Unforgettable Places you NEED to visit in New Zealand

Ever wanted to travel to New Zealand? keep reading!

After my couple visits exploring this magical country, I have finally put together a list of my MUST SEE spots in all of New Zealand.

Before I get into my Top 10 spots to travel to in New Zealand, I have a whole page on my blog dedicated to different places around the country so check that out here.

To really enjoy a lot of the spots I’m about to mention you should rent a car. If you’re looking for a really good deal head to Transfer Car NZ. The only downside with them is you can’t really book far ahead of time as the whole idea with the company is they let people rent cars really cheap (or for free!!) in return of them helping the rental company relocate their cars.

Let’s start with the South Island

Starting with the South Island, because the South Island is so much more memorable… oops! Although both the North & South Islands have stunning scenery, the larger mountain ranges, fjords and Mt. Cook are in the South.

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# 1 Otago Peninsula –

If you get one thing out of this blog post, let me say how incredible & memorable the Otago Peninsula is. The Peninsula is just a short drive outside of Dunedin, a small city on the East Coast of the South Island. The peninsula is known for their abundance in wildlife: the rare yellow-eyed penguins, little blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals and New Zealand sea lions to name a few. It’s also famous for the immense about of hidden beaches.

You could spend a whole day alone just on this peninsula. There is a couple main roads that take you on a loop around the entire peninsula. Let me warn you, it is very windy and hilly but there’s ample amount of spots to pull off and enjoy the view.

I may be a bit bias as I studied abroad in Dunedin, but nonetheless its a spot that is sadly often forgotten *tear*.

*pro tip* if you don’t have a car you can still easily enjoy the peninsula by booking with a tour company.

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# 2 Beaches around Dunedin –

Tunnel Beach, Brighton Beach, and St. Kilda are my personal favorites. But there are many more!

I have a couple older posts exploring them in more detail:

Tunnel Beach – if I had to pick one go here

Brighton Beach

Tunnel Beach – south of Dunedin, NZ

Honestly just go to Dunedin and spend a couple days in that area alone. TRUST ME you will need it!!! There is endless beaches to explore & so much unique wildlife!! Also if geology or rocks peak your fancy, there’s a lot of cool beaches to admire that too.

# 3 Baldwin Street –

Known as “The Steepest Residential Street in the World” ahead of San Francisco. It is within walking distance of Northern Dunedin, but there’s also the bus system to make the walk a bit shorter.

*pro tip* this spot is very touristy! I mean full bus loads of tour groups, so keep that in mind when choosing when to go.

It’s not only a nice brisk up hill walk, but a form of entertainment stopping here. I think the funniest part of visiting here is seeing all of the tourists try to drive their rental car up to the top of the hill.

# 4 The Caitlins –

The final stop on the East Coast of the South Island before moving to the West – The Caitlins. Before traveling, I had no clue this area existed to be honest. This region encompasses the entire southeastern corner of the South Island.

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This is another spot that you really need a car to explore, or you can join in with a tour company. There’s many, many beaches and spots within the Caitlins to see but I’ll name my favorites.

Above is the fossilized remains of an old forest in Curio bay and below is around Nugget Point.

# 5 Queenstown –

Queenstown is landlocked on the Western side of the South Island. It’s located right in the center of some of the longest mountain ranges in all of New Zealand.

A very touristy place, but still a MUST. Queenstown itself is probably the most touristy area in all of NZ, in my opinion. Regardless, the area itself is so breathtaking that it’s impossible not to add it to this list.

Regardless of the time of year, there is the STUNNING mountain ranges lining the lake and surrounding areas. I HIGHLY recommend dropping the money on going up the tram to the top of one of the mountains. It’s the one tourist attraction that really is a must.

Moving to the North Island

# 6 Napier –

Located on the East Coast of the North Island, Napier is inspired by the 1930s Art Deco period. The town itself has a small airport to fly into, or it is about a 4 hour drive north from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.

I have already done an entire post on Napier here, but I couldn’t help but include it in this list. The entire town is filled with stunning architecture; it’s just a nice town to explore and walk around.

# 7 Craggy Mountain Range –

Craggy Range is a smaller mountain range not far from Napier, New Zealand mentioned above. As you can see from these photos, the range itself is so unique and breathtaking.

What brought me here specifically was a winery WHICH WAS INCREDIBLE so if you want to sip on some great wine while overlooking this mountain range then head to Craggy Range Vineyards. Out of all of the wineries I’ve visited in NZ, this one was by far the most memorable and personable.

Like a lot of the other spots mentioned, I’m sure there are many wine tours that go around and explore this area. The Hawkes Bay Region is one of the top wine regions in New Zealand.

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# 8 Coastal Walkway

Now that we’ve appreciated the east of the North Island, let’s head to the west!

The Coastal Walkway runs along New Plymouth, New Zealand, it’s a series of paths that connect to wrap around the coastline. New Plymouth also has a small airport and the walkway itself meets downtown for easy access.

What’s great about it, is you can start the path at any point and still get gorgeous views of rocky beaches and (if you’re lucky) Mount Taranaki.

These pictures don’t completely do it justice as I had horrible luck with the weather for the most part.. There is supposed to Mt. Taranaki (this gorgeous, dome, dormant volcano) through the end of those white arches.

So insert this mountain (when I had good weather) in that white archway & call it a day 🙂 But seriously, it’s just such a peaceful walk and theres some insanely cool tide pools that get exposed during low tide. New Plymouth PRIDES themselves on the Coastal Walkway it’s so cute!

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#9 Mount Monganui –

Moving to the north part of the North Island, we have Mt. Monganui.

The towns surrounding Mt. Monganui are nice but the mountain itself is the real destination in my opinion. You can do around a 2-hour hike to get to the top (which I keep bugging my boyfriend that we have to do at sunrise) and I’m positive the few is absolutely stunning.

I found this little peninsula to sit an watch the sun set down behind the mountain.

# 10 Hobbiton –

Last, but certainly not least, Hobbiton. I have a whole post going more into detail about my experience at Hobbiton here. Hobbiton is located a couple hours southeast of Auckland, in the middle of vast farmland and rolling hills (I completely get why Peter Jackson chose here as a filiming location)

Even if you don’t care for the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, I still think this is really worth the money. Before going here, I honestly barely watched part of one movie…. oops. There’s so many tour options to get here and explore (from Auckland, Rotorua, etc).

Each tour even includes a free drink at the Green Dragon!

*pro tip* try to go for the final tour of the day: I did and we got offered all the extra beer that was already poured for free.

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Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I’ve been meaning to put this list together for a while now & I had so much fun putting it together. ANY questions at all about New Zealand or ANY travel questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments! I want this to be helpful for you.

Have you ever wanted to travel to New Zealand?

What places on the list sound most interesting to you?

Lots of love,

foot

My Travel Bucket List

Since we’re all stuck inside dreaming of the other places we could be I thought I’d hop on to this trend and share my ultimate travel destination bucket list!

Recently I’ve been going back through my photos and blogging about some awesome places I’ve been in the last year: Stockholm, Berlin, other areas of Germany, and the Pacific Northwest. It has got me thinking even more of when we can safely leave the house and explore again.

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My Top 6 Dream Travel Spots

Croatia

Dalmatia Croatia
Photo from Lost World

Surprisingly, Croatia was on the top of my list long before I got into Game of Thrones a couple years ago. The country itself just seems like such an interesting mix of tropical-Mediterranean kind of feel with classic Europe…. if that makes any sense?

Cheap Flights to Zagreb, Croatia for $300
Photo from Fodors Travel

I’m just imagining walking along these rocks along the coast looking down in this clear pristine water. Wow. Goals.

If anyone has been to Croatia please comment below and give me your tips! This country has been on my list for years now.

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Norway

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Photo from Unsplash

I’ve had a short weekend layover in Oslo a couple years back but have never ventured out from there. With my interest in marine biology, the fjords especially around Bergen and north of there sounds absolutely incredible!

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Photo from Fodors Travel

The way these buildings wrap around the coastline so continuously is so pleasing I mean…

Also, fun fact, at one point I was thinking of going to graduate school in Tromso, Norway but ultimately decided on Tasmania for my masters.

Romania

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Photo from here

I don’t see many people post about going to Romania, nor do I know anyone personally that has been here. It seems like the perfect “off beaten path” medieval fantasy spot. I don’t know enough about the country itself but it seems a lot quieter than some of the more popular European castle destinations. For example in Austria, and in Germany when I visited castles for the most part they had a decent crowd. Who knows, I could be very wrong!

If you have travelled to Romania please let me know any of your tips!

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Peleș Castle – Sinaia, Romania - Atlas Obscura
Photo by AtlasObscura

Singapore

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Switching to a much more modern spot, Singapore.

This spot was in the back of my head but especially once seeing the way it was portrayed in parts of the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” I couldn’t help but get super curious and want to visit.

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The lights and the architecture …. I’m at a loss for words.

Japan

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A more mainstream choice nowadays but it really does seem completely different than any other place I’ve been. Especially with how different the Japanese culture must be from what I’m used to I am so interested to travel there and really delve into their culture.

Tokyo, Japan
Photo by talk travel app

Also I can’t help but want to visit all of the awesome themed cafes in Tokyo as well (hedgehog cafe, pokemon, etc.)

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Antarctica

16 Times Antarctica Revealed Its Awesomeness in 2019 | Live Science
Photo by live science

If you know me, this one is kind of obvious with my dream career plans but I’d thought I’d include it anyway. I’ve gotten into it more in depth in past posts, but to sum it up I hope to conduct my own scientific research in Antarctica one day.

I’d be so interested in your travel bucket list! What spot makes the top of your list?

Lots of love,

foot

12 Hours in Stockholm

The day started early morning in Berlin. (For a post I did on some top photo spots in Berlin click here ). Anyway, that Christmas I gifted my brother a day-trip to Stockholm, Sweden from Berlin, Germany (where he was studying abroad in Spring 2019). I chose Stockholm not only because it was on my list of places to visit, but more importantly it was a place we could do an international day trip. We had an early morning flight, and left around 7pm that same day to go back to Berlin. I was able to get us super cheap flights round trip and thought it’d be such a cool experience to do an international day trip.

Let me tell you, if you ever have the chance to go to a different country just for the day do it. We both don’t mind running around with our heads cut off and loved it.

We probably got to Berlin Tegal Airport around 5-6am and our flight took off around 7am. The flight wasn’t even an hour and our first priority once landing was of course coffee. If you have seen my instagram or any of my posts on coffee, I do my research before traveling.

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Around 8am I found a place in the Stockholm airport that actually knew how to make a great coffee (as airport coffee is usually not the greatest).

The next thing was to head to the Arlanda express.

OMG OK so this was my favorite train experience of my entire life. The train takes you straight from the airport to center city Stockholm. Similar to other big cities in Europe (like Oslo), it’s a super fast train of around 18 minutes. It was of course pricey but i loved the 18 minute experience so much I kinda wish it was longer….oops.

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Around 9am By the time we got to center city, it had been a bit since our last coffee. Naturally I had the perfect cafe in mind for breakfast; by then it was mid-morning.

Kaffeverket (I have a small post on them here) was on the top of my list. They had oat milk lattes and avocado toast so I was easily sold.

Around 10am By later morning we had visited our first official tourist stop: the Vasa Museum. I definitely recommend it, as it’s a super cool museum; just be prepared for longer lines.

Around 11am After that we just enjoyed walking around and making our way to the old part of town. I don’t have photographic evidence but I found a bakery in old town that did vegan cinnamon buns (as I’m dairy free) and they were incredible. Before researching into it I had no clue that Stockholm had a thing for cinnamon buns?

Old Town was gorgeous: the colors, architecture, cobble stone streets, and the narrow alleys. I really loved how the old part was on its’ own little island too, kinda separated from the industrial side of Stockholm.

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Some of my favorite photos of myself to-date are these that my brother managed to get of me down a narrow alley in old town.

Honestly, most of our time in center city was just walking around and exploring. In old town there were soooo many alley ways and we circled around but it was great. Fun times.

Around 1pm Once we realized we pretty much did all the walking we could, we headed back towards the center modern area and brainstormed our next move. We shopped a bit on the main strip, looked for an IKEA (which wasn’t anywhere near center city…) but ultimately ended up at another museum. Definitely different, but we went to the Swedish Army Museum (more of an interest to my brother but I played along since I kindly forced him to take all those photos of me). It was cool spot and pretty sure it was free… I could be wrong. But at that point we were pretty satisfied with our adventure and wanted something more chill.

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(such a winner of a shot wow!)

Around 3:30PM By the time we were done with the museum we were starting to get tired and decided to make the trek back to the airport to just chill there.

Just when I thought the Arlanda Express speed train couldn’t get any better we found a car with a little “work bar” with the stools, all the USB plugs, etc. If you go to Stockholm, enjoy those 18 minutes on that train.

Around 7pm We were getting ready to board our flight back to Berlin Tegal, making it back pretty late that night (as my brother was living on the other side of Berlin to Tegal Airport).

That’s pretty much it! Just about 12 hours in Stockholm. I was really impressed with the city and how organized it seemed. It will definitely be on my list to go back, also I really want to explore more rural Scandinavia (as I’ve only been to Oslo & Stockholm).

Have you been to Stockholm? What about any of Scandinavia?

Thanks so much for reading a little adventure I’m reminiscing on. Especially now with everything going on there’s gonna be a lot of throwbacks.

Lots of love,

foot

Coromandel Peninsula, NZ: are the hot spots worth it?

One of my stops on the North Island a few weeks ago was the Coromandel Peninsula. Its an area just to the east of Auckland (around a 90 minute drive). With only a day or so in the area, I made sure to stop by the “top spots”. When researching where to go, the main two places were: Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach…. so its safe to assume I made sure to stop by.


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If you are headed this way: RENT A CAR! The drives everywhere are gorgeous and filled with endless pull-offs.

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Stop one: Paeroa

I stayed in an Airbnb just south of the peninsula in a small town called Paeroa. It is home to the famous Kiwi drink “L&P” (theres an L&P cafe, and a massive L&P bottle in the middle of town). But back to the important stuff, my air bnb; it was behind this adorable, rustic cafe called The Refinery.

I’m really bummed I didn’t get the chance to sit down and take it all in (I was running around like a maniac, no surprise). They had a wide array of coffee (which i had on the go), food and also a cute front courtyard filled with lots of greenery.

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Stop two: Thames

Thames is small town just on the southern west coast of the Coromandel. As you can tell from me above, I decided to have lots of fun being a marine biologist (my friends thought I looked like Darla from Finding Nemo, which i now can see).

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More beach sunset pics???? of course!!!

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stop three: Waiau Falls

The next day started with some gorgeous coastal drives (I highly support the western coastal road to drive on, here’s some proof).

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I decided to make the trip up to Waiau Falls. Whats very convenient, is its located just off the road; what is inconvenient, is its located down a windy gravel road that cuts through the center of the peninsula. The North Island really takes the cake with breathtaking trees (don’t worry South Island, cabbage trees I love you). Of course the renown silver ferns, and other ferns for that matter, never disappoint.

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is it worth the trip? I would give it a 50/50 depending if you feel comfortable driving down a loose gravel road.


stop four: Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is on the Eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is really easy to find with lots of signs helping the lost tourists, like me. It is famous for its “Cathedral” shaped rock formation (wow, cathedral at Cathedral Cove???), which paints the frame for a gorgeous white sand beach.

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What they don’t tell you, is to get to Cathedral Cove you have to hike up and down a winding path from the car park. Even though the walk one-way only takes about 25 minutes, I wouldn’t say its the kind of stroll to do in flip flops; the scenery is stunning so it made the steep inclines worth it. Of course being a tourist beach it is going to be crowded but the beach wraps around a bit so there’s plenty room to explore. What I found funny, was there was a water taxi that was around 15$-20$ per person and apparently drops you off closer to the car park to decrease your hike up. It was very popular but I was perfectly fine walking it (more money for coffee). I would block off at least 2 hours to do the trip, enjoy the view and walk back.

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is it worth the trip? 100% a must-see!


stop five: Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is just south of Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel. A hot water stream runs underneath the beach and is exposed around low tide; it is recommended to visit in the period two hours before or after low tide to feel the “hot water”.

(sorry I have no photos! I didn’t want to get my phone soaked!)

It was very crowded; what they don’t tell you is how small the area of the geothermal “hot water” actually is. So most of the foreigners (like me), who went to visit and try their luck, found themselves on the sidelines waiting for a group to leave to take their already dug-out pool. No it is not impossible, but I am assuming those who snatched a good spot in the sand got there well before the recommended two hours before the tide. On top of that, 50% of the already small geothermal beach area makes it difficult to keep a continuous pool of water. As you can guess, the sand caves in, or gets pushed in, or gradually builds up over time.

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The pool me and my friends ended up snatching was a decent sized one but was further away from the water. The water was BURNING hot, so the family who dug it had the hot water streaming into a pool of cooler water farther down so it was kept at a more pleasant temperature. Once we had the pool, we were surrounded by those who didn’t have one and were looking for one. Safe to say there is a lot of competition and unneeded drama. OH AND BRING A SHOVEL! Most people didn’t want to share :/

is it worth the trip? Yes I do recommend going for the heck of it, but you have been warned.


As touristy as the Coromandel is, its touristy for a reason; I’m so happy I made the road trip.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

67 hours in Rotorua, New Zealand

This past weekend was JAM packed 🙂

Rotorua is a popular tourist destination located around 2-3 hours from Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand. Rotorua is known not only for their famous geothermal pools, but also because of their close proximity to Hobbiton!!! (I did a whole post on Hobbiton here).

lets do this


Kuirau Park

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Rotorua is famous for their geothermal pools. Whats convenient is you can visit some for free and they are just off the main street in town. There are some more elaborate ones and pools you can swim in; some are free and some cost a lot so keep your eye out.

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What I found funny, was how these hot spots will pop up occasionally at random spots (even peoples backyards!) I loved the eeriness of this walk. Its a pretty big park with a bunch of geothermal areas to explore.

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Skyline Rotorua

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Next up was Skyline Rotorua. It is one of those super tourist attractions with a bunch of activities at one spot. BUT it is still worth the trip 100%!

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The gondola ride to the top of the hill (maybe it was a small mountain??) was gorgeous. There was a mountain biking festival going on that weekend, so going up and down the hill you could see people doing fancy tricks.

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The luge had three tracks: a skyline beginner track and then an intermediate and advanced. The advanced was my personal favorite because there are little jumps that you don’t expect. There is padding and such at some of the sharp turns in case you spin out. The luge rides you can buy on its own in different quantities or in conjunction with other experiences. This picture above is the chair lift to take you back up to the top after going down the luge. At the top once you get off the gondola is a restaurant, gift shop and jelly belly store oddly enough.

Canopy Tours

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Canopy Tours is a zip lining experience through the canopies of a rain forest. Whats awesome is its not just a zip line adventure, the company are advocates for looking after the native bird populations. So not only do you get to admire the forest, but the cost of the trip gives money to their organization to protect New Zealand’s native birds.

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Of the 6 zip lines, the longest was 220m and I even got to zip line upside down!!!!!

Te Puia

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Te Puia is a geothermal park/kiwi bird house/ Maori culture experience extravaganza. It is a massive complex with all the tourist activities you could need. Although I did not get to see it go off, there are 3 geysers that go off a few times a day. The park is pretty to walk around and learn a lot about the area and its culture. I highly recommend doing a day tour; the woman who gave mine was SO knowledgeable.

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Along with the day tour, I did their evening culture experience. I think its so important to immerse yourself in different cultures and be open to the ways that other people live. The experience included a dinner as well.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

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Now, if you know me. I can never pass up an opportunity to go to a cat cafe (check this out)! What was different about this one versus the others I’ve visited, is this one has some rescue cats but a majority are bred, fancy cats (ha! fancy meow cat cafe is fancy! who would’ve known)! Both kittens and older cats reside here and all are up for adoption. Did I mention that I love how cat cafes work??? It’s a meet and greet with loving creatures that just want a forever home.

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Admission to the cafe includes a hot drink which was awesome!!! As you can hopefully see above is that they have a cute menu with cat-like names and yeah, I love it. The cafe looks a lot smaller from the outside, but once you go in there is a massive room around the side. The 17 cats that were there had a lot of room to themselves and places to escape to be away from any visitors.

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There were many rag doll cats & I was very excited about it because I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one before. Yes, they were very soft. The cafe is in the center of town so it’s really convenient to get to.

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Lake Rotorua

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Last stop was Lake Rotorua. Even though it was raining, it was a nice walk & I mean the ducks looked like they were having a great time so it’s a win-win.

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I’m really thankful for all of the adventures I have been able to go on. There are so many more to come very very sooooon!!!!!!!!! While in Rotorua I visited Hobbiton but gave it it’s own post if you want to check that out.

(peep some pictures flying over Christchurch)

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Top Coffee Spots in Dunedin, New Zealand

This is the post I have been the MOST excited to write and also the post that I kept putting off in case my ordering changed. PSA it changed just an hour ago and it is final (with the exception that I could discover new cafes here in Dunedin in the future).

ANYWAY! I’m excited, I hope you’re excited, I think all the local penguins are excited so that should give you the extra push to be pumped.

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The Fix

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15 Fredrick St. Dunedin

A cafe hidden on a side street not far from the University campus. They have a wide array of hot and iced drinks (my recent favorite is their iced coffee, the equivalent of an American iced latte)

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They have both indoor and an enclosed outdoor patio with ample seating. There is an outdoor heater and blankets scattered around so I am excited to take advantage of it when winter starts to pick up.

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{peep me}

GOOD, FREE WIFI! Just ask for the password and they’ll hook you up!

Another bonus (I’m just loading on the bonuses oops) is the food is really good and not that expensive. On top of that, there’s options to satisfy any dietary requirements/restrictions. Wait one more… there is a takeaway window facing the sidewalk so if you are running around like a crazy maniac but still want your fix (ha fix at the fix im so funny) then they have your back!!

I LOVE coming here to get some homework done or even just to sit and relax with friends.

Peep another gorgeous aesthetic.

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Oh, hey, did I say this is my favorite cafe in Dunedin? um, yes I did just say that.

so if you find yourself in the area it is not far from the Octagon, make the trip! & beware they have limited hours on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays  :///

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Morning Magpie

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46 Stuart Street, Dunedin

A cafe in between the Octagon and the railway station. A rustic feel with some homely antiques and art. It was the first coffee I got on my first morning in Dunedin and it did not disappoint. If you are after the perfect frothed milk, then this is your best bet.

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They do have food options but I sadly haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. There is wifi but the barista mentioned that sometimes its really slow, all depending on how many people are using it.

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What I appreciate most about the Magpie is how plain old cups don’t exist here. The pug cup up top is also from here WHICH IS SO EXCITING!


The Albion Cafe

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Albion Lane, 272 George Street, Dunedin

Hidden in a side alley surrounded by shops, one day I came across this gem. The baristas are the sweetest; although I’ve never had their sandwiches or baked goods, they are fresh every day and are proven to be popular. I love coming here for a quieter cafe vibe to focus on homework.

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There is wifi!!! the password is up on the menu board in case you’re curious.

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I wanted to stick to a top three, but decided I couldn’t leave this next one out. So, lets call this an honorable mention. here we go.

The Penguin Cafe

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1726 High Cliff road, Portobello, Dunedin

A cafe situated on the Otago Peninsula around 30 minutes drive or by bus outside Dunedin. Once again, a cafe with the sweetest baristas and great, fresh, reasonably priced food.

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Even if you aren’t a tourist (or trying to tell yourself that you’re past that phase), its a really fun cafe to look around at all the posters and brochures. There’s a bunch of maps and books on the local area as well to have a pop in to see.

aaaaaaand yes there are cute photos of penguins

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I had so much fun putting this together. I hope to put together more lists of things and places that I’ve found to be my favorite.

Shout out to those who are after the perfect cup of coffee, I hope you find it soon.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

Getting adjusted // living in New Zealand

Hello world,

Getting adjusted has been a bit more hectic than i anticipated. First off, jet lag hit me like a train my first week here: fever, nausea, the whole bit. DON’T WORRY I’M OKAY NOW!

Lectures have started this week and I am finding it a lot easier to get more of a routine down. I am finally picking up on a few things, while also still clueless on others.

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1. Dunedin is actually a city, not just a city-like town, but an actual city.

I have never lived in a city before. I’ve never had to wait endlessly to cross busy streets and had been able to walk to a large list of things in center city. To say the least, at first, it was out of my comfort zone. My first night in Dunedin I felt so out of place roaming George Street (one of the main streets), and deciding where to eat dinner. Over time I’ve left my denial behind that Dunedin IS A CITY! I guess in the states I am so used to areas calling themselves a city, when in reality they are far from it. Dunedin is a city, got it.

2. New Zealand is 120x more Eco-friendly than the US.

That could be an exaggeration, or possibly not. When first arriving in the Auckland airport, there were switches everywhere. Every single outlet has these switches and of course the first ones I managed to play with didn’t work no matter what I did with the switch. Slowly I am realizing that they make a lot of sense, and aren’t only a safety thing but an environmental thing (I have been ranting about this and other things on my twitter he he).

Every coffee I have purchased has either been in a biodegradable lid and cup, or compostable. It is also more common to see coffee shops to give discounts for bringing your own coffee cup or mug.

Reusable bags are more of a trend. Its not only better for the environment, but here they are a lot more common and people are accustomed to going out of their way to bring them places (maybe the states will get it eventually?).

3. Sheep run the country more than you think

Sheep are in charge more than I expected. Yes, sheep are common here no doubt. BUT a daily laugh I get from living in Dunedin is the massive trucks that drive through city filled with sheep. One of the main roads through the city is used as a highway for transporting sheep. HOW COMICAL IS THAT!!!!! My favorite is when a few stick their heads out to see what’s going on.

Yep, those are my three main surprises/shocks/fun adjustments I have made in the past week. Maybe one day I will catch on to Celsius, or the way the English I learned growing up is “American English” & not “English English”.

Nonetheless, New Zealand is continuing to excite me every day.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

First full day exploring Dunedin, NZ

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Dunedin is the second- largest city in the south island of New Zealand. Dunedin is more urban than I expected; you can walk practically anywhere within the lines of the city.

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This past weekend, I had a jam packed day full of exploring around both Dunedin, and its’ surrounding areas.


  1. St. Clair Beach
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First stop is the ocean, are you surprised?

St. Clair is just south of Dunedin and is a popular surfing spot. There are some nice outdoor cafes, but the main draw is the ocean.

2. Sheep

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After a scenic drive on the Otago Peninsula, it was time to tack into a famous icon of New Zealand: sheep. I visited Nature’s Wonders, which offered a sheep sheering demonstration along with any facts you can imagine about wool and the sheep of the area.

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There also was a short herding demonstration.

3. 4-wheeler trek

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What’s awesome about the company mentioned above, is they offer packages where you can see the sheep demonstration and then hop on a 4-wheeler to trek down to sea level. As you can see, the views were green and gorgeous.

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The first official stop was at a Southern fur seal colony (they blend in so well)! Since the fur seal pups were so young, they weren’t daring enough to stray far from mom.

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top tip – If you plan it right, say two weeks from now, the pups are about the age where they get curious about humans and will come close for better viewing.


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(I apologize about the quality, I only had my phone on the tour)

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Next up, was to a beach untouched by humans for seventeen years. What I learned was how temperamental yellow eyed penguins are; if one feels they are unsafe or uncomfortable, their entire colony will flee the next day. A general example is blood or other samples were taken humanely from penguins for research, the next day the whole colony fled.

The yellow eyed penguins are known as one of the rarest penguins of the world; different factors play into their decreasing population, like disease and habitat degradation.

A vital tool in viewing the penguins, is doing it in a way that doesn’t break their trust.

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A tunnel and hidden viewing platform (under vegetation) was built to give both the yellow eyed penguins, and also the blue penguins (another species found here) enough room to do their own thing. Conservation is at its prime importance here in New Zealand, and it’s great.

My tour was able to see a yellow eyed penguin strolling on the beach.

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….but… the penguins have a ramp… for when they get curious…

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4. Signal Hill

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To get to the top you can either walk it, or drive it. This time it was by car, but next time I’m excited to walk up. Signal Hill is located just north of Dunedin and overlooks the Otago harbor. On top there is some parking and areas to picnic.

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5. Baldwin Street

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Known by the Guinness Book of World Records as the steepest street in the world (even beating San Francisco).

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It is an amusing tourist spot, which attracts many different kinds of people. Some walk it, some make it their work out, and some drive it. Those who drive usually are the ones with rental cars because the trek both up and down I would imagine isn’t great for your car… Also there is barely any room up top to turn around to go back down…. but your call!! While I was there, one group even did the drive two times….hm.

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More personal updates will be posted soon. I caught some sort of sickness while traveling, and with it being mixed with jet lag, it has required a longer adjusting period.

But nonetheless, a lot is to come!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

traveling with anxiety

It took me a very long time to figure out what anxiety was, and if what i was feeling fit that.

I don’t want this to be a sad post, I want this to be helpful for anyone who may feel the same.

Traveling involves a lot of indirect trust and loss of control; there are a multitude of unknowns. We don’t know if our flight will actually be on time and if it will arrive the time it claims it will. We don’t know how long the airport lines will take, or if you have time to eat before boarding. As I prepare to head to the airport tomorrow, anxiety is subconsciously on my mind. A reoccurring theme for me, personally, is time.


main questions

the kinds of questions that are most common when I am anxious

+ what is going to happen if I don’t get there in 5 minutes? will the world end? something explodes?

+ what else could I be doing in that time I’m saving/losing? Is it productive?

+ but what do I gain from rushing around besides saving time?

side effects

physical & emotional results of my questions

+ come off as impatient or pissy, but depending on the anxiety it could be distracting/consuming as well

+ faster breathing & rushed heart beat

+ can be paralyzing; only focusing on what is making me anxious

coping mechanisms

ways that I try to ground myself

+ deep breathing

+ focus on something else (listen to music, watch something, etc.)

+ call/text someone

+ but if that is not possible, then write

+ helps piece thoughts together

+make sense of what is rational vs. irrational

+ self pep talk!

+words, phrases or songs that calm me

+ telling myself to calm down (in a way lightens my feelings and brings humor into it)

question for you: How do you cope with anxiety over things you can’t change?

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I leave for the airport TOMORROW! A lot of fresh content is coming your way!!

stay updated  —-> twitter —-> instagram —-> bloglovin

All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you (somehow hit 100 followers??? AHHH)!!

Lots of love,

foot

packing essentials i didn’t know i needed

Today I have officially made a dent in packing for my departure, (only took me a few weeks). Over time I have accumulated things that I originally didn’t realize they were essentials.

1.Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack

I have had my eyes on a new mini backpack for a while, and just recently got this one as a birthday present. I AM SO OBSESSED. I am not much of a purse/handbag user, so I rely more on backpacks to lug my belongings around. This time around, I was more after function over fashion and I’m so happy I was.

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For some reason, I am in love with the fact that the zipper is in the front of the big pocket, versus the middle like most backpacks. I feel it opens up the bag more, and structures it making it easier to bring around. This will be perfect for hikes, day trips, shopping, lounging, breathing…the whole bit!

2. Cord Wrap & Portable Charger

I came across this cord wrapper on etsy and am in love with the function and simplicity. Yes, I love cats, but also, this is my first cord wrapping experience and am already so relieved to have one.

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I have gone through a couple portable chargers over time but I never dropped the extra few dollars for a good quality one. I did get this as a gift (thanks mom!), so I didn’t have a chance to make up excuses; as in….. I will continue to use ones held together by duck tape.

3. Daily Planners

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Yes, I am so extra that this year I feel I need two instead of one. The bigger one I see myself using for more daily tasks: school work, errands, and small lists. I could go on for a bit about how grounded I feel once writing out little things I want to get done each day, even as a reminder. The smaller one is a moleskin, which I got as a present (thanks brother!). What I really appreciate about it, is in the beginning there are pages for international phone codes, and a map with all time zones. To have easy access to information like that, and also with it being visual, could come in handy! My moleskin I use for bigger dates, in-detail travel plans and also longer lists. Another pro, is with each weekly page is a whole empty page for notes.

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4. Journal

Let me tell you, I am SO late to the journal game.

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I decided not too long ago, to drop the money on a good quality journal that I would enjoy carrying around places. Barnes and Noble had so many fancy ones with the antique feel and FUN LATCHES so I was all for it.

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I see this journal full with endless possibilities. I like to jot down stories, blog post ideas or thoughts that are overwhelming my head that day. I am 100% a visual person and again, I am confused why it took me so long to get a journal.

5. An Eye Mask

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The trend only continues here: this was a gift (thanks megan!) & I’ve wanted one for a while. This one is so much more high tech than I would have gotten myself. It’s weighted a bit to help stay on my eyes, and block out light. I am excited to try this out especially on planes and see how it helps block out what is going on around me (also could be helpful during a little meditation). aaaaand its super soft!!!!

6. New Luggage Tagsimage11

Shout out again to my Mom, who is adorable and got me a set of luggage tags with marine mammals on them. In case you forgot, I am a marine biology major and am always rocking some seal/whale/sea otter merch (YAYYYY THE OCEAN)! These will make it so much easier to spot my luggage coming off the claim and they’re so much fun to look at.

7. Waterproof Phone caseimage10

I am an outdoor person; I like hiking, kayaking, being on boats for leisure and also my major. This is something I did not even think about but I know could be vital. I am also a prone klutz, who can be seen chucking their phone across the room without even realizing. This is perfect for that exact mix.

8. Life Strawimage9

Going alongside the waterproof case, it is better to be safe than sorry. A Life Straw instantly turns contaminated water into safe drinking water. Yet again, another birthday gift that will fit my needs abroad perfectly.

9. Packing Cubes

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I recently discovered these existed, and will update you on how they are put into use. A big pet peeve of mine is opening my suitcase and NEVER being able to find what I am looking for, or having to go through hell to get there.

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They seem really easy to manipulate and squish, so we shall see! Next post will be how these packs are used to organize this mess…..

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Stayed tuned as I am leaving in ONE WEEK AHHHHH!!!

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot
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