I ❤️ Lupin Season

Ah, lupin season. The best time of the year.

The symbol that summer is coming to the South Island of New Zealand and the thing that makes an already epic road trip even more spectacular.

Surprisingly, this weed is not a native to New Zealand but rather was spread around by early settlers.

None the less, these colourful beauties make for the perfect photo shoot location.

Who would have ever thought weeds could be so pretty and so much fun!


Checking out Cathedral Cove

That Wanaka Tree, Mitre Peak, Cathedral Cove….there are a handful of must-see spots in NZ that are just too perfect to be real.

In a country where around every corner is another jaw dropping natural phenomenon, the list of ultimate NZ landmarks is a tough one to conquer. By after two and a half years of exploring these magical islands, I have finally gotten to check off the #1 location on this list: Cathedral Cove!

Tucked away in the Coromandel, Cathedral Cove is every photographers dream to visit (slash, should be everyone’s dream photographer or not!).

A 45 minute trek through lush green cliffs full of flowers that match every colour of the rainbow will bring you to a secluded cove that just doesn’t make sense.

A perfectly arched cove that frames the random large rocks lining the beach leaves me lost for words while going snap crazy with my camera.

Photos don’t do this place justice, but should help prove my point that Cathedral Cove should be at the top of your NZ bucket list!

The last 3 months of adventure

Well, Panama Pancakes is coming back to life after a 3 months hiatus!

It’s been a pretty crazy 3 months, full of change, growth and most importantly, travel.

While I still dream and plan of more international journeys (ie: South Africa, Tonga, Japan and Antarctica are at the top of the list!) I’ve spent the last 3 months getting to explore the country I currently call home: New Zealand.

Who would believe that in just two tiny islands at the bottom of the world, you can experience a winter wonderland full of glaciers and back country mountains and ALSO tropical island beauty full of colourful sunrises, waterfalls and surfing!


This classic gem never ceases to amaze.

At sunrise the frosty lake has steam rolling off the water with snow capped mountains in the distance. And then there’s that cute little church that is too picture perfect.

But Tekapo is so much more than a church by a lake. The back country of Tekapo is full of untouched snow, fluffy sheep and too many picture perfect moments.

And then as soon as the sun goes down, the Mackenzie sky twinkles with more stars than you could ever imagine.

Mt Cook

Rain or shine, Mt Cook never ceases to disappoint!

As exciting as it was to see the peak of Mt Cook come out in all its glory for a few minutes before the storm, there was something so magical about walking the Hooker Valley Track with snowflakes all around a frozen glacier lake to enjoy (and of course taste an ice cube or two!)


And then there’s the tropical side of New Zealand. Tauranga may very well be one of my favourite places in all of New Zealand. With a Mount that’s perfect for sunrise viewing, endless surf spots and that warm breezy air it’s no surprise I keep coming back!

And, to top it all off, I discovered on my most recent trip they have Smore donuts! I may have died and gone to heaven…..


Just under a two hour drive from Tauranga is the natural thermal wonderland of Rotorua.

This is a place where neon green, orange and pink lakes exist and the only place I could spend a whole day despite the rotten egg smell.

My own backyard!

The older I get the quicker I’m learning that you don’t have to go further than your own backyard to have an adventure. Sometimes even just moving to the other side of town is an adventure on its own!

Recent life events have brought this wanna be mermaid to living right on the beach and I couldn’t happier. Pretty sunrises, breathtaking views and ocean breeze are all at my door step.

But it’s not just these luxuries that have made moving to a new neighbourhood so fun. It’s the little things that have really excited me—like being able to walk to the grocery store, smelling the amazing bakery around the corner from me, a dairy with peanut butter ice cream (hard to come by in NZ!) now only a stones throw away. And yes, 100% of those items revolve around food!!!

With the days getting longer and the sun shining brighter, summer is just around the corner! And while the combo of Santa Clause ok a surfboard is not quite the Christmas I am used to (nor ever will be!) that in itself will be another adventure 🙂


Dear Christchurch, I love you (but I hate you)

It has been two years since I have made you my new home. Two years of adventure, excitement, beauty, disappointment,  frustration and challenge.


We’ve developed a  tug-of-war relationship with each other, but neither of us seem to be budging. I’ve got to the point where I seem to say “gosh I just love you so much” and “oh my god I hate you!” within the same hour, on a daily basis.

Christchurch, I love you because you’re naturally beautiful. Your combination of coastlines and mountains is a defining quality of yours. I love starting my day at sunrise along the waterfront and watching the sun glisten on the waves and the clouds transform to radiant pink and orange hues.  I love walking through the Port Hills and seeing your unique blue waters contrast against the rolling green hills with a layer of snow-capped mountains in the distance.


But I hate how you make me fight through the elements to enjoy you. Your howling southerly winds make me freeze from the inside out, even on the sunniest of days. And when you do allow the sun to come out without the southerly, you provide minimal protection from the intense rays that cause me heat stroke in under ten minutes. You often make those romantic walks on the beach near impossible!


Christchurch, I love you because you are a foodie’s dream. There aren’t enough weekends in the year to test out all of your one-of-a-kind cafes. You have perfected the art of eggs benny and your coffee scene is pretty darn perfect.  And the fusion restaurant selection is one that could give NYC a run for it’s money.  Plus, speaking on behalf of the smaller group of vegetarians, your countless farmer’s markets with weekly fresh and organic produce absolutely warms my heart.


But I hate you because you are so damn expensive. You tempt me with extra large and plump avocado’s but want me to pay a fortune to enjoy one. You get me addicted to your delicious barista services and have made me a coffee snob for life. Before I met you I had never craved a cuppa in my life and now I fear leaving you because I know that no one else does it like you!


Christchurch, I love you because you are so resilient. You have been through enough hardships to last a lifetime but you don’t give up. You are on a mission to be the most modern city in the world (despite Mother Nature continually trying to stop you), and I admire you for that. You have a vision and you’re sticking to it!


But I hate you because you are testing my patience! I know good things take time, but it is agonizing driving through your CBD and still dodging orange cones left and right, driving past earthquake damaged buildings that are still in ruins and having to park in  what feels like ground zero.


Christchurch, I love you because you offer big city opportunities and small town living. You make countless career dreams come true and offer the support we all need to succeed.  And you also make it possible to own your own slice of this paradise and not have to be wealthy to be in your property game.


But I hate you because you are so unpredictable! I am not a fan of your earthquakes. They always happen out of no where and take my breath away. And then just when I get used to them, they go away. So I’m forced to live on edge and try to anticipate your next big shake. And it’s a never ending cycle that I don’t think you’re going to break anytime soon.


Sometimes I just want to give up on you. Those blasted southerlies, overpriced avocados, inconveniently placed orange road cones and unnecessary quakes can send me into a state of rage. I want you to change and to make my life easier.

But then again, nothing that is great is ever easy. Those seconds of rage are quickly replaced with an overwhelming and lasting feeling of loyalty and love.


I will be the first to come to your protection when outsiders bad mouth you. Only I am allowed to say I hate you! Because those outsiders don’t really understands just how great you are.

You are one of a kind, and even though I don’t admit it nearly enough, I do appreciate everything about you–the good, the bad, the inconvenient and the scary.

Christchurch, I love you.  Cheers to two years with you. And cheers to many more to come.



Rugged coastline, majestic waterfalls and empty roads. Need I say more?

With places like Milford Sound, Queenstown and Tekapo on tourist’s radar during their visit to New Zealand, the Catlins seems to have gotten pushed down to the bottom of most people’s travel itineraries, if even making an appearance on there at all.


The Catlins is one of those off the beaten track places that is so “off-track” the majority of the area doesn’t even have paved roads! But the beauty of this region is that whether you choose to explore inland our coastal–it will feel as if you are one of the first people to ever discover it and 9 times out of 10, you won’t have to share the views with anyone but your own travel companions!


Still not sold that the Catlins would be worth swapping in for a visit to the famous Queenstown or Tekapo? Think again…..

1. Nugget Point:


These cute little nuggets that are perfectly in line with the Nugget Point Lighthouse are just so stinkin’ perfect! And even on a cloudy day, they seem to glisten among the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.


The walk to reach the ultimate viewpoint of these nuggets is about 15 minutes and I would bet a million bucks on the fact that this will definitely make the top of your list of scenic places you will see in New Zealand.

2. Pūrākaunui Falls:


I personally am a sucker for waterfalls (because who isn’t?!) and this one is quite special. While it’s size is not of the grandeur of other waterfalls I have seen, this particular casading waterfall makes for some really pretty photos and really special memories.

Plus, it’s an easy waterfall to squeeze in to the road trip through the Catlins as it is under a 10 minute walk to reach. But if you’re anything like me–you’ll be running to it the entire time.

3. Tunnel Beach: 


Okay, this isn’t technically in the Catlins, but is right on the outskirts and is a place that will be passed en-route.


A quick walk through scenic farmland will bring you to the dramatic coastline of Tunnel Beach! There is a constant mist from the violent crashing of the never-ending waves and an atmosphere that really makes you feel small in comparison to these humongous rocks!



And Tunnel Beach didn’t receive it’s name for nothing–there is an actual tunnel you have to walk down to get to the beach!

It’s a place that you could easily spend the whole day soaking in the surroundings. And nothing like watching crashing waves to make you contemplate the bigger things in life.



Well, maybe these photos won’t have quite the impact that they did on me, but hopefully they at least inspire you to visit one of the most beautiful mountains in the world!


Home to several glacier lakes and walks suitable for beginners to the expert mountaineer, Mt. Cook never ceases to amaze.

And on the rare day that you see Mt. Cook with out any clouds or wind, chances are you will absolutely freak out over it’s grandeur and pure epicness. (I may or may not have started screaming in the car when I turned the bed and saw what I am about to show you below.

So here they are. My amature photos that will hopefully make you want to drop everything and climb Mt. Cook (or at least hop in a car and go view it from 1st world comforts).

1. The road to Mt. Cook

DSCN21752. Fall colours mixed with snow capped mountains = (heart faced emoji)


3. But seriously……


4. Mt. Cook looking as if it belongs in Japan….


5. Wanting to run/skip/hop all the way to the tippy top of Mt. Cook!


6. And then, these reflections!!!!


7. Truth: I didn’t leave this spot for over an hour


8. Mt. Cook showing off in every nook and cranny….


9. Reflections + dusk + Mt. Cook = RIDICULOUS


10. JUST WOW. And think–the first man to ever climb to the top of Everest first trained by climbing to the top of Mt. Cook….


I’ll be dreaming mountaineering dreams tonight, and hopefully you do too!


I’m scared of heights.


But for some reason, when I moved to New Zealand I felt compelled to conquer this fear. Not once, but twice. The first time was 140ft up when I decided it would be a good idea to bungee jump off a bridge. Don’t ask how I managed to do this–let’s just leave it at an abnormality. But hey, I could say I conquered my fear of heights and left it at that.

That is, until my mom visited me earlier this year. Skydiving has long been on her bucket list and was the number one thing she wanted to do in New Zealand.

It was 90% peer pressure and 10%FOMO (fear of missing out), but I somehow re-conquered my fear of heights from 13,000ft and jumped out of a plane.


Despite the photographic evidence you are about to see below, this feat did not come easily. There were sleepless nights before the big jump, a couple hundred tears shed and a lot of fidgeting and walking like a maniac in circles before getting suited up.


This was my face when I was told we were only at 5,000ft…..


And when we finally reached 13,000ft I started screaming….


and didn’t stop….


but then the screams switched from pure fear to pure joy….


because the views were absolutely insane…


and when the free-fall finally finished, I could barely contain my emotions (I mean there were waterfall of tears….but tears of joy none the less!)


and then the real fun started when I was given control of the parachute…. I didn’t expect it to go quite so fast though!



The endorphin rush was like none that I have ever experienced and the feeling of flying over paradise will leave you speechless (*It took me 5 min to catch my breath and start talking again….but I think that was because I used all my oxygen screaming the whole way down)


Thanks Mom! X


Vibrant. Golden. Magical. Epic. No words really do justice to what New Zealand is like in the Fall.

I must admit, it is quite weird wrapping my head around the fact that fall in New Zealand does not go hand in hand with spiced pumpkin donuts, apple cider and Halloween costumes galore. But while the Northern Hemisphere (and my social media) is currently enjoying the blossoming cherry trees and longer days in the sun for the month of April, the South Island of New Zealand is being treated to one of the best showcases of #fall  in the entire world.

Don’t believe me? Here are 14 photos I took to prove it.


Where the botanical gardens are just magical….



and orange leaves clash with the green silver ferns of the native ponga…

Lake Tekapo:

Where the golden hour never really stops….




and the magical colours create a perfect contrast with one of the country’s most photographed lakes (fact–there were at least 100 other people out when I took this photo at 6AM…)

Mt. Cook:



Where bushes of orange perfectly frame this snow capped mountain of perfection….

and crisp orange leaves line the teal blue glacier lake….

Lake Hayes:


Where rows of gold line the dirt roads….
and the reflections of autumn’s glory literally make your jaw drop….


and make anyone with a camera handy go absolutely photo mad (guilty as charged….)




Quite arguably the most magical place in all of New Zealand to experience fall. Where this cute little town center looks even cuter…and where vibrant orange and red pop out among the green…


which makes for a walk to definitely remember….

and where the leftover summer lupins are still mixed in with the golden leaves of Fall….


Seriously. I don’t care how basic I sound…#FALL #NZWinsAtFall.


Golden sand, private beaches, quirky cafes and one of the great walks of the world–the top of the South Island is literally my paradise.


The Nelson-Tasman district is one of those areas where there is literally not enough hours in the day or months of the year to properly experience all that this amazing place can offer. But I took up the challenge to make the most of my four days in this insanely beautiful region and to make sure your time here is as spectacular as mine, here are my seven golden rules for experiencing the top of the South (and for anyone who doesn’t already have this area on there bucket list….seven reasons why you should immediately put it to the top of your list!)

7. Visit  Pupu SpringsDSCN1249

It’s real name is Te Waikoropupu Springs (Pupu Springs for short) these waters located in Golden Bay are sacred to the Maori–and for a good reason! The water clarity and colour is insane! The springs have eight vents that release 14,000 litres of water per second–and the constant filtration is what makes these waters have such a special visibility. Before new sanctions were placed on Pupu Springs, scuba divers could explore these magical waters, but now the can only be viewed from a place on land.

6. Collect sea shells on the beach!


Who doesn’t love collecting sea shells?! The Nelson-Tasman district has an endless supply of shells that are unique to each beach–in shape, size and colour.


So it is definitely advised to take a little piece of this paradise back with you, just be warned of the crazy sand flies you might have to endure while collecting.
5. Conquer the sand dunes of Wharariki Beach and Farewell Spit


Located at the top of Golden Bay, Wharariki Beach is home to Archway Island, massive sand dunes and the cutest baby pups you will ever meet! A thirty minute trek through farmland and native bush will bring you to a sandy coastline with crazy rock formations and tidal pools full of seals.


It’s easy to get sucked into watching these seals for hours on end, and with landscape like this you can easily spend the whole day on this beach.


But make sure to leave enough time to head over to Farewell Spit, which is just ten minutes up the road from this beach.


If you though the sand dunes were crazy on Wharariki, just wait until you get to Farewell….they go on for miles and miles!

4. Enjoy doing nothing on a secluded beach


Want a beach with no people or a hint of civilization? No problem! Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park are absolutely full of private little beaches that you can claim all to yourself. Nothing recharges the soul like a day spent lying on golden sand with rays of sunshine glistening on the water.

3. Get your daily dose of coffee at a quirky cafe


Ahhh I am a sucker for finding cute little cafes to start my day in. And there are no short supply of them up in the top of the South! Make sure to have your morning indulgence at T.O.A.D in Motueka or The Wholemeal Cafe in Takaka.

2. Walk and/or kayak through the Abel Tasman National Park


Whether by foot or in a kayka, Abel Tasman National Park is an experience you don’t want to miss! And if time permits, I highly recommend experiencing it both ways! Venturing through the entire national park can take up to three days, but you can also make easy day trips from either ends of the park.




Walking Abel Tasman allows you to have a complete bush/coastal experience. With hundreds of native plants, scenic look outs and baches to sleep in, it’s no surprise Abel Tasman is considered one of the Great Walks of NZ (and arguably the world!).


But then, kayaking the Abel Tasman is just as incredible. The first portion of the park, starting from Kaiteriteri, is the most popular. Here you can reach the photogenic Split Apple Rock along with many cute and cozy beach stop-offs. However, you can also start the kayaking exploration from the other side in Golden Bay. With rock-archways to kayak through and a non-congested kayak route to peacefully enjoy, this side gives you a perspective of Abel Tasman that not as many kayakers reach.



But no matter what method or starting point you journey through Abel Tasmen, it will definitely not disappoint.

1. Be amazed by the pastel colours of Nelson’s morning skies.





The Bay of Plenty is a stand out region among a series of gems in New Zealand. The beaches are a bit more golden, the water sparkles a little brighter and the sun seems to shine a little extra magic on this absolutely beautiful region.


And while I am a passionate advocate for the majestic South Island, this East Coast region on the North Island offers a constant state of bliss, no matter where you go or what you do!

At the end of last year I had the opportunity to go explore Mount Maunganui for a weekend. While I was more than impressed with my first visit to my top NZ bucket-list destination, I was left wanting to explore more of this region , specifically exploring the Mount on a warm and sunny day!


With summer winding down and one of my amazing friends convincing me to come visit (well let’s be honest, it didn’t take much convincing) I headed up to the Bay of Plenty ready to explore.

You really can do no wrong in your travels through the Bay of Plenty, but after my most recent, I can promise you that you don’t want to miss out on these five blissful activities the region offers:

1: Watch the sunrise on the top of the Mount


As cliche as this sounds, there is no better way to start your day in the Bay of Plenty than climbing to the top of the Mount. Words can’t describe the beauty of hiking under a blanket of stars at the bottom and then reaching the top of the Mount and seeing a sky full of pink, purple and orange.

2: Collect shells from Ohope Beach


Never in my life have I been to a beach where it is made up entirely of perfectly smooth and shiny crushed shells. Seriously, the shells are so smooth you can roll around on them, walk on them and most importantly, collect a whole heap of them!

Only an hour outside of Tauranga, this beach is the pride and glory of Whakatane and well worth the effort to get there.


The walk to this beach is absolutely stunning, with numerous vantage points that make you question if a beach could ever look any more inviting!

3: Find really cool waterfalls 


Honestly, who doesn’t love a good waterfall!? It’s not far from the coastline before you’ll have your pick of fairytale waterfalls to find. I ended up finding this really cute waterfall track by chance and it instantly made my list of favourites. Hidden behind walls of glow worms and a bush full of pongas, the 10 minute return journey could easily turn into nearly an hour of blissing out in front of the falls.

4: Lounge in natural rock pools at McLaren Falls


This was the biggest surprise of my trip and probably my favourite discovery of 2017 to date!

Reminding me of the Krka National Park in Croatia, there are hundreds of rock pools that run into McLaren Falls that are practically begging for you to relax in them.


With the sound of the rushing waterfall underneath and surrounded by rows of bright green native trees, these pools really do offer an entire afternoon of blissful relaxation.

5: Night time paddle-boarding to the Mount


If you are a water-lover like myself, then the Bay of Plenty is literally heaven on earth. From kayaking to surfing, fishing, swimming and beyond, there are endless ways to enjoy to warm and tropical waters in the Bay of Plenty.

But the one activity that is a must do is night-time paddle boarding in Mount Maunganui. With colourful flashlights attached to the bottom of the board, you can enjoy the calm waters and witness the vivacious life underneath. Chances are you will get to see stingrays, crabs, octopuses and countless fish swim underneath you (or in some instances end up on top of your board!) Talk about the perfect way to end the day!