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Auckland

    10 of the best cat cafes in the world

    I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…

    The Best Places Long Weekend in Budapest Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?

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    The Ultimate New Zealand Roadtrip: The North Island Edition

    Aoteoroa, Land of the Long White Cloud, God’s Own. New Zealand is known by many names, including ‘home’ for me. At least once in your life, you must do a North Island road trip. With gorgeous waterfalls, geothermic oddities, amazing beaches, snoozing volcanoes – the North Island is gorgeous, but it often plays second fiddle to the glory of the South Island. 

    Cathedral Cove Ultimate New Zealand Roadtrip Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What qualifies me as an insider? I’m a born and bred North Island lass of New Zealand. I’ve lived in gorgeous cities from Auckland all the way down to Wellington, and beautiful places in between like the Art Deco capital of the world Napier and spent a lot of time the beautiful shores of Tauranga. 

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    Recent Adventures in New Zealand

    There is nothing more precious than time. When I’m home in New Zealand, my main focus is spending quality time with my family and friends, but they are sweet enough to indulge my insatiable curiosity about our nation and we end up exploring in between coffees.

    A trip home with family in New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    My home country is astonishingly beautiful, exceedingly friendly, full of easy-going locals and, unfortunately, literally on the other side of the world from my adopted home, so every moment, every peal of laughter seems even more precious.

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    9 New Zealand Secrets To Visit | Sponsored by Flight Centre

    In all these years of blogging, I’ve left one massive hole in my travel secret sharing. An insiders view of my very own home country – the beautiful shores of Aoteoroa, land of the ‘Long White Cloud’. New Zealand is an incredible place to explore – it’s beautiful, friendly and the brunches are world class – and I never really discovered that until I moved to the other side of the world.

    Piha Black Sand Beach Auckland Secrets of New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I’ve written tasters here and there, snippets of fun that we’ve had between visiting family, celebrating weddings and snuggling with new nephews, but I’ve never actually put them all together in one place. I usually just patch together emails to friends and readers who have asked for recommendations as they have travelled – and who have probably seen more of my home then I have. So, when Flight Centre contacted me to about writing a bit of an insiders guide to New Zealand Holidays, I dusted off this post and filled it with a bit of home wonder.

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    Orbit 360° Dining – Restaurant Review – SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand

    “You spin me right round, baby right round” Ahem, sorry.

    In my experience over the years, restaurants with amazing views have more often than not have low quality food. There have been a few exceptions; Hutong at the Shard, Duck and Waffle brunches and Peninsula Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel. It seems as though the restauranteurs know they can get away with this because the view is so beautiful and restaurant goers are usually tourists who have money to burn and won’t go back any time anyway.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand

    Sorry, grouch over. The Auckland Sky Tower is totally different (and that’s not just national pride kicking in). I’d been there a long while ago for their sumptuous buffet, but my sister visited a couple of years ago and pronounced that it hadn’t lost any of the quality.

    So, when arranging to meet up wth Ngaire @ KiwiFootprints (she moved back to New Zealand from London a while ago, much to my dismay) we bandied about a meal overlooking the beautiful Auckland skyline, and booked into the rotating Sky City Orbit 360° Dining in the Sky Tower with gluttonous glee.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Truth be told my sister and I ran a little late – there was the slight problem of being stuck at the base of Rangitoto Island (a dormant volcano) that we had surprised ourselves by hiking, so a little later than planned and just as the sun began to set we sped across Auckland Harbour.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The Sky Tower used to be the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the 23rd tallest tower in the world

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    (Sorry, I’ve learnt over the years that I’m not very good at writing straight up restaurant reviews – my experience is so coloured and brought alive by the company I keep and the reason that we are there, so not recording those details would be like a song without any music aka a dude thumping into a drum and shouting ‘nice food!!’. This conjures images of George Dawes.)

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I met Ngaire (or Na-gar-eeee as she usually gets called – her name is a beautiful Maori name pronounced ‘Ny-ree’ and means silver fern in the original Hawaiian) back in London, when we were both expats struggling to meet nice people. And thanks to a little stalking over the internet we became friends and got up to all kinds of fun before she booked in an epic journey back to New Zealand to be nearer her family.

    Oh right, yes, dinner. Having quickly changed our shoes, applied a little face paint and put our glad rags, we met her at the base of the Sky Tower.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Our meal was delicious. From my starter of Duck liver parfait, smoked duck ham, duck confit roll and doris plum chutney, to Ngaire and Alice’s chicken to beef and right through again to my duck breast, each dish was executed with delicacy and panache.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    My dessert of Cheesecake with a twist, served with orchard apricot and lime fruits, cheesecake cream, oat crumb was ridiculously good…

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …and Ngaire demonstrated the delicious deconstructed Jaffa cake – a chocolate sphere filled with orange and chocolate.
    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    By the time we left, satiated and content, the sun had completely disappeared and the Southern Lights were sparkling above our heads. The lighting inside was subdued to make the most of gorgeous 360 views, so apologies for the image quality. I just had to share this.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We stopped to look over the lit up harbour, and stopped for a quick selfie.

    Orbit 360° Dining - Restaurant Review - SKYCITY Auckland, New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    A perfect night.

    What is your experience of restaurants with a view?

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