Sunday, January 3, 2016


My husband had a conference in New Zealand so we decided to make the most of it and join him for a week getaway. The first couple of days we explored Wellington, then we hired a car and drove to Hawkes Bay, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Hamilton and finished up in Auckland. We did the trip over 8 days so it was pretty rushed, but we managed to squeeze lots in.

Here is a list of what we got up to while visiting New Zealand.

The city itself is very pretty and lovely to wander around. The architecture is amazing and its just a cute little city to explore.

Lots of places were booked out by the time I booked my accommodation for Wellington. But I managed to find a Premier Twin Suite available at The Bolton hotel. The hotel is a boutique hotel close to most of the attractions. It also had an apartment with two queen beds which ticked all our boxes. Having a kitchen was also an added bonus. 


Te Papa
The First day we visited Te Papa Museum in Wellington. Both the girls loved it and it was relaxing for us as well. The highlight was the Giant Squid that is on display and Ava also surprising liked the Earth Quake house simulator. She asked to go in about three times! There are lots of interactive things for kids to do and a great way to discover more about New Zealand and its culture. 

Wellington Botanic Garden
There is lots to see in the gardens. We were lucky enough to visit when all the roses were blooming in the rose garden so we spent most of our time there. Ava especially loved looking at all the different colours and varieties of rose. We even found a purple rose (her favourite colour) which I didn't even know existed. 

If you love good coffee like us Melbournians, then Memphis Belle made a great Coffee. The girls also enjoyed their Fluffies (NZ word for Babyccino). Although apparently there are lots of great places to choose from in Wellington. You can find some more here

After a long day of travel we decided to wander to find some dinner. With two tired cranky kids in toe we stumbled across the The Crab Shack.  The food was delicious and well worth the visit. I would love to go again and try some more items on their menu. They also had a great kids menu which was a bonus. 

On way to Napier we stopped for lunch in Greytown. It was a cute little town with lots of shops to wander through. We ate lunch at Food Forest Organics and it was one of the best meals from the trip.

Napier is a seaside town know for its Art Deco buildings. The town and surroundings were very pretty and the region is surrounded by wineries and lots of farms with great local produce. There are plenty of places to stop and buy fruit on the side of the road. We stocked up on lots of Strawberries, Blueberries and Cherries while we were there. The beach however looked a bit rocky and ruff for the kids so we didn't bother spending any time there.

We stayed at Navigate Seaside Accomodation. It was right on the water and some of the rooms have a lovely view of the bay. The hotel is modern and clean and we were happy with the rooms.


Ta Mata Peak
This was seriously amazing. I actually didn't know anything about the peak before driving up, so it was a nice surprise once we reached the top. Definitely worth the visit!


Hawkes Bay Farmers Market
Held every Sunday the market has stalls full of local produce. You can find anything from fresh Fruit and Vegetables as well as Cheese, Wine, Chocolate, Coffee and so on.

Silky Oak Chocolate Factory
We only stopped here quickly to grab some yummy Chocolate, but there is also a museum you can explore if you wish.

Lake Taupo is a lake side town with beautiful mountains surrounding it. Unfortunately we only had one day here. But there are lots of things to do, especially if you are into the outdoors and adventure sports. 

We stayed at The Hilton. It was one of our favourite places to stay the entire trip. We got a One bedroom king apartment. The apartment was massive and had a beautiful view of the lake. Unfortunately we didn't have time to use the pool but it looked like a great place to hangout with the kids if we had more time. 


Huka falls
The falls were seriously stunning. Not the biggest falls I have ever seen, but still worth stopping to see. There are also lots of great walks that you can go on around this area. 

We actually got groceries at PAK'nSAVE and used the kitchen in our apartment at the hotel. So unfortunately I don't have any recommendations for places to eat.

Rotorua is know for its geothermal activity and its Maori culture. However, like lots of New Zealand there is also heaps adventure activities to do like Zorbing, adventure parks and a Skyline Gondola. If we had more time we would have explored a little more.

We stayed at Regent of Rotorua Botique Hotel & Spa. This was in town  and close to everything. The rooms were nice and clean and Ava loved the pool and Thermal spa. 

Because we only had one day we decided to go to Te Puia. Te Puia is home to Maori arts and crafts institute and the famous Pohutu Geyser. We also purchased tickets to watch a Maori show and the girls really loved it.

NOTE: I actually wish we went to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland as well. It looked like it had more to see than Te Puia. But we will have to save that for next time. 

Our hotel was right down the Street from Eat Street where there are lots of restaurants to choose from.

We picked Hamilton as a half way point between Rotorua and Auckland. We also really wanted to go to Waitomo Glowworm Caves which are an hour drive from Hamilton. Although we didn't have time I have heard the Botanical Gardens in Hamilton are really nice as well.


We stayed at the Novotel Hamilton Tainui. The Room was simple and clean. Nothing fancy but good for one nights stay.


The Waitomo Caves have several tour options with different activities to do there. We picked the Glowworm cave tour and it was the highlight of our trip. Firstly we got a tour of the caves and then we hopped on a boat and got to see the beautiful glowworms. It was seriously amazing and well worth the visit.

We ate at the hotel which was fine, nothing exciting really. They did have a good kids menu and a children's play area in the restaurant which was nice.

I am going to be brief with the Auckland part of the trip because we were only there for one night before our flight home.

Skycity is a Casino in Auckland and we stayed in the hotel part of the Casino. Skycity Grand Hotel
was actually a really nice hotel and we especially loved their in room breakfast. The hotel itself is right in the centre of Auckland which is far away from the Airport, but we wanted to see a little bit of Auckland so picked this hotel.

We didn't have time to do much during our stay so we just wandered through the city. 

We ate at Jade Dragon ExpressWe didn't feel like venturing to far from the hotel for dinner so we ate at a restaurant in the hotel. The food was nice and was family friendly. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


It is not very often that I come across a home that I wouldn't change something about it. Even if it is just something like the paint colour. But this home designed by Christian Rice is seriously my dream home. There is nothing I would change. I am very much a neutral girl so as you can imagine I am a massive fan of white simple interiors. I love the mixture of traditional features that give the house character. But it also has modern elements that make the space functional, like these amazing sliding doors out to the backyard.

Who doesn't love a backyard with a pool and a great space for entertaining. I can imagine spending summer nights out here relaxing.

The front porch is so adorable with the swing chair and rocking chairs. To me that makes for a perfect family home.

Ahhh I this entry way is so massive and the styling of the entry table is classic and simple. Check check!

The living area is open plan but still cozy and inviting. I love rooms that look good and are also functional family spaces. There is lots of natural light that comes into this space from all angles. With all those windows you would almost feel like you are connected to the outside space all year round.

This kitchen is my all time favorite. It is exactly what I would want in my home. Transitional kitchens are something that I normally gravitate towards and this one is done perfectly. Those Jeffery Alan Marks stools are also amazing.

This home is so massive it has two office type spaces, which is perfect for a his and her space. Every room in this home is so functional too. How nice would it be to open up your office to the backyard.

The master bedroom has its own space upstairs. Almost like a parents retreat. Who wouldn't want to sit here with a glass of wine and a favorite book at the end of the day.

The bedroom is so simple and serene. The high ceilings make the space feel open and I also love how light filled it is.

Last but not least, this cinema room/wine cellar is like the icing on the cake. You can check out more of Christian's portfolio here.

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