November in New Zealand: a photo diary from my most recent trip 'home'

I’m currently going through the archives of photos and posts from New Zealand, Myanmar, London, Paris, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. I’m spending my time re-vamping these posts. Updating them and redesigning their layout with more helpful information. Thus, you may see new posts from travels past. The highlight reel I have yet to share “properly”, if you will.

All this time I’m spending scouring through the archives to update things on this space and tidy up the personal posts with passwords has given me such a warm heart. It’s allowed me to see how this blog space has changed from diary to informative content, grown from Blogspot to a functional Squarespace site, and ultimately improved in focus. This updating has also reaffirmed for me that I will never not want there to be some sort of personal touch on this space.

SO I’VE CREATED THIS LITTLE MINI-SCRAPBOOK OF PHOTOS FROM MY MOST RECENT RETURN

When people not in New Zealand heard I was returning “home” in November, they asked why I’d visit in the spring. I get it— November is a month of really hit and miss weather. If you don’t approach it like a tourist though, and instead approach it as a return home to reset and spend time with friends, then the weather doesn’t matter too much {although, clear weather for hiking is always appreciated}.

On top of coming when the tickets were relatively affordable, I also picked November to return because it fit into my upcoming travel plans, of which there are an abundance. It’s never a wrong time to go to the place your heart rests. And so, I went.

My trip might not have included a long reunion weekend at Sam’s with everyone dog-piled in the living room after river swims and fish and chips on the beach, but it was damn good, guys. Because it included time with the people who make it home. It included swim lessons with Ryan, snuggles with Indie, dancing at the Cossie Club with Emma and Amy, beers at Panhead, late night drives and even later dinners. It included Indian food {minus my wallet}, a road trip with country music blasting out the windows, walks around Lyall Bay, brunches, hiking up the Mount, trekking the Tongariro, and rosé on a sunny deck. So many new memories to keep close to my heart.

And that made it perfect.


HAMILTON

Hamilton is easy to hate. There’s not much going on outside of the cricket world, their cafes are never freelancer-friendly, and aesthetically it’s hit and miss. BUT! Staying in “the Tron” gave me a new appreciation for the little town south of Auckland. There is an artsy scene in the dodgy Eastside of the city, and the walk around the lake is relaxing. Plus, who doesn’t love watching a game of cricket on a summer’s day, amirite? I’ve got an upcoming post about the trendy East Hamilton and it’s art scene I never knew about in the works, so stay tuned!

YOU CAN READ MY CAFE GUIDE TO HAMILTON HERE.

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RAGLAN

Falafel on the beach, {brutually} honest discussions about what I disliked about my life in China, and one seriously stunning sunset made for time in Raglan that turned a regular weekday from good to great.

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MOUNT MAUNGANUI

There is nothing I love more than being out in nature with the people I care about. Nothing. And so, on a particularly sunny Sunday, Keegan, Amelia, Tash, and I headed out to “The Mount” for a hike none of use {minus Amelia} had done before. The views of the ocean were outstanding and so was the company. Coffees and brunch at The Bach cafe followed and were deserved. The banter was good and the views were even better.

You can read my guide to the Mount Maunganui hike here.

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I WAAS GOING TO THE WHOLE “FRODO LEAVING THE SHIRE” THING WITH THIS PHOTO, BUT WAS ALSO AFRAID I MIGHT ROLL MY ANKLE DOWN THIS HILL

I WAAS GOING TO THE WHOLE “FRODO LEAVING THE SHIRE” THING WITH THIS PHOTO, BUT WAS ALSO AFRAID I MIGHT ROLL MY ANKLE DOWN THIS HILL

MANAWATU + LEVIN

En route to visit Sam in Levin, I stopped on the National Park Road {I know, I know, my Google Maps screwed it all up} for some pictures of the gorge and the scenery in general. It was a misty drive and the lush mountains and hilltops looked almost eery. I dug it hard, guys.

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wellington

Wellington is always good. Even on a bad day, it’s better than most places. But, on a sunny day with very little wind outside a sea breeze…it’s true what they say, “Nothing beats Welly on a good day.” I had the chance to meet up with Sam and Ellen {and Tash was there too, but I wasn’t really meeting up with her, was I ;)} at a famous cafe for brunch {the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ate there on their recent visit}. The place was absolutely packed, and our order got forgotten about, but when it finally arrived it was delicious. I also got to stomp around the Te Papa, go for an early morning drive around Lyall Bay with banter that was as good as ever, and hit up some op-shops {secondhand stores} for an upcoming post. Zero complaints, Wellington. I will be back {soon}.

MORNING TEA BY LYALL BAY FOR LIFE CHATTS + BIG LAUGHS

MORNING TEA BY LYALL BAY FOR LIFE CHATTS + BIG LAUGHS

THE FAMOUS WRITER’S WALK IN WELLINGTON

THE FAMOUS WRITER’S WALK IN WELLINGTON

KAYAKERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A GLORIOUS DAY

KAYAKERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A GLORIOUS DAY

HUTT VALLEY

Oh, the Hutt. How familiar you are to me, aye? And yet, some things have changed and/or improved. Since January, there’s an influx of breweries in Upper Hutt, including the Panhead, which made a strange cornbread but a fantastic Feoija IPA that I lapped up. I also learned about, though missed experiencing famous rotis in Lower Hutt {what the heck Tash, I thought we were friends?!}. This trip, I also had a few late night drives that reminded me that the valley’s lights at night are well worth the insanely windy roads. And, lest we forget, I taught a bar in Petone what a Tequila Mule is {which we can all admit may be my only gift to society besides my humour, so you’re welcome world}.

Probably most importantly, I got to see Ryan’s progress in swim lessons first hand {though Snapchats have always been such a treat}, and got to see little Miss Indie dance to PoiE. Catching up with friends and family in Hutt Valley was a highlight of this trip that I’ll hold on to.

Please note: Tash and I went for a stroll in Petone at sunset and it was well worth facing my fear of fireworks being shot off randomly on the beach. 10/10 would do again.

YOU CAN FIND CUTE EATERIES IN HUTT VALLEY IN MY POST HERE.

UPPER HUTT GETTING HIPSTER AS WITH NEW BREWERIES

UPPER HUTT GETTING HIPSTER AS WITH NEW BREWERIES

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POST-SHOWER SNUGGLES AND STORIES WITH RY

POST-SHOWER SNUGGLES AND STORIES WITH RY

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NO, WE DIDN’T MATCH ON PURPOSE…BUT ALSO I WAS DRESSED FIRST SO, THERE IS A MASSIVE POSSIBILITY TASH COPIED ME SPECIFICALLY TO MATCH

NO, WE DIDN’T MATCH ON PURPOSE…BUT ALSO I WAS DRESSED FIRST SO, THERE IS A MASSIVE POSSIBILITY TASH COPIED ME SPECIFICALLY TO MATCH

AUCKLAND

While Wellington is my city of choice on the island, there is no doubt that Auckland is where most of the big things happen— concerts, sporting events, etc. It’s also typically my initial port of call in New Zealand. Auckland, like Wellington, is also riddled with {some deep} nostalgia, since it’s where I lived for nearly a year in posh Remuera. Every return to Auckland has been filled with a bevy of emotions. I’ve found myself continually connected to the city thanks to reunion dinners with Tash and Keegs out on Takapuna beach, walks along Mission Bay and Orakei Basin, midnight photo missions {check out my bro, KiwiKeegs— his photos are wild}, and mornings spent understanding life through the eyes of an eight and eleven-year-old on the jaunt to school.

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HE IS ACTUALLY OBSESSED WITH ME, IT’S WEIRD

HE IS ACTUALLY OBSESSED WITH ME, IT’S WEIRD

TRUST ME, HIS LOVE KNOW NO BOUNDS

TRUST ME, HIS LOVE KNOW NO BOUNDS

JUST KIDDING, HE HATES ME, BUT I SMOTHER HIM WITH MY AFFECTION BECAUSE AFTER 7.5 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP I HAVE NO PERSONAL BOUNDARIES

JUST KIDDING, HE HATES ME, BUT I SMOTHER HIM WITH MY AFFECTION BECAUSE AFTER 7.5 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP I HAVE NO PERSONAL BOUNDARIES

CAPTURED BY MY TALENTED FRIEND AND BROTHER, KIWIKEEGS. THIS IS PROOF I WEAR A GRAY SWEATER EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE THAT I CAN #CLASSIC

CAPTURED BY MY TALENTED FRIEND AND BROTHER, KIWIKEEGS. THIS IS PROOF I WEAR A GRAY SWEATER EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE THAT I CAN #CLASSIC

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing had been on my bucket list for ages. Finally, during this three-week November visit, I was able to tick it off and see the Emerald pools and views from the summit for myself. Tash, my best friend and longtime adventure buddy, trekked the 20 kilometer stretch with me, giving both of us Inca Trail nostalgia and more memories for the friendship bank. That same weekend, we got to spend some time with our friend from Uni, Hayley, and her partner, Nick, at a “bach” near Taupo. It was such a good weekend and exactly what I love about this country— beautiful scenery and chill time with good people.

You can read my guide to the Tongariro Crossing here.

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PHOTO CREDIT: TASH’S IPHONE

PHOTO CREDIT: TASH’S IPHONE

ANOTHER TASH CAPTURE VIA IPHONE, IN A SERIES OF PHOTOS I LIKE TO CALL “MY BEST FRIEND ONLY TAKES PHOTOS WHEN I’M STRUGGLING”

ANOTHER TASH CAPTURE VIA IPHONE, IN A SERIES OF PHOTOS I LIKE TO CALL “MY BEST FRIEND ONLY TAKES PHOTOS WHEN I’M STRUGGLING”

ALTERNATIVE TITLE FOR THE SERIES “MY BEST FRIEND IS A MONSTER AND LIKES WATCHING ME IN PHYSICAL PAIN”

ALTERNATIVE TITLE FOR THE SERIES “MY BEST FRIEND IS A MONSTER AND LIKES WATCHING ME IN PHYSICAL PAIN”

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PSST…

want to check out what i was listening to this time around in new zealand?

-peep my {eclectic af} playlist below-


Chris Stapleton- What Are You Listening To?

*Dave Dobbyn- Loyal

Talking Heads- Once in a Lifetime

Ben Howard- Depth Over Distance + Promise {are we surprised at the BH binge? no}

Chet Faker- Talk is Cheap

Jason Aldean {ft. Miranda Lambert} - Drowns the Whiskey

Paul Simon- Call Me Al

Alex Cameron- Marlon Brando {highly explicit, sorry Mom}

*Six60- Rivers + White Lines

Billy Ocean- Red Light

Paper Kites- Bloom

*Lorde- Homemade Dynamite + Perfect Places

*Gin Wigmore- Written in the Water

Striking Matches- Make a Liar Out of Me

Wheatus- Teenage Dirtbag {Ferg Hall throw back}

*The Exponents- Why Does Love Do This To Me

Khalid- Saturday Nights

Michael Bublé - It’s a Beautiful Day

Bryan Adams {ft. Mel C} - When You’re Gone

One Two- Bitter and Sick

*asterisks indicate New Zealand artists ;) *


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a photo diary of new zealand in november