Great ways to escape winter blues!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shipping Suitcase Worldwide with Luggage Forward

Moving abroad with all your favorite, sentimental things might seem to be very stressful and expensive. Carrying all your belongings from A to B is not the best way to enjoy the holidays. Furthermore most of the airlines are starting to charge for checking your luggage in and sometimes prices can be ridiculous. Shipping suitcases can avoid the head and muscle aches.

This is what happened to me, after living for a while in New Zealand and realizing that it’s not my favourite place to stay I decided to relocate my home back to Europe. Nevertheless I planned to make a stop in the Maldives to gather some vitamin D and Sea after the cold weather in Hobbit land. As I already mentioned taking all your clothes to a paradise destination can cause a burdensome experience and empty your bank account in one click.

So I decided to ship my beloved 20+ kgs of stuff back to Germany first. I found Luggage Forward on the internet and felt comfortable and secure with sending my suitcase with them. The website is very easy to navigate: Already on the first page you can see the costs of your door to door delivery. Prices depend on the size and type of the luggage, you can even send your bicycle case! The distance and the speed of service that you select also plays significant role. I chose the standard bag 23kg for $679 and will be delivered within 5 days.

You need to create your account, it takes just 10 minutes. This will also help you to track your suitcase and follow every step. I’m the one who asks a lot of questions so I contacted support@luggageforward.com and a very friendly consultant helped me with all my questions within 12 hours! Important to mention that you definitely need to have a valid passport and detailed list of items packed in the suitcase.

I would suggest to plan sending your luggage at least 2 weeks in advance and not just one week like me. The company still needs time to send you tags for the bag, which will come separately one week after you confirmed your pick up. I almost missed my tags because the courier thought that no one was at home and left a note that he will bring it on the next day but my bag needed to be picked up on the same day. So in the end both, the delivery and pick up men, arrived seconds apart from each other. The pick up is by the way between 1-3pm. Nevertheless it’s amazing when your bag is collected from your home, so you don’t need to worry about tiring shlepping, overweight or waiting lines at the check in at the airport! Moreover you know that it will arrive safe within the next 5-7 days at your other home without getting lost or damaged.

I sent my luggage to Germany to my mum’s address and unfortunately Germans are famous for controlling everything. Important to mention Germany is one of the few countries that requires passport and baggage content specifics, most of the destinations allow allow simple pickup & delivery with very little documentation. My mum received a letter in a written in a terrifying way that they have my luggage and they need more information about me like the exact reason of sending it, if I’m moving back to Germany, the reason why and proof for it plus exact details what’s inside. If they won’t get information within the few days they will send the suitcase back and I will need to carry the costs. The curious fact is the info was already included. Germans are just famous for their bureaucracy that always makes myself and I know the whole country panic. I contacted Luggage Forward and they replied within a few hours despite the time difference that there is no reason to worry, they will take care of everything. And they did! So thanks to the Luggage Forward – Team for their support!

All in one I can say that Luggage Forward is an attractive alternative to travel light. It might seem pricy but what you gain in convenience and reliability is definitely worth paying a few extra dollars. And isn’t it great to travel light knowing that all your precious belongings are safely waiting for you at your next destination?

The Wellington Food Show

Wellington is famous for it’s culinary creativity and constant development of new delicious recipes. But on the 26th – 28th of May at Westpac stadium it will surprise us with an amazing exhibition “The Wellington Food Show”. It means all courages foodies can come to taste and purchase various local and international delicacies.

Numerous exhibitors will spoil visitors with sumptuous cheeses, grass fed Angus beef, handmade dumplings, deluxe chocolate, ice cream and many other healthy and high quality products. I already had an opportunity to taste some of the products like “West Coast Cocoa” Dark Deluxe Hot Chocolate. Just one spoonful of this delicious powder, including a lower amount of sugar mixed with hot milk will keep you warm and happy for the whole winter! Another item that surprised me with it’s great taste is the pure and raw wildflower honey from J.Friend and Co. This honey is very rich in fresh floral and fruity citrus flavours. So I’m looking forward to see what else will expect us at The Wellington Food Show.

The highlight of The Wellington Food Show will be the cooking theatre where culinary stars will demonstrate magic in the kitchen featuring cook Annabel Langbein, Simon Gault, Annabelle White (looks like the name Annabelle is blessed to be a great cooker), Michael Van de Elzen etc. So we all can learn tips and tricks how to prepare delightful and mouth watering meals at home.

There is no fun without liquid beverages like coffee or craft beers. This is another highlight to expect: a variety of brewers, wineries and more! So you see you on one of these days at Westpac Stadium tasting one of the nourishing or handmade treats.

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!

 

 

 

Visiting Vienna, Austria like a local

Vienna is a historical gem of Europe, spoiling it’s locals and tourists alike with an infinite amount of must-visit spots. Everyone can find his or her perfect piece of the Austrian capital no matter what kind of affinities or preferences you have. It’s rich culture, stunning historical and modern architecture, delightful food and incredible coffeehouses will satisfy all categories of people, from easy-going students to snobbish bankers.

I would probably be the main competitor of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” trilogy if I would try to mention all beautiful sights and places in Vienna. Furthermore the city is constantly growing creating a harmonious composition of ancient and modern times. Nevertheless there is no need to write about everything, in my opinion you should discover Austria’s largest city by yourself. Anyway here is my list of significant places to visit in the city, that I once called home for over three years.

Paradise for shopaholics in the heart of Vienna

The city centre of Vienna is stunning and full of surprises. It is pedestrian friendly, easy to overview because of it’s compact size and also full with historical treasures. The main monument of the Old Town is St. Stephan’s Cathedral, in which Mozart was married in 1782. The oldest parts of that impressive building dates back to the 13th century. It presents an ensemble of different eras like Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Take your time and definitely visit the iconic St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

St. Stepehens Cathedral

St. Stephan’s Cathedral of Vienna

Other than admiring historical gems of the city while strolling through the beautiful streets you can also discover amazing boutiques. Shopping is a pleasure in Vienna: From well-known until exclusive brands, in local shops you will find everything what your shopaholic heart could only wish for and your wallet would be afraid of!

Shopping streets of Vienna

After walking through the Kärntner Strasse, the time has come to taste the legendary Sacher Torte, traditional chocolate cake with apricot jam. The most famous place to try this sweet desire is in the Sacher Hotel. It will undoubtedly be a memorable experience, pleasant for the eyes and delightful for all your other senses.

Sacher Hotel where you can find the delicious Sacher Torte

As you may know, Vienna is the world’s music capital. Numerous famous composers have lived in and been inspired by Austria’s capital. That’s why it’s a must to observe the Vienna State Opera from outside and inside. If you have an opportunity to see one of the performances, don’t hesitate and cultivate yourself! Constructed in 1869 till present time, it has survived through great European political changes and remains as a proud symbol of Vienna’s impressive history.

Vienna State Opera

Schönbrunn Palace, Sisi’s modest summer house

Schönbrunn Garden, Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, built in the 1740s  and remodeled throughout the times, it is one of the main attractions in Vienna. The Baroque palace is famous for it’s magnitude, impressive interior and stunning garden. It used to be the summer residence of the eccentric Queen Elisabeth also known as Sisi and her husband Franz Joseph. The majority of the world admired the wild Bavarian girl Sissi but not many know that she was an egoistical person, who loved beautiful women and lead her son to commit suicide. She had passion for traveling which she proved in her anchor shaped tattoo on her shoulder. Additionally she had often asked her attendants to tie her to a fixed chair on the main deck of the ship during heavy storms. She was also obsessed with her appearance and suffered of anorexia, but she was proud of her 50cm waist. A unique person this Queen!

The view of the Schönbrunn palace and garden

Schönbrunn palace is definitely an ideal getaway from the busy city. Take your time and explore the various green gardens and the lookout on the opposite side of the main palace. Have a sit on one of the benches and enjoy the spectacular view of the palace and garden.

Delightful Coffee Houses of Vienna

Vienna’s culture is also famous for its coffeehouses and wineries. A Typical Viennese coffeehouse is “where time and space is consumed, but only coffee is found on the bill.” You will easily find people sitting for hours alone with a cup of coffee or a glass of delicious wine reading a book, writing or chatting with friends. There are plenty of charming coffee places in Vienna but here are some of my favourites. Wienerin, the rustic and chic ambiance in the heart of the city seduces it’s guests with traditional Viennese culinary served in an exclusive way with savory wines.

http://www.vienna.at , Café Liebling in Vienna

Hipsters love Cafe Liebling, famous for it’s minimalistic furniture design and sumptuous breakfasts. Located close to the U-Bahn Station Neubaugasse it’s easy to miss this place if you’ve never heard about it’s existence. That makes it even more interesting, doesn’t it?

Another simple coffee house but with a great attitude is Cafe Europa, hiding on the streets of Zollergasse. It’s a cozy place with cool lounge music, which is also an ideal hideaway on rainy days, when you can curl up in one of the window seats and watch the rain drops racing on the window glass. The food is a great treat and prices are more than acceptable. A great spot to try a Viennese coffee melange!

The tempting Naschmarkt

All curious foodies should visit this market, A crucial hot spot since the 16th century, and stroll through the fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world, meat, seafood, exotic herbs, cheese and baked goods. If you walk through the market, which is stone’s throw away from the center of the city, once you won’t be hungry anymore, because from every side you will be seduced by little tasters. The amazing fact about Naschmarkt is it’s very multi-cultural and you can savour any kind of ethnic meal that your foodie soul could wish for!

The vivid hot spot of MQ

Empty at the moment but full during the warm seasons MuseumsQuartier of Vienna

The abbreviation MQ stays for MuseumsQuartier, a lively and creative urban courtyard surrounded by historic building from the 18th century and contemporary museums like Leopold Museum, MUMOK and Kunsthalle Wien. This great outdoor area offers restaurants, cafes and little shops. This place never sleeps, the cultural activities and events, performances entertain it’s visitors throughout the year. From young to old, everyone loves to hang out in this area and enjoy the relaxing, artistic vibes. My advice; have an opulent breakfast at Leopold cafe, you will be impressed!

The unique art of Hundertwasser

Architecture of Hundertwasser in Vienna

Hundertwasser is an iconic Austrian artist and architect of 20th century, known for his affection for intense, radiant colours. If you want to see something surrealistic and breathtaking then you doubtlessly need to visit Hundertwasser Village and explore the surroundings. You will be surprised by how different it is from the rest of Vienna: the playful and rich colours and the shapeless forms protesting against rationalism in architecture. You can admire Hundertwasser’s rebellious art at the metro station Spittelau, where he designed the waste incinerator and power station. My advice is to visit Kunst Haus Wien, which is further from the city center, however the architectonic highlight of the European gem.

The irresistible fancy bars and dining spots

Vienna is an incredible city to experience world class culinary and gourmet restaurants. It’s famous for it’s traditional Austrian kitchen and sophisticated international fusion. Both are food contrasts to be treasured in the capital of Austria. A classic of Viennese fancy kitchen and highlight for visiting Vienna is Plachutta Wollzeile. It offers a friendly service, phenomenal dishes and undoubtedly a memorable experience.

graben30.at , Vienna

graben30.at , Vienna

Another bar-restaurant-miracle of Vienna is the gorgeous Graben30 in the heart of the city. The mesmerizing interior design of a modern and old-fashioned artistic style with a touch of industrial-urban is the place to be. It’s a fantastic place to have breakfast, dinner or experience a fancy way of clubbing. Furthermore Instagram-Junkies will be spoiled with opportunities to take outstanding pictures.

One more hidden jewel with a panoramic view of the magnificent Stephansdom is Onyx Bar, located on the 6th floor of the Haas House.  This small but chic bar offers an exquisite cocktail menu and delicious cakes. Politicians, celebrities and just beautiful smartly dressed people are the main guests of this charming place. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Dine out in Wellington’s trendy restaurant Foxglove

This Christmas we were wondering where to celebrate one of the most important holidays of the year. We were searching for something extravagant and unique. Wellington’s restaurants have a tendency to be very casual and ignore the etiquette of fine dining, but lucky us we discovered exclusive place, Foxglove Bar & Kitchen, in the ideal location: the heart of Wellington’s Queens Wharf. Nevertheless everyone is welcome and prices are acceptable as it may not initially seem so.

Mesmerizing design of Foxglove

Foxglove is all about mesmerizing design spread across two spacious levels. The bar and restaurant have a gorgeous vintage glamour look with it’s oversized couches and armchairs, an intimate corner with an open fireplace and a wall decorated with hunting trophies. Animal lovers shouldn’t be worried, because these trophies are not real but purely esthetic creations. Somehow you feel like being in a modern museum or Narnia, walking through the majestic wardrobe and exploring every square inch of Foxglove. The great and relaxing atmosphere is emphasized by friendly, discrete and thoroughly professional waiters and bartenders, who would love to help you with any request.

Trophies on the wall of Foxglove

Foxglove offers it’s guests the opportunity to enjoy Wellington’s rare sunny weather and ceaseless stunning view of the harbour on it’s deck. This is where we decided to clink our glasses to the Christmas spirit. The cocktail menu may appear short but here is an fondness for quality, not quantity. The presentation, size and taste of the cocktails is delightful for the surprisingly good price of $12.

Little Bourbon based cocktail and refreshing Spritzer

Little Bourbon based cocktail and refreshing Spritzer

Insider: On Thursday all cocktails cost just $10 and tap beer $7. So it’s a great opportunity to enjoy after work and have a lovely chat with your friends. 

Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35

Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35

Our main reason for visiting Foxglove was to try it’s mouthwatering menu, so we decided to proceed to the dining room on the ground floor to our booked table. The choice fell on seasonal and locally sourced dishes: Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $31 accompanied with house salad side $7. And the Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35 with hand cut fries $10. Both dishes left us speechless with big happy smiles on our faces. The salmon was juicy, fresh and not bathing in oil, which can happen pretty often with this kind of fish. The spicy sauce emphasized the meal’s savoriness. The meat was done on point keeping the red colour in the middle of every piece. Both dishes were not only rich in flavours but served in magnanimous portions. All in one it will keep every gourmet and foodie happily fulfilled.

Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $3

Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $31

Foxglove is definitely a marvelous place to impress your date or celebrate a special occasion. Withal, if the menu is too high priced in your opinion, Foxglove is still a great choice to come and have a coffee or delicious cocktail and enjoy the sweeping harbour view. So don’t forget to treat yourself sometimes!

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.

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