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30 May 2017

New Zealand Adventure - Part I

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wellington to Picton ferry journey, New Zealand


This trip had been in the works for a long time. We'd had a year to get excited, plan and prepare for the adventure and it was going to be one of the most action-packed trips we'd taken in a while. Whilst we are on the move often and we do tend to get a lot done in a short amount of time on our travels, this was two full weeks of moving around, exploring various parts of the country and staying at multiple locations, from small B&Bs to farms to friends' houses to international luxury hotels.

I couldn't wait to get going.

We flew Qantas First out to Sydney, then Air NZ into Auckland. Both were excellent. I'm already a huge Qantas fan - the crew are always such a pleasure to interact with and food is fantastic. Air NZ was new to both of us, and we agreed by the end of our trip that every single flight, though short, had been great with them. The crew again were wonderful, food was top notch and everything ran smoothly from start to end.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Qantas First
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Qantas First
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Qantas First
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Qantas First lounge, Auckland, New Zealand

The Qantas First lounge in Sydney.


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HOBBITON, MATAMATA, NORTH ISLAND
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We had to. We just had to visit Hobbiton. As two avid LOTR fans, how could we trek all the way across the world to Middle Earth and miss out on Frodo's hometown? So, our time in NZ began with a full-on nerdy visit to Hobbiton. The sun was blazing hot that day with very little respite (not suitable for photography, hence the limited number of usable photos) and yes, there are various tours staggered throughout the day, so it's not quite as people's Instagram shots would have you believe - there will be lots of other people in 90% of your pics. Still, it was a bit of fun to get a sneak peek behind the scenes of one of the most famous and beloved franchises of all time.



Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hobbiton, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hobbiton, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hobbiton, New Zealand

Hahaha...how cute is Jarv?


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WELLINGTON, NORTH ISLAND

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After our time up North visiting Hobbiton and a couple of days at a farm stay there, we began moving towards the Southernmost part of the North Island in preparation to head to South Island. After a short flight, we arrived in the capital - Wellington.  With only a one night stopover, we came very quickly to learn that Wellington in the summer is well worth a longer visit! The glittering ocean frames the city beautifully and on a hot, sunny day we passed by a group of locals that had gathered to spend the afternoon jumping off a high diving platform into the fresh water, performing all manner of hilarious belly flops and dive bombs on their way down. The city felt alive and cheerful.

The food and coffee scene in Wellington is buzzing - we had a fantastic dinner at Charley Noble (order the pappardelle with duck ragu and Gran Padano...it's divine) and great coffee pretty much everywhere. One thing that drove me slightly mad though was that there literally seemed to be no coffee shops open after 4pm, even on a regular weekday! So if you're a coffee fiend (like Jarv), it's something to keep in mind.

We stayed at the Intercontinental - the room was simple but more than adequate for a short stay. The location was especially convenient for walking around the city, so it was ideal for our one night stay (plus, Charley Noble is literally across the road!).



Euriental | luxury travel & style | Intercontinental Wellington, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Intercontinental Wellington, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hangar, Wellington, New Zealand

Hangar cafe. Coffee - excellent. Food - okay.

To get from North to South Island, we took the Interislander. The ferry from Wellington to Picton takes 3 hours and has been described by many as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. It does not disappoint. The ferry passes the most stunning scenery (be prepared to share the decks with many other passengers looking on in awe - I imagine even for those who have made the crossing multiple times it still impresses), and we were lucky to experience smooth waters and beautiful clear blue skies during our crossing. I mean, look at these views:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wellington to Picton ferry journey, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wellington to Picton ferry journey, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wellington to Picton ferry journey, New Zealand

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MARLBOROUGH, SOUTH ISLAND
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Upon arrival in Picton, we headed for our hire car and were off within mere minutes. We were staying only about a 20 minute drive from the ferry terminal...and I literally feel a pang of longing and nostalgia as I introduce you to our home for the next few nights: the idyllic Marlborough B&B, also known as "Woodside". 



Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand

This place is an absolute dream. It's like a fantasy dollhouse come to life, complete with good-natured dogs (Paddy - the black Labrador, and Flynn - the Rhodesian Ridgeback).

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand

Nanette is one half of the duo (the other half being Steve) that owns Woodside. If you are lucky enough to book a stay there, definitely have dinner in at least one evening. Her platters are like no other. The boys (Paddy & Flynn) won't bother you...they'll watch longingly but politely, perhaps drooling ever so slightly. Who could blame them?

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand

Breakfast can be had on the deck just outside your room (or inside if it's too cold). Steve and Nanette will even bring you a breakfast menu to choose and order from.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand

I'm wearing Jarv's jacket because it was a chilly morning - I mean, my shoulders are broad but they're not that giant...

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand

The area surrounding them is pretty amazing, too, and great for long walks.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Woodside, Marlborough B&B, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Marlborough, New Zealand

Dunno what the deal with this was, some kind of crazy tree graveyard.

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During our time in Marlborough, we knew we had to do the obvious - wine tasting. A popular activity there is to rent bikes for the day and make your way around the wineries (mental, really...how can this be allowed?!), which of course we partook in. It was a no-brainer. It ended up being one of the most fantastic afternoons of the entire trip (though that night I woke up at 3am feeling like death after an overconsumption of wine, but that's another story). I really felt like I earned those tastings after all the sweaty riding, y'know? :)

We began with an appointment at Greywacke. Now, I don't have many photos because this wasn't your typical winery, but stick with me here while I tell you about them (and if you're a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, pick up a bottle next time you go to Majestic looking for wine - you won't be disappointed). I started drinking their Sauvignon Blanc one evening about 3 or 4 years ago, when I was out to dinner with Jarv and his parents in Portsmouth. It instantly became my new favourite and Jarv and I started hunting down places we could buy it to have at home. So when we realised we'd be in the area, we knew we had to arrange a visit.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Greywacke, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand



Euriental | luxury travel & style | Greywacke, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand

Greywacke doesn't have a cellar door, unlike most other wineries in the area. This means you can't just wander in and attend a wine tasting & buy some wine, you have to email in advance to request a visit and hope that they're OK to have you on the day you want to go.

We were greeted by the affable Richard Ellis, one of only six members of the Greywacke team, which includes Kevin Judd, the owner, who used to be one of Cloudy Bay's founding wine-makers! Kevin was away on a trip, so Richard introduced us to all the wines that Greywacke produces and we spent a good hour and a half tasting and talking wine in the dining room of their 'office' (a house, really, overlooking some of Marlborough's beautiful vineyards, with its own swimming pool to cool off in during the summer months. Talk about living the dream). 

Absolutely my favourite of all the wineries we visited throughout New Zealand during our 2 week stay.

Next, we hopped back on our bikes and sped on over to Hans Herzog for lunch in the shade. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Marlborough, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hans Herzog Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand



A family-owned winery, Hans Herzog is renowned for being one of the best destinations in New Zealand to enjoy great food and wine in a luxuriously relaxed setting. The winery is fairly experimental and Hans believes in developing wines with character in a non-interventional way, allowing them to ferment slowly with wild yeasts. The restaurant serves market fresh dishes - it being a beautiful day, we decided to take lunch outdoors in the shade of the trees and then enjoy a short walk through the vineyard.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Hans Herzog Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand

We devoured our lunch like ravenous vultures (all that wine drinking and fast peddling makes you hungry, OK?) and then back on the bikes we hopped, finally ending up at Cloudy Bay. If you like your wines, you're probably familiar with this brand. It's my dad's favourite and was my introduction to Sauvignon Blanc many years ago!



They, being a large conglomerate, of course have a cellar door. The winery is beautiful, housed in this building:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cloudy Bay Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand

Which opens up round the back to a gorgeous green space and rows and rows of growing grapes.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cloudy Bay Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cloudy Bay Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand

At the end of the day, if you've rented bikes, you'll be picked up from whichever winery you've ended up at and dropped off back wherever you're staying. No more riding necessary (or advised, I imagine) after a full afternoon of wine 'tasting'!


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ANAKIWA, SOUTH ISLAND
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I'll be honest, it was pretty hard to tear myself away from Paddy and Flynn at the picturesque Woodside B&B, but when we arrived at our next location the view certainly made the transition easier. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Okiwa Bay Lodge, South Island, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Okiwa Bay Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

Okiwa Bay Lodge is a stunning four-bedroom property (five, if you include owners Susie and Martin's room) overlooking the incredible Anakiwa Bay. The route there, via Queen Charlotte Drive, is incredibly windy (windy as in lots of bends...not that there are strong winds), but the views along the way are quite spectacular. 



A stay here is kind of like staying with friendly relatives - if you decide to have dinner in, you'll eat at a table with Susie, Martin and whomever else decides to stay in at the lodge that evening. We didn't mind this at all, taking it for what it was and enjoying evenings sat around the table, meeting new people from all over, having entertaining conversation and sharing wine throughout. Just be aware that whereas some B&Bs are a lot more hands-off and leave you to your own devices, here things are a little more involved. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Okiwa Bay Lodge, South Island, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Okiwa Bay Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

On day one here, we headed down to the dock at Anakiwa Bay and braved the freezing cold water. I worked up the nerve to jump in for all of about ten seconds before hoisting myself out, covered in goosebumps. I must admit, it's kind of refreshing for just that one moment! We drove down to the nearest town, Havelock for lunch and coffee. There's not too much happening right in Anakiwa Bay, so Havelock is the nearest town with restaurant and cafe options.

Day two didn't quite go to plan. Originally, we'd intended to take out some kayaks around the bay, however the day began with some miserable weather and rain so instead we drove spontaneously down to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim, about an hour away. The centre features Sir Peter Jackson's own collection of WWI aircraft and is actually an experience I'd recommend even for those not totally obsessed with everything aviation (ahem, Jarv). The aircraft and their displays really are incredible, as well as the stories behind each one.



Euriental | luxury travel & style | Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | South Island, New Zealand

That about wraps up Part I of our New Zealand adventure. Stay tuned for Part II - Queenstown! The must-visit place on everyone's NZ list. Believe me...it's with good reason.


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30 comments :

  1. I just can't get enough of those honey!!! Incredibly gorge, very professional, cool and funny! Love love love!!!
    Kira xxx

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    1. Thank you my love! It took forever to get these up haha but it was worth it :)

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  2. Absolutely stunning pictures! I cannot wait until I can travel to New Zealand. It's been on my bucket list for a long time!

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    1. It was on mine, too - well worth the wait! I'm sure you'll have an amazing time when you go.

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  3. Wow, these pictures are just beautiful! NZ is my favourite country - I'd love to visit again sometime. I remember spotting dolphins when we took the ferry from North Island to South Island. Looking forward to part 2 so I can be reminded of beautiful Queenstown!

    T x

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    1. Thank you, Tara! Oh how lucky, spotting dolphins! I desperately hoped to ... maybe next time ;) Would love to hear about your own adventures there too! X

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  4. It looks like such an incredible trip, and I'd definitely have to visit Hobbiton if I ever went to New Zealand! It seems like a picture-perfect place to visit. My friend just went there and took some amazing photos, and yours are gorgeous, too!

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    1. How can you skip Hobbiton if you're a LOTR fan! It really is that - picture perfect. Thank you!

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  5. Jealous of your trip right from the flight haha! I've always dreamed of going to New Zealand!!! x

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    1. Haha thanks, Gail, it was a great one! Hope you get to visit too x

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  6. These images are FLAWLESS!!! This trip looked absolutely magical! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ruthie! It was a fantastic trip.

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  7. Really beautiful pictures! Waiting eagerly for Part II :)

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    1. Thanks, Anurag! It's up now ;)

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  8. This looks absolutely incredible! NZ is on my bucket list, for sure. Those views are unbelievable!

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    1. Oh the views...they were so breathtaking, I just couldn't capture it half as well on camera!

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  9. This is a place on my bucket list! Your pictures are incredible and I am sure it was a trip of a lifetime!
    McKenna
    stylewaltz.com

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    1. It certainly was! Hopefully you get to go on one there soon too!

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  10. Such wonderful photos and an even more nicely written post.

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  11. The Woodside house is so beautiful -- I just want to move in right now and live there forever. :) I love all of your photos and it makes me want to visit New Zealand that much more.
    erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com

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    1. Woodside...it was a dream come to life! I actually miss it as though it were home, haha. Thank you, Erin!

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  12. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Newzealand is such a beautiful destination. I am going to visit here soon. And when I do, hobbiton is definitely going to be part of the trip

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    1. Thanks, Neha! You'll have a great time exploring - everywhere you go there the landscape is just unreal.

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  13. Your pictures are amazing. Loved the adorable B&B! Definitely reminded me why New Zealand is on my bucket list seeing those views!

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    1. Thanks, Cameron! That B&B was so beautiful <3 It's absolutely a must-see destination - the landscape is quite surreal.

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  14. Wow what stunning photos!! New Zealand is definitely on my list- my grandma and my aunt went backpacking there and I always thought it looked amazing. AND while I myself am not a LOTR fan, I LOVE the hobbit houses and would still totally see that. Plus my bf is a huge fan. That plane and that winery look amazing and those views, stunning!

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    1. Oh I'm sure you'd have endless fun visiting, the wineries are indeed incredible as are all the views. There are so many places to see and activities to do that I think it'd be difficult to get bored there. Hopefully you make a trip over there soon!

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