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New Zealand

    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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    Gingerline Immersive Dining | Inter-dimensional Adventures at Chambers of Flavour

    I love the zany and the quirky, so it’s probably no surprise that of my favourite London pasttimes is going to immersive theatre. I’ve now been to Gingerline productions 4 times, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever get enough of them. 

    Gingerline Immersive Dining Experience Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Disclaimer: My latest visit to the Chambers of Flavour was as a guest of Gingerline, but I’ve gone 3 times beforehand on my own dime. To say I was already a fan-girl is *quite* an understatement… 

    I tried writing about the experiences we’ve had half a dozen times, but struggled to find adequate words (getting the furtherest along here and still failing miserably) 

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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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    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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