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    Top tips for chasing the Northern Lights – Tromso, Norway

    A few years ago for my birthday, Mr Kiwi and I boarded a plane up into the Arctic Circle. Thanks to the joys of social media and bloggers, we had been tipped off that one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights was Tromso in Northern Norway.

    How to find the Northern Lights in Tromso Norway Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We were lucky enough to not only see their elusive shimmers but also spend time under a sky where we could just about touch the milky way it was so clear. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos – I didn’t have a good enough camera then and we were far too caught in the moment – but it’s a memory that will live on regardless.

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    Glasgow, the Art Nouveau Movement and Cake

    Over the years that we’ve travelled up to Scotland, every time we’d planned to pop over to Glasgow, something got in the way. Christmas snowstorms, temptation by way of Peebles Fish and chips, lazy weekend afternoons, a rampant fire through Glasgow School of Arts and sheer unbridled disorganization.

    Willow Tea Rooms Art Deco Glasgow Mackintosh

    But, we finally made it to Glasgow. We intentionally planned a couple of days there to relax after an intensive road trip into the breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. It was somewhere that I’d always wanted to visit – mostly spurned by my love of architectural details and a burgeoning fascination for Art Deco and Art Nouveau (you know who you are).

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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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    Magical Train Journeys Around the World – A Few Of My Favourites.

    It may be a cliche, but sometimes the journey can be just as astonishing as the destination.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I love catching trains. The ease, the ability to wander around whilst speeding through the countryside, the sweeping corners, the friendly people dispensing hot tea, staring out the windows for hours as the world chugs past, generous luggage allowances and the whistling engineers with grease smudges in their eye and rosy cheeks.

    All you need is a train ticket, a snack and a sense of adventure.

    Christchurch to Greymouth, New Zealand
    Crowning my list is one of the top railway journeys in the world – the 4-hour Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn.


    See, magic.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Munich to Wendelstein Mountain, Germany
    Very, very vague plans made via an internet tipoff, we hopped onto one of the regional services (the Bayerische Oberlandbahn GmbH or BOB).

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi


    Watching the sports-mad locals unfold their hiking sticks and uncap their beer bottles (seriously) as they strode up along rocky paths, at that point we realised that we’d definitely gone off the map. Luckily spotting a small cut-through path wending under the train station and over a trickling stream, we found the cable car that winched us up 2,000 metres literally into the clouds.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Chesham to Harrow-on-the-Hill, England
    This was a very rare treat and a relatively brief one – but no less enjoyable.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The weekend started with a delicious cocktail in a glamorous London bar, but by the end of it, I was found on a tube station platform, eagerly awaiting an original London Underground Steam train running especially for Chesham’s 125th birthday.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Kyoto to Tokyo, Japan
    For us, Japan was a country of two halves (oh, and they’re getting pretty good at rugby) the old, beautiful traditions and a new modern world adapting itself to the future. It’s all the more amazing for how easily they seem to meld the two.

    Catching the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Kyoto to Tokyo Adventures of a London Kiwi 1


    As we turned a corner, in front of us – cloaked in Winter splendour – Mount Fuji revealed herself. Her peak mostly bare of clouds we took several long moments to simply breathe in the auspicious and rare sight.

    Catching the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Kyoto to Tokyo Adventures of a London Kiwi 1

    London to Broadstairs, England
    The most of this trip is pretty enough rolling countryside, but it was the last 20 minutes that I really loved. The jewel-like sea giving way to snow white cliffs.

    Magical Train Journeys Around the World Travel Linkup Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What are your favourite journeys so far? 
    (Ps. keep scrolling for the travellinkup and then a Pinnable image.)


    An InLinkz Link-up


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    10 things to do in Wellington, New Zealand

    The capital city of New Zealand is my spiritual heart (I fell in love whilst at university there) and with more cafes per capita than any other city in the world, it always feels like home. Walking down Wellington streets, my mind overlays so many memories – and I’m always amazed at how after a decade I still know how to get around without a map. I suspect it is indelibly etched on my heart.

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I could actually suggest a zillion different reasons to visit Wellington, but for me, the most important ones are my brother, sister-in-law, two rosy cheeked nephews and my best friend (who I managed to also get to see up in Auckland!). Even if you don’t possess such filial ties, Wellington is a brilliant city.

    Capping off the bottom of the North Island, and overlooking the Cook Strait towards the hills and valleys of the South Island, Wellington is a compact city surrounded by tree shrouded valleys and hills. 

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    1:- Sit on the harbourside and people watch.
    Honestly, it is one of my favourite things to do, coffee in hand. Simple things huh?

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    2:- Brunch. 

    I have so many recommendations of old classics that I wrote an entire post of my favourite Wellington brunch spots. Wellington brunches are simply at a sublime level of flavour and inventiveness – and that’s before we even begin to look at the delectable dinner options.

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    3:- Explore Te Papa Museum.
    Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum and gallery. You can explore the great treasures and stories of my home country – the unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage, and fascinating history. There are always innovative and interactive exhibitions both changing and permanent – I always lose hours here.

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    4:- Meander along the quays and do a little shopping.
    There is art on practically every corner and excellent coffee on every other. What more could a person ever need?

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    10 things to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    5:- Ride the cable car up to the Botanical gardens and nibble a picnic.
    Once you’re there, I’d also recommend stargazing and check out the amazing planetarium show at Carter Observatory. There are exhibitions that explain the significance of Matariki and the role of the star cluster for the Māori New Year, and the importance of the stars in Polynesian and Māori navigation.

    6:- Take in a Parliament tour at the Beehive. 
    Our national seat of governance is infamous for having a tractor driven up the steps in protest of a methane tax. Because, New Zealand… I’m also rather proud that it is where women were granted the vote – we were the ifirst

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    7:- Visit the Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street.
    You get bonus points if the university students have poured dishwashing liquid to bubble it. Many of the more bohemian shops and characters inhabit Cuba Street – I have vivid memories of juggling fireballs here as a student.

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    8:- Hike up the steep lanes of Wellington Zoo.
    Not only do the animals have amazing views over the valley, there is a great kiwi exhibition and they have several unique animal experiences – I got to pat a Lion a few years ago.

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    9:- Visit Weta Workshop.
    Get an inside peek into Wellywood at The Weta Cave in Miramar – it is the multi-award winning special effects workshop set up for filming Lord of the Rings. Did I mention that I was in one of those films as an extra? It’s usually my party piece. (Nb: image is unrelated, but of my gorgeous, tousled haired nephew.)

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    10:- Pop around the harbour to Petone.
    Not only is the train ride stunning as you skim the sea, Petone is becoming a real foodie hub with fantastic cafes and restaurants. We popped into Comes & Goes for an exquisite array of brunch dishes.

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What to do in Wellington New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I do have a little disclaimer to sneak in – the weather in Wellywood can be extremely tempestuous and living there you soon learn to walk sideways, but with the fantastic vibes, the bohemian underbelly and really friendly atmosphere it is well worth a visit. And on a sunny day? The city is utterly unbeatable!

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    An InLinkz Link-up

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