The last of our travels through Europe! Highlights: ultimate hangs, stays and lobster eating with my sister Cydney and her boyfriend Tom (best humans possible); so, so many great galleries – especially Raven Row and White Cube; Five Guys Burgers and Fries (srsly...do it); admiring all the ladies sneakers in Pam Pam; mushroom sandwiches and tasty coffees at Broadway Market; and our night out (and all the beverages) with some new friends we met in Santorini. I must admit we were tired, running out of money and looking forward to coming home, but London was a really fun sendoff! Images taken by myself and Marcus Hollands
The first image is actually from Florence, at a lovely place we stumbled across called La Ménagére. Not enough images for a single post, because sadly our time in Florence was cut short. But oh my Positano! Driving along the Amalfi Coast had to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Taking in so much beauty and feeling nothing but pure excitement and happiness. Notables: the ultimate cliffside lifestyle, that bluey-purple hue, perfect rows of beach umbrellas, my first Negroni, pizza and cocktails on the beach, swims at dusk and dawn, all of the gelato, that family on the beach that fed us watermelon, never wanting to put the camera down because everything is so, so wonderful and never wanting to leave! Images taken by myself and Marcus Hollands.
Milan! The city I never expected to love. So much charm, and the locals are genuinely fabulous. In just two short days, I was captured by: the people and their attire, Ponkj Espresso Bar — for the espresso, pistachio croissants and excellently loud Italian music, Fondazione Prada + Cafe Luce for exceeding all expectations, marble street signs and so, so many Aperol Spritz. Above images taken by myself and Marcus Hollands.
It was our second last day, and so we drove back from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown. Feeling like humans again, we managed to explore and appreciate Arrowtown for the lovely place that it is.
Back in Queenstown, we supposed it would be wrong to leave without having Fergburger (I have never seen a burger so large in all my life.) So we sat outside under a heater while it politely snowed on us. The very last shot was from our beloved Frankton Motorcamp on the lake, the morning we left. I think it perfectly captures how we felt leaving.
This is my official goodbye to New Zealand, who has stolen a piece of my heart and scattered it across the South Island. Thanks for reading x
The next morning we went to 47Frocks, a super cool boutique where I discovered a new favourite NZ brand, kowtow. Another happy accident was finding Federal Diner down a sneaky lane. Two piccolos and an Antipodes sparkling water later, we continued on the road to Mount Cook.
After a few hours drive, we found a quaint little spot for lunch nestled between a caravan park and Lake Ruataniwha. The water and trees were such an amazing colour, and I was completely in love with the 'kindly sponsored by' waterslide and it's perfect reflection. I was also pretty darn stoked with my avocado, prosciutto, cherry tomato and goats brie baguette.
The day became moodier and moodier and by the time we were driving through Aoraki, the mountains were swimming in fog. It even snowed a little bit, which was actually lovely and made it much more glorious than I could have imagined. It was growing darker and colder, so we headed to Lake Tekapo to warm up in the hot pools.
Alas, I have encountered another few moments of time to finish my New Zealand memoir ;)
Big thanks to Elize for all her wonderful recommendations — a favourite being Peak Espresso. Such a good little spot, and the greatest coffee. I took a quick snap to remember the spot, but Elize captured it so very nicely so please have a drool at hers.
Continuing the engagement celebrations (because a mountain top champagne party followed by an extremely swanky dinner is most definitely not enough), the next day we went to Amisfield Winery for lunch. We sat outside in the glorious sunshine, and had the 'trust the chef' banquet. My oh my. Between courses, we bathed in the sunlight and took a few too many photos of each other. I hope you enjoy my casual 'oh this? this is just my brand new engagement ring' pose. Yes, we did switch chairs for this shot.
We managed to stuff ourselves right to the brim, and after a short drive to Arrowtown we couldn't muster the energy to do anything but nap under a tree. In no mood to explore the town, we decided we would continue on, and stop in on the way back when we felt a little less like grizzly bears — in all the ways imaginable. We made it to Wanaka a little before sunset, stopping briefly at the lake then heading to our campsite.
This day — Tuesday, 30 September 2014 — was by far the best. The morning started off with a lovely drive to Glenorchy. Marcus and I drove all around, stopping to make friends with a pretty white horse, trek through forests, dance in fields, and devour some wonderful sunshine. It was such a pleasant day, but we were mostly excited to get back to Queenstown and have a mountain-top picnic to celebrate three years of being together.
We got the skyline gondola up Bob's Peak, where we were hoping to find a nice spot to plant ourselves. A little disappointed with how many tourists were around, we set out on an impromptu hike through the Ben Lomond Reserve which led us up to a landing for paragliding. The views were just breathtaking (literally though — we had no water), and then we spotted a small beaten track which takes you up further.
We eventually stopped hiking, and found an epic spot to set up our picnic. Somewhere between the photo of me holding a bottle of champagne, and the photo of my ring clad finger, my best friend and love of my life asked me to marry him!
A boozy trek back down the mountain followed our sky-high celebration, all the way to Botswana Butchery to continue feasting, drinking and celebrating a thousand more years together!
We continued on from Lake Gunn to Milford Sound early in the morning, jumped on a boat and went for a cruise through the fiord, out to the Tasman Sea and back. I've heard it mostly rains out there, so we were very lucky to have such a beautiful, sunny and still day. The little town (and lots of other spots in the South Island) really remind me of Twin Peaks. Little country houses with mountains towering over them from every angle.
On our way out, we stopped to make lunch and realised we were at the base of the Routeburn track — although not the one we planned! We were supposed to do it in Glenorchy but didn't realise you could start in Fiordland National Park. The view at the peak was just amazing, a big field surrounded by delightful snow caps. I have to mention how much I love the shot of Marcus aka. Ace Ventura!
After our hike, it was time to head back to Queenstown. For some reason, the drive was so much more glorious than we remember it being on the way! Every couple of minutes we had to stop and just pinch ourselves. The mountains, the animals, the lushness, the sunset — it was all too much.
I've been sitting on this film for almost a week, and I've been just bursting to share it! I'm slowly catching up to my workload since being home, so I thought I'd spend a little time filling my blog with some much needed goodness. Here's the first roll from magical New Zealand. What a wonderful place.
When you fly into Queenstown, the flight attendants prepare for landing long before usual to ensure everyone can enjoy the glorious mountains left, right, above and below! I had heard how spectacular it is, but the feeling I got when I experienced it was just magical. I won't admit how many photos I actually took, juggling between my phone and minolta (not to mention my starry eyes). I just wanted to be out there, standing on top of a snow capped mountain, reaching for the clouds. After arriving we picked up our camper, braced the freezing cold wind and set out for a place to snack and nut out some plans.
Waking up at our campsite on the lake was crisp but lovely. We loved this place — Frankton Motor Camp — so much that we stayed here every time we were back in town. We hit the road to Milford Sound, stopping overnight in Lake Gunn. It was a rather eerie, deserted town filled with mosquitoes and run by the strangest of small town humans. Marcus made a fire and we roasted the most amazing feast of vegetables and salmon.
Yes, I kind of (definitely) went all out for Valentines this year. I prepared a tasty feast from my trusty Kinfolk Table book, and set up our rooftop as a greenhouse / restaurant / cinema / bedroom, complete with fairylight "be mine" typography. It's actually my favourite thing ever to plan surprise dates for Marcus. The last few photos are just from around the house, a sneaky GIRLS episode, the crazy sunshine that pours into our house in the afternoons, and 'Brooke's Nook' as I like to call it. Every time I walk past Brooke's room, she's styled it some different way or added 80 new plants and other cute bits. I really love this arrangement so I snapped it before she got sick of it and rearranged :)