New Zealand Photo Diary
Hello, August! Can not believe that we’re more than halfway through the year! It feels as if it was only yesterday I celebrated the New Year at Waimanalo Beach on a swing and here we are, with about 5 months left in the year. Speaking of, I can not believe it’s been almost 3 months since my brother and I were in New Zealand (and I still have yet to share some LA photos, and not the most recent one, the one in April!). New Zealand is still fresh in my mind as LA was: the crisp, cool air, feijoa smoothies, Sky Tower, and mochaccinos. New Zealand was beautiful in so many ways and I’m so happy that I’ve captured photos the way that I did.
Views from Sky Tower and the view of Sky Tower from Ponsonby
Feijoa smoothies are delicious: it’s both creamy and tart
Beautiful proteas in Ponsonby
Hotel room and view from Barclay Suites
Auckland Art Gallery
Kris at Auckland Art Gallery and King Salmon from Best Ugly Bagels
Quick stop at Gather N Feast on our way to Whangarei
Sunset view from Mount Eden (which changed colors as the sun was setting)
Dinner at Scarecrow
Blooms at Scarecrow
The last few days have been spent wanderlust-ing and looking at travel photos for inspiration. My current lust: Hong Kong. Something about the tall skyscrapers condensed in such a small area and the food is making me want to catch the next flight there but of course, that’s not feasible. September seems to be the perfect time to visit so here’s hoping Charles and I can make it happen next month! Hope you guys had a great weekend! It was Charles’ birthday on Friday and we spent all weekend at grocery stores (his favorite thing to do haha) and staying at home. He was perfectly content with that (he detest spending money on going out to eat, even on his birthday). We did eat at a Korean BBQ restaurant on Friday but he wasn’t impressed. He’s hard to impressed these days!
August seems to be a busy month for us so I’m excited to see where it will take us! Have a great week friends!
Auckland Domain’s Wintergarden is probably one of the many magical places I’ve seen in New Zealand. The excitement that filled me as my brother and I walked into the Wintergarden is the excitement I get whenever I see something for the first time that I have dreamt of visiting for awhile. Before coming to New Zealand, it was imperative that I visit the Wintergarden. My fondness for flowers drove me here and it is, without a doubt, a place I will be making a visit time and time again.
The Wintergarden, located inside of Auckland Domain, has two different gardens. The first garden is heated to house tropical plants and flowers such as hibiscus and orchids: floral and foliage which I typically see here in Hawaii. The second garden was my favorite, full of blooms in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The flowers that filled this garden was somewhat iridescent; changing colors from all angles due to the light filled room that allowed the sun’s rays through the expansive windows. When the sun was not hiding behind clouds, it lit up the greenhouse with perfect lighting that seasoned photographer’s sought after. Nothing like a light-filled room to fancy my creative side. I gasped as I turned every corner, in awe of the perfectly-shaped chrysanthemums in every corner. I quickly texted Charles a photo of the beautiful gardens, insisting that he takes me here when we both go to New Zealand. The Wintergarden, is and will probably be my favorite spot in Auckland.
Because my brother and I ended up here on the day of our flight, we didn’t get the chance to stroll through the Auckland Domain. I highly recommend it though since there is so much that one can do here along with the Wintergarden.
I won’t be blogging on Wednesday as I will be out of town but I’ll see you guys on Friday! Happy Monday everyone!
Giapo // Yelp
279 Queen St
Oh my indulgent. If you love sweets, you get your money’s worth with these decadent ice creams my brother and I devoured in Auckland. Tucked in between tall buildings and on one of Auckland’s busy street, Queen Street, Giapo is an ice cream paradise for those who seek more than just the basic cone and ice cream scoop on top. These fancy ice creams will set you back about $15 (US dollars) but I wasn’t lying when I said you get your money’s worth with these sweet indulgence. I ordered the Giapo Buono with a deluxe cone: a beautiful cone dipped in white chocolate and decorated with freeze dried blueberries which were carefully placed on the cone to mimic polka dots. To be honest, I don’t quite remember what was in it but it was sweet! The next time I’m at Giapo, I’d go sans deluxe cone but maybe not for photography purposes. Isn’t it Instagram worthy? Happy Wednesday friends!
Whangarei was a spur-in-the-moment kind of decision. My brother and I ended up in New Zealand during some unpleasant weather (but nothing to complain about, it was beautiful nonetheless) and I had plans to head down South towards Waitomo for some hiking and glowworms BUT it was raining on that side of the island so I researched the night before on places with much pleasant weather. Turns out, up north is where the sun was shining so we left early in the morning (after stopping by their local grocery store, Countdown) and headed up North on the winding roads through green hills and pampas grass that extended as far as the eyes can see. Anyway, here are some shots from the day we went up to Whangarei.
I’d be lying if I said this waterfall was inaccessible! Not even kidding, to the left of this waterfall was the parking lot. You have to go down stairs to reach the waterfalls but it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes max if you’re in decent shape. The waterfall was beautiful! If you’re ever in Whangarei, I highly suggest visiting the falls.
While heading towards the falls, I saw a sign for a cave. I kept the cave in mind and googled the caves after the visit at the waterfalls. It was on the way back to Auckland and I read through reviews that there were glowworms! Before coming to New Zealand, I have been dreaming of the glowworm cave in Waitomo. Because of time constraints and the weather, we couldn’t make it there so when I found out this cave had it, I knew we had to go. Note: I won’t be disclosing the cave’s name only because it’s an “Enter at your own risk” kind of cave. You know, liabilities issues haha.
Here’s the story: there’s a road that leads to the cave off the main highway. The road was narrow, there were lush hills and acres upon acres of farms on both sides of the road. Cows and sheep dotted the landscapes (by the way, there are more sheep than people in New Zealand). It was a sight to see for sure! The road narrowed then turned into gravel with sheer drops off the side of the road. My heart stopped a few times during the 7 mile (or was it kilometer?) stretch of gravel roads. It’s comparable to Maui’s Road to Hana in my opinion. When we finally made it to the caves, there were several cars there. The vibes were unreal. I felt like I was in a different world, time, and space. The caves were in front of us and we decided to head in. As soon as we were in the cave, I fell and ate it. Because of how dark the cave was, my brother and I retreated back out of of the cave and searched for a new entrance to the cave while coming up with a new plan. We finally decided to use our phones as a flashlight until we were deep into the cave. We met with a group who told us to keep going. We then crossed a stream and we looked up. We saw little tiny glowworms glowing across the ceiling. It wasn’t nearly as awesome as the Waitomo cave but it was cool nonetheless.
The road to Whangarei wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. My anxiety was high coupled with the fact that my brother opted for a manual car but that subsided only because of the back roads we had to take were not nearly as bad as the main highway. Those back roads were no joke; especially the roads to the caves (refer to the image above).
- If you plan on driving in New Zealand, you may already know that it’s different than in the US. The steering wheel is on the right side and they drive on the opposite side of the road. What we also didn’t know was the blinkers and the windshield wipers were switched. There’s a lot of roundabouts but the driving isn’t too crazy. My brother opted to drive stick and I’m not sure if any of my readers drive stick but he was able to pick it up well (after a few hiccups with the blinkers and wipers being switched).
- Be prepared for delays. Heading up North, there’s not too many roads to get there. On our way back, there was an accident on the road we were on and we had to take a detour. That detour took about an hour so prepare yourself for delays.
- I highly recommend getting a GPS with your car rental! Beforehand, we were planning on using the internet from our pocket wifi to access maps but since our internet wasn’t unlimited, the GPS saved us from using up our data.
Whangarei was an absolutely beautiful coastal town. I enjoyed our time there and wished we were there longer to explore (especially to eat). I’d also like to hike there the next time I’m in Whangarei! Happy First Day of Summer friends! Enjoy the week.
Shed 3D, City Works Depot
90 Wellesley St West
Auckland CBD, 1010
The day after my brother and I arrived in Auckland, we decided to stay in Central Business District to get to know Auckland better. From Ortolana to checking out the Auckland Art Gallery (more on that on another post), Auckland had a lot to offer! We ended up taking breaks in between so we didn’t burn ourselves out (which happens more than I would like to admit). After taking a nap in the hotel room, I found Brothers Beer through Yelp and decided that we would head out there for lunch.
Just a short walk from our hotel room, we ended up at Brothers Beer which is located in an area that was reminiscent of The Lab or The Camp in Costa Mesa. Brothers Beer is located in the City Works Depot, an industrial space in Auckland full of restaurants, a salon, and shops. Highly recommend a stop at City Works Depot if you enjoy The Lab and if you’re in Auckland.
If you love beer, you’ll love Brothers Beer. They have beers (both on tap and in bottles) stocked from all over the world. I’m not too big on beers (actually I detest beer) so I drank wine. My brother had beer and we also ordered pizza and buffalo wings. The pizza was yummy but if you like it saucy (as Charles would have), this might not be for you. The buffalo wings was coated in a dry rub instead of the ones I’m familiar with. If I had to pick, I would go pizza all the way.
And can we talk about the interior?! I mean, Auckland has been killing it with their interior game. I have been so impressed (I mean, check out Ortolana and Oaken if you have the time). My inspiration for my future home will be all things Auckland.
Overall, I would go back to Brothers Beer with Charles so he can enjoy some beers and relax. Afterwards, I want to take the time to stroll the entire City Works Depot. Hope you guys are enjoying your week so far!