 50 cents.

Cable Car, Wellington

Cable Car, Wellington

Breathtaking panoramic views of Wellington from Mount Victoria Lookout

The Mount Victoria Lookout

The Mount Victoria Lookout

Mount Victoria Lookout is a Wellington must do for every traveler no matter their age. It rises 196m above the city and rewards you with stunning views of New Zealand’s capital and it’s harbour. If you are not in the best shape and you prefer a more comfortable way of exploring, you can reach the summit by car. The adventurous ones can take the path from different sides. The long but scenic way is from Wellington’s waterfront at Oriental Bay. the shortest and most direct route up is from Majoribanks Street at the Eastern end of Courtney Place.

Be a part of Parliament’s meetings

If you have a secret admiration for politics and want to know everything about New Zealand’s government, then you should find an hour of spare time to visit Parliament and participate in their gratis tour. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover, the building may not seem esthetically sensational but people who are making decisions there give their best to improve citizens’ rights.

Parliament of Wellington

Parliament of Wellington

Important to mention for people who would like to stay longer or maybe even permanently in Wellington, to become a member of Wellington’s City Library won’t cost you a penny (and not only because they don’t have pennies here). Just bring your passport and proof of address and you can become one of the lovely book worms.

Insiders of the city

The magic of SoYouHair salon, Wellington

The magic of SoYouHair salon, Wellington

I know it can be a struggle to find a good hairdresser when you are traveling or even live in your own home town. Your problem will doubtlessly be solved if you are in Wellington and visit So You Hair on Tinakori Road in Thorndon. The friendly and beautiful staff will take care of your hair in a professional way and let you experience their great service. You will be treated like a queen or king from the very beginning, served with one of their extraordinary teas in a cute cup. I tried one of their treatments and I was extremely happy with the result (picture above says more than thousand words): My hair looked shiny and healthy for weeks. The other secret that I can’t keep for myself is that for $100 a month you can come and style your hair whenever and as much as you want! Unbelievable, right?

Chippery serves the best fish and chips in Wellington town

The Mt Vic Chippery serves the best fish and chips in Wellington town

The best way to start your day is to have a great cup of a coffee or two. Wellington is the number one destination for coffee lovers. Nevertheless there is a special place named The Hangar on Dixon Street, which will serve you a delightful cup. With the chance of good weather I would suggest you to enjoy the great food and even greater view from Coene’s Bar & Eatery terrace. It’s the best spot in the whole city to admire the turquoise water of the harbour. To rapidly quiet your hunger for fried maritimes, you should be a guest in the best fish and chips shop of the town with the unexpected name The Chippery.

Taste the variety of The Garage Project beer for free

Taste the variety of The Garage Project beer for free

If you are a big fan of beer and you are always keen to explore new sorts of this legendary drink: Wellington is again an ideal city for that, because it’s the craft beer capital home. Visit the small brewery Garage Project and try their best creations on tap for free. You can also purchase your favorite one. If you feel like to sit down with the golden liquid in a cold glass and immerse into a cozy atmosphere then head to hip Crafters & Co.

Lord of the Rings with captours

Some of the destinations are easier to reach by car and with a driver who knows the surroundings. With John’s Captours there is an amazing opportunity to explore the city in the most comfortable way in a 4 wheeler. Furthermore he will tell you numerous interesting facts about the metropolis.

On the way to Lord of the Rings movie locations

On the way to Lord of the Rings movie locations

John will show you some secret spots around the movie-making capital Wellington, where the legendary The Lord of The Rings was filmed. It’s a splendid experience to walk through the paths where all great actors were a part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

Wellcome to Weta Cave!

Wellcome to Weta Cave!

Another memorable highlight, where all Lord of the Rings fans will cry for happiness, is Weta Cave (all included in the price of the tour). During the summer period the museum can be fully booked but if you plan to go with John, he will make sure that you can immerse into the magical world of movies. The studio is in the heart of Miramar, a 30 minutes drive from Wellington and it’s hiding creative movie treasures like props, replicas and life-sized sculptures. Weta Studio tours provides visitors with information how the crucial parts and props of the movies have been designed, they even let you hold an impressive weapon from “District 9”. After being a part of the imaginary world you will be shown the documentary about Weta Cave, from the very beginning to becoming a leading design and effects facility. Nowadays they participate in all well known film creations like Warcraft, Mad Max and Spider Man. After watching the immersive documentary you will look at the movies with different eyes. There is so much more behind the 1-2 hours of entertainment on the screen.

You know that one

You know that one!

All in one Wellington is a terrific city to get lost in and immerse into the great area filled with incredible bars, restaurants, scenic views and majestic nature. One day is doubtlessly not enough to explore all facets of the hip little metropolis, that’s why plan to stay a bit longer but ensure that your piggy bank is filled up for the trip.

The best of Kapiti coast

The Kapiti Coast is the name of the coastal region in the south-west of New Zealand’s North Island. It lays just 40 minutes drive or a 1 hour train journey from central Wellington. The area offers infinite beach paths of grey sand along the coast and a relaxed, quiet atmosphere of the little towns like Paraparaumu. Wellington’s district is an ideal spot for travelers and locals who have an affinity for wildlife, nature and hiking. From the beach side of Kapiti you won’t miss the sight of the big Island’s silhouette across the water, it’s the main attraction, Kapiti Island.

The streets of Paraparaumu

The secrets of Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is the most important sanctuary for the rare native birdlife of New Zealand. It’s also one of the few accessible nature reserves and it’s rich in history. In 1897 Prime Minister Richard Seddon introduced a bill to Parliament in order to conserve and protect the flora and fauna of the Island’s territory. So the habitat of the area has been created to keep the endangered species away from the threatening ones such as mammalian predators and pests. The government needed to use drastic methods to provide essential breeding grounds for marine animals and sea birds: 2000 goats were removed in 1928, the cats were eradicated by 1935 and over 20.000 possums were killed in a period of six years.

Picturesque views of Kapiti Island

Stunning Kapiti Island is 10 km long and 2 km wide, furthermore the amount of visitors is strictly limited, to keep outside influence to a minimum. In this world-renowned bird sanctuary you can see many endemic bird species that are already extinct on the mainland. The most famous are Kaka, Weka, Kiwi, Hihi, Kakariki, Kereru and etc. There are also various tracks with beautiful paths flowing through the forest. The fittest and most adventurous can reach the summit, Tuteremoana, which sits 521m above sea level.

Be quite if you want to take a picture of Takahe bird

The best way to visit and to explore the unique island is with Kapiti Explorer. They offer a day trip to the sanctuary. The journey starts from the Boating Club near Paraparaumu beach at 8:45 am. If you decide to come from Wellington as I did, then you need to take a train at 6:49 which will cost you $11,50. From Paraparumu you can take bus 260. The final stop will be just a stone’s throw away  from the departure spot. From there the boat will bring you to nature and bird lovers’ paradise.

Robin bird, a little poser

I would definitely suggest to book a guided tour to learn how to identify the rare species of New Zealand and to discover the secret nests of various birds like the cute little blue Pinguin, whom is living deep in the forest of this sanctuary. Acquiring this precious knowledge will cost you a mere $12 per person!

Fearless Weka

Best cafe of Kapiti coast, Marine Parade Eatery

After a long day of exploring the island and getting to know various bird species  you will arrive back on the mainland probably very hungry. Anyway this is what happened to me and luckily I discovered a cozy little beach restaurant Marine Parade Eatery on the main street, 50 Marine Parade. It’s the only restaurant in Paraparaumu which has an amazingly colourful and modern design with a big passion for lovely details. You can also enjoy the view of the sea and relish the warmth of the sun from the restaurant’s terrace. And if it’s too hot outside which can doubtlessly happen during the summer period, try one of their refreshing New Zealand made streaming soda drinks.

Welcome to the charming Marine Parade Eatery

Marine Parade Eatery is a perfect place to savor a delightful bagel with a cup of energizing coffee for breakfast or have a marvelous lunch or dinner served with magnanimous portions of delicious healthy food. Every treat is unexpectedly tasty in this little gem of Kapiti, whether it’s the chocolate cake or one of the main courses. The friendly and smily staff will help you to find the perfect choice for you and even if you would like to alter your meal the chef will be more than happy to accommodate your wishes. Additionally Marine Parade Eatery makes all kinds of customers happy: Vegetarian, meat addict, seafood junky or sweet like sugar.

You can’t say no to delicious chocolate cake

We ordered seared beef fillet with blue cheese and anchovy butter, duck fat potatoes buttered baby carrots and broccolini and red wine jus for $34, pan fried fish with edamame, snow pea, peanuts, coriander, chili and miso dressed soba noodles for $32 and last but not least macadamia nut and swede coleslaw for $10. The food is divine and the coleslaw salad was the best salad that I’ve ever tried: The incredible combination of roasted macadamia nuts and yoghurt mixed with garlic dressing let us reach culinary heaven. The fish and meat were done on point, juicy and full of flavours. I enjoyed my meal with a glass of French Les Embruns Rose, which was a terrific choice. The beef fillet went well together with the cold beer of the day: The Garage Project pilsener.

Not only esthetically pleasing but also a feast in a mouth

I would highly recommend to stop by Marine Parade Eatery and experience memorable culinary magic. Just be aware of the opening hours if you want to go out for dinner, it’s only possible on weekends after 5pm. Moreover every Sunday from 3:30 pm your exquisite meals will be accompanied by live music (and hopefully good weather!).

Best things to do in Wairarapa, New Zealand

If you’ve never heard about Wairarapa, it’s time to get to know this tranquil region of New Zealand a bit closer. It occupies the south-eastern part of the North Island and contains three main sub-regions, Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton. There are plenty of marvelous places to discover and activities to enjoy.

Breathtaking view from Rimutaka Crossing

The ideal way to explore the attractive destination is by car, because it offers an amazing scenic drive from Wellington. I was lucky to get to know John, who owns and operates Capital Personolised Tours company and offers a great selection of journeys throughout the best spots and surroundings of Wellington. John took me for the entire day to explore the gems of Wairarapa. The best about traveling with Cap Tours is that it does personalised trip in smaller groups, so you don’t need to hurry up if you would like to enjoy picturesque views without time pressure. Nevertheless John’s company is flexible and also provides tours for groups up to 12 people!

Lord of the Ring locations you can’t miss!

The archway from the legendary movie

The day trip started when John picked me up from the place where I was staying in Wellington and we drove to our first stop: the exciting film locations of Lord of the Rings in Kaitoke. Shortly about Kaitoke: It’s a magnificent regional park where you can follow the signs to the spectacular Lord of the Rings filming locations complete with information panels. There you will find the secret spot used as the set for Rivendell in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Faithful fans should doubtlessly be aware that their camera battery is fully charged. The adventurous ones can walk on the swing bridge and enjoy the views of the Hutt River.

Swing bridge

Swingbridge in Kaitoke

Charming Greytown

Greytown has nothing to do with the grey colour, contrariwise it’s a cute, colorful and sophisticated village with free Wi-Fi hotspots along the Main Street. It’s worth to make a stop and stroll through the mix of independent boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and great cafés.

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Crem

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Cream

It’s unexpectedly a great shopping destination where you can find various intresting products. I discovered the marvelous organic skin care shop Medina on 81 Main Street. It’s a little heaven for every girl and woman who are aware of taking good care of their skin using only natural, high quality products. Medina Morin is an inspired owner with a background in beauty therapy. All her products are handmade without any bad toxins and furthermore, they are not tested on animals. You would probably expect that the prices are insanely high, but surprise, surprise! Nothing is over $60 and you can already find natural daily face cream made from olive leaf extract for $35. I couldn’t resist and purchased 3 different products: face and eye cream, Egyptian hibiscus exfoliate. Additionally I got a little present, a detox mask tester. I’ve tried them all and they are amazing, my skin has never been so smooth and bright. So don’t hesitate to visit Medina in the shop or online and you can even ask for a consultation.

Martinborough, quixotic wine village

Wine lovers don’t need to be asked twice to explore the surroundings of Martinborough, famous for it’s never-ending grape fields and family owned vineyards. The charming town features over 30 wineries, most within walking distance of each other. If you decided to come without John’s luxury 4WD then you can rent a bike and experience a diverse representation of vineyards in a sporty way.

Infinite vineyards of Martinborough

The vineyards are not only for admiring but also to taste and enjoy the pride of Wairarapa. You will doubtlessly discover why Martinborough is famous for it’s Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. If you have the opportunity to visit this area in November don’t think twice: Toast Martinborough will be on, a famous wine, food and music festival.

Martinborough is just 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Wellington but it’s an ideal rural place to escape the hectic city and to enjoy high quality food and world class wines. Furthermore there are marvelous olive groves producing the finest award winning olive oil. If you have an opportunity to enjoy your sunny day somewhere else, then definitely go to this picturesque colonial village!

Amazing Sauvignon Blanc

Tip: Hungry one’s shouldn’t be worried, John from Cap Tours will take care of it and bring you to a top local restaurant to let you experience the best of the surroundings! 

On the way to Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Colony of cute fur seals

Colony of cute fur seals, count how many you can see!

After viewing the vineyards’ infinite paths we drove towards the most southern point of the North Island, Cape Palliser Lighthouse. The road to it is dramatically scenic and offers a fascinating sea and landscape. Furthermore the Cape is home to a colony of cute fur seals. It’s worth to make a stop and observe sleepy voluptuous animals camouflaged on the rocks. The seals in New Zealand have lovely pointy noses and long whiskers. If you go on an adventure between November and January you will see plenty of adorable seal babies. Just be careful and don’t come to close to them, the seals may seem huge and lazy but they can move pretty fast when the feel threatened.

Just 251 stairs to reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse

When you reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse, which stands there since 1897, don’t be frightened by the notable 251 step climb to the cliff, it will test your fitness. On the top you will be rewarded with the unforgettable scenery of Palliser Bay. Unfortunately there is a sad story behind the deep majestic ocean: during the 19th century more than 20 ships wrecked near this area. Although it’s an incredible place to watch waves dramatically crash, to hear the strong wind roar and to feel one with nature.

It was a long day but…

… it was full of magnificent and memorable impressions. I was happy to explore the treasures of Wairarapa in an exclusive and most comfortable fashion. The road back to Wellington may seem for some travelers like me, to be winding and unsettling. John’s jeep is perfectly suited for whole day scenic trips, that’s why no need to worry. The pre-cautious person can bring some motion sickness pills or just try to fall asleep on the return journey as I did. Conclusively Wairarapa area is a must see and experience in New Zealand!

John’s comfortable four-wheeler (Capital Tours)

Top 5 things to see in Auckland

Auckland is the most populated city in New Zealand, being famous for it’s two natural harbours, busy CBD occupied by tall skyscrapers and surroundings filled with magnificent landscapes. It’s a perfect stopover and smooth introduction to the country before you start your long adventure through the land of Tolkien’s mystical creatures.

Streets of Auckland CBD

Streets of Auckland CBD

When you arrive in Auckland don’t expect to experience the vibrance of big cities such as Sydney, New York or any other great metropolis. In my opinion Auckland seems to be soulless, spreading the fake dynamic of the big city life. The prices for rent are unreasonably high, so if you are planning to stay a bit longer in New Zealand my advice don’t stay too long in Auckland. Additionally obesity has become a huge problem in the whole country, that’s why be prepared to see plenty of enormous people. Nevertheless it’s worth to stay a couple of days here and explore the thriving and accessible beauty of nature.  Let me present you the top five things that you doubtlessly need to see while you are visiting Auckland.

The truth about One Tree Hill

If you want to get lost in wide tranquil green spaces and see the typical countryside scene of New Zealand filled with numerous cute sheep then you definitely need to visit Cornwall Park, the largest area of parkland in Auckland city. In the 18th century the area was the centre of the Maori occupation. Follow the path and you will reach One Tree Hill Domain located on one of the metropolis’s volcanos. To reach the top of the hill will be challenging but in the end you will be rewarded with a fabulous city view from the summit.

One Tree Hill Domain

One Tree Hill Domain

It’s very easy to get to Cornwall Park, you just need to take the bus 309, 302 or 312 direction Mangere or Onehunga from Queen Street. It takes around 30 minutes to get to the location and then you are free to explore the green surroundings.

The beauty of nature: Mount Eden

Another pride of the big city Auckland is the 196 meter high dormant volcano enclosed with magnificent hiking trails, carrying the name Mount Eden or Maungawhau. If you had enough of walking but you want to reach the summit with the deep crater then you can also go by car or even shuttle bus. From the top of the hill you can enjoy a fantastic 360-degree view of the city and it’s harbours.

Amazing Mount Eden

Amazing Mount Eden

You can reach Mt Eden by taking a bus number 274 or 277 from Downtown Britomart every 15 minutes. Just don’t forget to wear very comfortable sport shoes to admire the nature without suffering.

Sky Tower

The main signature of Auckland is 328 meters tall and 20 years old Sky Tower, located in the heart of the city. You can not only only observe the beautiful building from every corner of the metropolis but you can also enjoy different kinds of attractions. The adrenaline junkies can do SkyJump or SkyWalk, foodies can taste exclusive meals in the restaurant placed on the base of the complex and Instagram-fans can take overwhelming pictures from 220 meters high above ground level, for a decent price of course.

Check out the eateries at Ponsonby

Delicious Pork Burger

Delicious Pork Burger

Ponsonby is a posh and well-known suburb in Auckland. Just minutes away from central Auckland, it offers great boutiques with amazing shopping experiences and in the evening you can taste from high end restaurants to the freshest fast food. If you are very hungry visit Burger, Burger. The service and vibes are amazing at that place and most importantly the food is delicious. Additionally the portion of the sides are tremendous. For little money you will be fed and happy!

Sides: Huge potatoes

Sides: Huge potatoes

Enjoy free activities

It’s hard to believe but there are plenty of interesting activities that you can experience without paying a penny for it. One of them is movie time in Silo Park, across from the Viaduct Harbour, during the summer months every Friday or Saturday. There you can immerse into a relaxed afterwork atmosphere of the city and taste the goodies of the night market.

If you love art then you definitely need to visit Auckland Art Gallery after you strolled through Albert Park. You will be charged for temporary exhibitions but general admission is free. In Auckland Museum you will get an education about New Zealand gratis but only if you have a proof of an Auckland address. Otherwise you need to pay 25$.

 

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