Over the weekend I paid a much (much much) needed visit to Christchurch; a city that may sound familiar if you’re a long time reader (I lived there before relocating to Wellington). I had massive aspirations – filming a video, writing a Christchurch city guide, but instead opted for some old fashion quality time with close friends and family.
One of the highlights of my trip (besides seeing my wonderful Nana and my boyfriend’s dogs ♥ ) was getting to experience Autumn; a season that is fairly non-existent when you live in the CBD. I couldn’t get enough of the acorns, leaves underfoot, and of course the beautiful shades of orange and yellow that were absolutely everywhere. There is nothing quite so satisfying as the crunch from a perfect Autumn leaf – and you know I deliberately changed my path to step on them!
Ah, the very last of my Auckland posts. It took slightly longer than expected to put this together – and I certainly hope that you enjoy it! As a grand finale, this is a round-up of all of my favourite things to do in Auckland! So if you’ve booked in a trip, or are already planning a visit, these are some places I make sure to pop by whenever I’m in town. I’d love to hear your recommendations too; so please leave a comment if there is an absolute must-go place, and I’ll do my best to arrange it during my next trip!
WHERE TO EAT
Mexicali / 137 Quay Street, Auckland
We are big Mexican food enthusiasts in our household! Whenever we go to Auckland, our very first stop is Mexicali. I usually opt for a good ol’ burrito (“extra guacamole, please!”) but this time around went for a taco salad – where I got to eat the actual bowl! Have you ever seen the Simpsons episode where Homer has a nacho hat that he gets to eat? Well that’s totally what I felt like – though I managed to resist the urge of placing the taco bowl on my head (and for that my hair is eternally grateful). Back to the food though, Mexicali is delicious, and with $12 a burrito, pretty standard by New Zealand prices. Oh, and it’s right next to the wharf, so you get to watch boats while you eat.
Velvet Burger / 18 Fort Street, Auckland
Before our visit, I made darn sure to do my burger research (a must of any trip). There are zillions of amazing places about, but as a vegetarian – or more particularly, a vegetarian that doesn’t like tofu or mushrooms very much, your options get narrowed down awfully quickly. On a rainy day, just as the hangover was beginning to strike, we arrived at Velvet Burger. Me & my guy, Barnaby both opted for a Animal Rights burger (pictured above) – complete with a kumara & coriander patty, velvet relish, and a minty yoghurt sauce. This was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Ever. And I eat a lot of burgers (vegetarian, of course).
Sals Pizza / 183 K Road, Auckland
…because who doesn’t love pizza?! And did I mention it’s New York pizza style – aka. massive! We always make sure to pop into Sals – and luckily there are branches all over Auckland! You can buy by the slice (we did) or opt for a full size pizza pie. Either way, Sals is delicious!
WHERE TO SHOP
Iko Iko / 195 Karahange Road, Auckland
I give a far more detailed description of my retail choices in my where to shop in Auckland blog post, however, I couldn’t help but include my beloved Iko Iko in this post too! Iko Iko is my favourite shop, and it’s really not surprising as it’s home to some of the cutest (and weirdest!) knick knacks and accessories. Every time I emerge from this shop I always end up with a souvenir – including this trip in to take photos! If you’re not planning on visiting New Zealand any time soon, you should totally check out their online store. I love Iko Iko!
WHERE TO DRINK
Hula Hut / Cnr Hobson & Quay Street, Viaduct, Auckland
To say that I don’t drink is basically the understatement of the year. My drinking life is fairly non-existant – although when I’m on holiday I always seem to make an exception. I’m really not into crowds, so the quiet little Hula Hut was completely perfect. We sat harbourside, watching yachts as they docked, and felt the fresh sea air on our faces. Oh, and did I mention that the entire floor was covered in Astroturf?! I’m kind of obsessed with the stuff (and have long dreamed of covering our balcony in it!) so I was rather impressed. And lemmie tell you; those Sol beers were bloomin’ amazing, especially as the weather was peaking at 28 degrees! Eep!
WHAT TO DO
Sky Tower / Cnr Victoria & Federal Streets, Auckland
It’s impossible to visit Auckland without at least catching a glimpse of it’s massive landmark; the Sky Tower. The tallest building in New Zealand, and one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere for that matter, the Sky Tower offers the most breathtaking views of the city. We didn’t make it up this time around, but we certainly did a couple of years ago, which you can see in this post. And if you’re a thrill seeking individual (I’m totally not) you can leap off the side of it – at a whopping 328 metres!
Auckland Zoo / Motions Road, Auckland
You might have seen my earlier post about Auckland Zoo. There was absolutely no way it wasn’t going to appear on this list – it was one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to! About ten minutes out of the CBD, this picturesque spot is home to New Zealand’s only elephant (…but not for long!) and my favourite of all – flamingoes. This is without a doubt the best zoo in New Zealand – and so so so recommended!
One of my favourite days in Auckland was when we visited the zoo! I really don’t know Auckland terribly well, and despite visiting almost 10 times (!) I rarely leave the CBD.. So I was massively excited as we looked out the windows of our Uber ride and spotted Auckland zoo fast approaching! It’s pretty clear that the flamingoes were my favourite (just look at them!!) but the elephant (Burma, the only elephant in New Zealand) was incredible too – & we arrived just in time to hear the zookeepers telling us all about her. It was amazing ♥.
It literally was the perfect day – and just as we left it started to rain – making it feel all the more special. I definitely recommend this place if you happen to pop into Auckland! It is by far the best zoo in New Zealand – and so beautiful too!
Before heading out to dinner (burgers for the win!) we had an enormous attempt at stalking a stunning building that I had been eyeing up from our hotel. Picture ivy covered, picture old brick.. Gosh it was a beauty! And do you know what? We couldn’t find it!! Phones clutched in hand, staring at Google earth, we were sure there was no way we’d miss it.. But somehow it just wasn’t meant to be! So was a relief when we finally made our way onto this equally beautiful palm tree lined street. And it honestly felt like it was meant to be – as I was clad in my finest leopard print – making me feel like some sort of urban Jane-from-Tarzan (never a bad thing, let me tell you!)
I’m hoping to put together a city guide or two on the places I’ve visited – so thought I’d start by a little guide to Auckland shops! My absolute favourite place to shop in Auckland is Karangahape Road – More commonly known as K Road. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into new or vintage – this place genuinely has something for everyone (even an electronic music shop, which kept my guy, Barnaby very entertained!) You can duck in for a slice or two of New York style pizza pie from Sal’s Pizza (which I totally did!) to keep your hungry tummy a-going, while making your way from one vintage boutique to another, or pick up cute homeware at just one of many stores. Here’s a little list of where to shop in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Bread & Butter Letter / 225 K Road, Auckland
I recognised this shop from a Frankie Magaine feature a few years ago as soon as we set foot inside (I even asked the manager, and was proven right!) This shop is filled to the brim with the cutest knick-nacks and vintage clothing (always a plus in my book). I was giggling at the ‘poos and wees’ wall hanging (very mature, Jo), and the collection of mugs had me at hello. This beautiful and refreshing store is definitely one to visit, and even more so when you find out that the shop is owned by real-life friends, Rosie & Sarah, and that everything stocked is locally made and independently owned.I’m already eyeing up a piece or two from their online store, and am particularly smitten with their dreamy embroidery.
Monster Threads / 161 K Road, Auckland
Aside from being in a massive, massive space adorned with some of the coolest art around, Monster Threads has the best collection of wooden jewellery I’ve seen in quite some time! It’s no secret that I’m pretty keen on my novelty gear, and when you spot deer-shaped wine holders, or tartan bear picnic blankets amongst the shelves, it’s a pretty good indicator of an awesome place to spend my money!
Viven No 8 / 183 K Road, Auckland
When a vintage store has a row dedicated to sparkles n’ sequins, you know it’s gonna be a good ‘un. The other great thing is that the men’s selection is absolutely massive. Lots of my guy friends complain about how difficult it is for them to buy vintage, and how easy us ladies have it. It’s definitely not the case here, as there are rows and rows of really neat men’s clothing! The women’s collection is neat too – with 50’s dresses, retro jumpsuits and cowboy boots crammed into the mix.
Iko Iko / 195 K Road, Auckland
If you know me in real-life then there’s no doubt you would’ve heard me talk about my favourite shop (ever!) – Iko Iko. Luckily they have two branches in Wellington (and one is super close to where I live! Score!) and I couldn’t help but pay a visit to the Auckland branch. There’s no way this couldn’t be on my list – it is packed to the brim with the cutest homeware and gifts you’ve ever seen! For someone who loves bright colours – it is impossible not to fall in love everytime you look around. Oh, and I am obsessed with the lawn flamingoes. Can I have a lawn too, please?
Karen Walker / The Pavilions, Britomart, Auckland
I couldn’t leave out my beloved Karen Walker now, could I? Set in the picturesque Britomart, this ivy-covered wooden store houses clothing (and glasses!) that are even cuter than it’s exterior. I’ll admit, I was way too frightened (and distracted) to bust out my massive camera during my visit, but this is definitely somewhere you can’t leave off your list. Plus, there is even an American-style burger bar practically opposite ; )
The last few days I’ve been up in Auckland, New Zealand, for the Drake & 2 Chainz concert (I adore rap music, if you didn’t know!) I’m not used to such a busy city – and was feeling well and truly worn out after a solid four days of big city life. This was my favourite day, as me & my fella, Barnaby ended up buying sandwiches and orange juice from the supermarket and having a picnic-of-sorts in the Auckland Botanical Gardens. We found heaps of acorns on the ground (the first sign of Autumn, eek!) and I loved how they looked as I threw them through the air, while wearing my dreamy (x10000) fox print dress by Bernie Dexter! Oh, and we even went for a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum. It was an epic day!
…Though I think my very favourite part was finding cicada exoskeletons and creeping Barnaby out with them! (My ‘girlfriend points’ might have gone down, ever so slightly!)
Growing up in South-East Asia meant long-haul flights back to New Zealand were a pretty standard part of my childhood. I’m by no means an expert on packing, but I definitely have figured out what I’d consider my essentials. It certainly comes in handy when I leave my packing till the very last minute – which really does happen more than it should (whoops!)
After my recent trip to Las Vegas, I made a list of what I knew I’d need for the gruelling 24 hours of travelling. Luckily my mum was visiting at the time and helped to fund some of the purchases (thanks Moo-ma!) Sometimes I find it a bit overwhelming when I need to pack for a trip, so if you’re the same then hopefully one or two of my favourites manage to jog your memory for your next vacation!
Lookin’ good, feelin’ great
You can probably tell from the condition of my lipstick – that clearly it has travelled with me on one or two overseas trips ; ) Red lippy is one of my beauty must-haves when I travel. Getting off a long plane ride, I’m hot, sweaty, and looking worse than I’d like to for my first time in a new city. A quick swipe of scarlet lipstick, and I feel like a billion bucks. And the Cath Kidston tissues? For when I inevitably make a mistake applying my lipstick, course.
Now, how could I travel without my beloved Ray Bans?! Seriously though, I’d probably be walking onto the wrong plane, my eyesight is so terrible! Any dedicated contact lens wearer knows that wearing them on a long-haul flight is the ultimate no-no. I always reach for my beloved spectacles (model RB5226) from SmartBuyGlasses. They are the first pair of glasses that don’t make me feel like hiding behind my hands – I actually like how I look in them! A bit of a big deal for this gal who usually tranforms into a bit of a wallflower when wearing specs.
And as for the Instax? I ALWAYS take it with me when I travel. I feel like if I don’t, I’ll bump into someone famous and my phone’s camera will stop working or something. You know what they say, kids: be prepared!
I’d always thought that people who used neck pillows were a certain kind of person.. not a good kind of person… and then I tried one, and boom, my life is changed forever. Seriously, it makes SUCH a difference having a little bit of neck support on a big flight. I usually find it really hard to sleep on planes, but had no trouble catching a ZZZ or two with the help of my neck pillow. This one is from Typo!
My number one issue with long flights is my skin. It’s quite sensitive to begin with, and spending a few hours in an aeroplane cabin makes it even more so! I used to be completely reliant on whatever they had on the plane, but after realizing that hey, you’re not always going to be given free moisturiser and a warm towel, I decided to invest in my own; travel-sized of course! These facial cleaning wipes pretty much saved my skin, making me grateful I remembered to buy them last minute at the airport! The moisturiser is by Trilogy and sinks right into your skin. I’ve been using this one lately every night before bed.
My very favourite travel purchase of all was this fox mask from Typo. There’s nothing creepier than people watching you sleep, so I always feel a whole lot better with a sleep mask planted over my face. Hey, I might be snoring or dribbling, but you can’t see my eyes, so you don’t know who I am right? ; )
Oh hey! It’s just me, hanging out on South Las Vegas Boulevard, dressed like a watermelon. Cue: “I been dranking watermelon...” I’m well aware that my fruit obsession is getting out of hand, but this really was the perfect Vegas dress (aka. there were a lot of breathing holes. That town is hot!)
These photos were snapped right outside our hotel, looking at my very favourite casino – New York, New York. Do you see that enormous roller-coaster? I know what you’re thinking, and yes – we went on it! I am horrendous when it comes to heights, but in the midst of a YOLO moment, we hopped on and screamed ourselves silly. It’s unreal how much I was shaking afterwards. And food was definitely off the cards for more than a few hours.
Strangely enough.. these are the last of my photographs from Las Vegas! I can’t believe it’s been so long already, but it’s definitely given me the travel bug. I’m working at the moment on a photo album from our time away, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Don’t ‘stay tuned’ though. I think it’s gonna take a while!
Now, one of the great bits about visiting Las Vegas is that I literally feel like I’ve been everywhere. Eiffel Tower? Yep, seen it. New York? Been there! And now Venice is another I can tick off my list… Well, sort of! It genuinely felt like being in Italy as I perched on the railing of the bridges, watching the gondolas lazily cruise by…
I followed basic blogger 101 and made sure my outfit matched my location. I did a little bit of research on the building and knew (aka: hoped like mad!) that my rainy day clutch would perfectly match the cloud ceilings. As for the co-ord, what can I say? Missguided totally nailed it! I was strollin’ around those casinos feeling like I was straight out of Clueless. “I’m so fancy, you should already know…“
Let’s be honest: one of the very best bits of travelling, namely, to hot place, is getting to go for a good ol’ swim. After growing up in South-East Asia I’m very particular (aka fussy!) about my swimming water. I love swimming, but basically avoid it in New Zealand because it’s just too dang cold! Swimming was on the very top of my list of things to do in Las Vegas, and let me tell you, it definitely did not disappoint.
After packing a whopping 5 swimswuits in my bag, I ended up wearing just this one. The high waist bottoms are by ASOS and reminded me so much of Robin Thicke’s infamous Miley Cyrus duet – cue lots of “girl, give it to me!” impressions at the pool (sorry, bystanders!) Really though, swimming in our hotel pool was one of my favourite experiences. We laid back in the spa, Corona in hand, and watched a real-life hummingbird gather nectar from the surrounding flowers. Paradise? Well, it was pretty darn close! ♥