20 photos that will inspire you to visit the Waikato, New Zealand


I’m so excited for springtime and warmer days here in New Zealand, and there’s nowhere better to experience it than up in the Waikato region of the North Island. Waikato travel will blow you away.

Lush and bucolic, with rolling green hills dotted with lambs and cows, beneath a bright blue sky, it’s no wonder this is the heart of New Zealand’s farm culture. I love watching everything bloom and finally being warm after months of frosts and snow down south where I call home.

Before we even land at the tiny Hamilton Airport, I’m struck by how green and fresh it seems here. Just south of Auckland lies the Waikato, an area I’ve visited many times but was excited to come back to again. A land of lush pastures, it’s not really surprising to any that Peter Jackson chose this area for the hobbits to call home in the Lord of the Rings films.

Spring here is as impressive as you can imagine, and I want to begin my story by sharing some of my favorite photos from a recent trip up north with you all before digging a little deeper. Enjoy!

waikato travel

waikato travel

waikato travel

Get to know Hamilton

The city of Hamilton is nestled on the banks of the mighty Waikato River on New Zealand’s North Island, and it is known for its walks, gardens, cafes, and nightlife. It’s also known as the Tron. Please, someone, tell me why. I have to know.

One thing I really loved about Hamilton on my Waikato travel was walking along the river, which seems to be the beating heart of the city. I can tell a lot of work has gone into making the riverfront epic, a fun spot to chill downtown. With lots of fun places to eat and explore, I couldn’t get enough.

And then as I was wandering, wearing my first short-sleeve dress this spring (yay it’s so warm!), I stumbled across this incredible mural of a kārearea (native NZ falcon) ❤️ , and I squealed with delight! And unabashed #birdnerd with a penchant for street art that decorates the walls of understated spots, all of my boxes were ticked as I spent a few days exploring Hamilton.

This mural “A Love Story” is based on a local, oral whakataukī (proverb) of a kārearea carrying two twins, Reipae and Reitu, from the Waikato to Whangarei for marriage. Painted by two renowned Auckland artists, Charlie and Janine Williams, it’s an exceptional price sharing a bit of local Māori narratives to the world. Have you seen it?

waikato travel

waikato travel

Dinner at the Chilli House is a must – a local Hamilton institution

Nothing beats spring at the Hamilton Gardens, especially in the early morning before the world wakes up. These gardens are pretty famous in New Zealand – and for a good reason – they’re fantastic!

Not just any old gardens, the Hamilton Gardens are more of a museum of gardens, dedicated to sharing examples of exquisite gardens around the world. As a new student of plant growing and mildly obsessed with historical botany, I was in heaven. Also, plants make me so happy, and nothing is better than a botanical garden in the spring, am I right?

While in Hamilton, we couldn’t resist a visit to New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong Tea Estate.

As a neurotic lifelong coffee addict, I’ve begun drinking tea more and more in recent years, and I loved learning more and more about the process and careful cultivation of tea. And the intricacy of the tea pouring ritual is beautiful 😊

waikato travel

Me and my merino Allbirds loungers in the gardens – still the best travel shoe I reckon!

waikato travel

waikato travel

Surf’s up in Raglan

Nothing beats a sunset watching the surf in the sleeping seaside town of Raglan in the Waikato! Waikato’s travel here is incredible.

There’s just something special about this place that keeps bringing me back again and again and again. I love watching the sets roll in as locals jostle for the waves. It’s really mesmerizing. Laidback and chill, unpretentious and captivating, warm and lush, Raglan is a place that gets under your skin and stays a while.

You only have to spend a few hours here before you want to kick off your shoes and never leave. Literally. No one wears shoes here, even in winter. And why would you?

Must-dos on any North Island road trip

waikato travel

waikato travel

Bridal Veil Falls outside of Raglan is worth a visit!

waikato travel

Marvel at the glowworm caves in Waitomo

The first time I saw glowworms in New Zealand was over six years ago on an action-packed trip blackwater rafting in the Waitomo Caves.

Gazing up, it felt like I was looking at a universe of blue stars! But as it turns out, I was looking at a ceiling of bright shiny maggots! I love Mother Nature.

Māori call glowworms titiwai, which refers to lights reflected in water, and they are carnivorous glowing larvae that drip down a long sticky thread in dark, damp environments that entangle insects they attract with their bright lights! Too cool!

The best and most comfortable place to see them in New Zealand is at the Waitomo Caves, where there are various ways of taking them in from a chill walk or boat to an adventurous day floating through underground rivers!

waikato travel

Get your party on at Hobbiton

I can’t talk about exploring the Waikato travel region and not mention that it’s home to the real-life Hobbiton, where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films were shot. Guy, the Shire, is real and open for visitors. And it’s DELIGHTFUL.

I’ve been many a time to Hobbiton, even when I first moved to New Zealand in 2013. This time, however, I was so excited to return for their annual Hobbit Day, an epic feast and evening party at Hobbiton celebrating International Hobbit Day and Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday. It was actually the most fun!

Hobbiton sure knows how to throw a party, and it’s worth keeping an eye out on their events to try and time your visit when they’ve got something extra special happening.

Even if you don’t love the films as much as me, it’s still a pretty epic place to visit on a trip to New Zealand. The highlight for many, it doesn’t disappoint. Have you been?

An evening feast fit for a queen at Hobbiton

waikato travel

waikato travel

Relax and unwind at Villa Walton in Matamata

If you find yourself exploring on my Waikato travel, you have to stay at a B & B or farm stay at one point or another.

After visiting Hobbiton, try and grab a room at Villa Walton, the most elegant historic homestead in picturesque Matamata, overlooking the Kaimai Ranges.

Established in 1904, the rural boutique accommodation of Villa Walton oozes comfort and charm. With amazing homemade brekkie, great company, beautiful style, and a garden to die for, I was gutted only to spend one night here. I’ll be back for longer next time!

waikato travel

waikato travel

Go for a sunset glowworm paddle at Lake Karapiro

After a big day of exploring, we headed out for a perfect sunset guided kayak tour on the pristine Lake Karapiro, a place I’ve never been to before. What a beautiful part of the country the south Waikato is, idyllic, lush, and peaceful.

As the sun set behind the hills, we made our way towards the Pokaiwhenua Stream, a verdant green canyon straight from a storybook with Lake District Adventures.

After waiting for darkness to fall, we floated back through the narrow, steep canyon, in complete darkness, with nothing but millions of blue glowworms twinkling along the canyon walls and the Milky Way shining above our head!

This was definitely not a moment I will ever forget!

waikato travel

waikato travel

Visit the birds at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

The lovely native forest around Maungatautari never ceases to blow me away.

A massive predator-free fenced-in eco-sanctuary in the heart of the Waikato travel – the work they’re doing here to bring back our precious native creatures, like kiwi, is both inspiring and powerful.

Maungatautari is a true ecological ‘island,’ an eco-sanctuary inside one of the world’s longest predator-proof fences that allows beautiful New Zealand birdlife to thrive. Here you can find native wildlife, plants, and great walking trails, and I could easily spend hours and hours wandering in this incredible forest. What a place!

I really enjoyed getting up close and personal with kākā, a native New Zealand parrot, found chattering in the forests. They are lovely, and I always try and listen out for them when I know they are in the area.

waikato travel

waikato travel

waikato travel

Many thanks to the Mighty Waikato for hosting me on the North Island – like always, I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me.

The post 20 photos that will inspire you to visit the Waikato, New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life


I love you New Zealand, I really do. But the Rifugios in the Dolomites are INSANE.

Your quirky charm, your quiet hills, your plethora of sheep. You are a magical country, but I have a confession to make. I’m having a love affair with the Dolomites. Sorry, I’m not sorry!

When I moved to New Zealand, I proudly stated that it was the most beautiful country on earth. I had never seen mountains so tall and cliffs so steep, and I was convinced it was a place that could never be replaced as #1 in my heart, and that remained true until recently when I visited the Heart of the Dolomites.

10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise

rifugios in the dolomites

Now, I’m not saying the Dolomites are my new favorite mountains, but I’m also not *not* saying it, ya know?

High alpine passes you can drive to in a car, cheap, delicious wine, creamy gelato, and vibrant Italian locals have been just a few of my favorite things but the thing that has blown me away the most?

The huts.

Errr, wait. Let me rephrase that. Hut is not really the right word to describe these places. Growing up on New Zealand hut life, this is next level.

rifugios in the dolomites

Italian huts in the Dolomites are called Rifugios here, but a more appropriate word might be Mountain Mansion.

If you are planning on doing some multi-day hikes in the Dolomites, you’re really in for a treat, just you wait. These “huts” are more like hotels, and these rifugios in the Dolomites are like houses.

Here are ten reasons why the Italian rifugios in the Dolomites have forever altered my standards for alpine sleeping.


1. The trails to them are pretty easy

Sure, some paths are more challenging to complete than others, but for the most part, you can expect smooth, well-marked trails free of bush-bashing and off-trail navigation in the heart of the Dolomites around the Agordino.

Depending on which rifugio you choose, the trails will either be jam-packed with like-minded hikers or be mostly empty.

Either way, the trails are generally wide and generous allowing you to spend more time looking up at the beauty before you and less time looking down focusing on your footwork; and forget about using your hands.

rifugios in the dolomites

2. OMG, there are showers!

My version of a hut shower is quickly washing my face in an icy mountain stream, but in Italy, you can minimize your stink by having an actual shower at the rifugio. That’s not something you can find at the backcountry New Zealand huts.

Some rifugios offer cold showers, and while some even provide warm showers (which are an extra charge for very little water, but still!) As we arrived at Rifugio Tissi near Alleghe, we saw dozens of people lined up waiting for their well-deserved hot shower. I stayed true to my dirtbag roots and opted out, but it was nice to know that was an option.

How flash is that? Read more about hiking to Rifugio Tissi here.

rifugios in the dolomites

3. Beer, wine and grappa, all day every day

There’s nothing I crave more than an ice-cold beer waiting for me at the top of the mountain. Is there anything better than after a hot and sweaty hike?

I’ve trained myself to patiently wait until the entire trip is done when I can indulge in a feast and a beverage, but in Italy, you don’t have to wait.

Enjoy a well-deserved tipple while taking in the unparalleled views or have a civilized glass of wine with your dinner. Goodbye sack of goon wine, Italy knows how to do hut wine properly.

Rifugios in the Dolomites have treats on tap.

rifugios in the dolomites

4. Espresso all the time too

Listen, I’ve had some desperate times in the mountains, but I rarely, ever, ever go without some form of coffee in the morning.

I’ve tried it all from coffee in tea bags, instant coffee, Aeropress, filter, cowboy coffee; you name it, I’ve tried it.

There is no coffee I’m too good for when it comes to caffeinating in the mountains.

Do I prefer an espresso drink in the mornings? Sure, but most of the time, that is not my reality. In Italy though, it certainly is. Fancy espresso machines at the top of the mountain so you can be adequately caffeinated. Going back to cowboy coffee is going to be hard.

rifugios in the dolomites

5. You don’t need to bring much with you either

As I was preparing for my first rifugio experience, I called my guide in a panic. What exactly do I need to bring?! I don’t have a sleeping bag or a camp stove or cutlery. I didn’t even have food to bring for a snack!

He told me in the most Italian way ever to chill out. It was all taken care of. All I needed to do was to bring a change of clothes and sleeping sheet (which he loaned me), and the rest would be there.

He was right, of course. The food, the drinks, the bedding. It was all part of the rifugio experience.

Was it strange to not have to haul a 20kg pack up the mountain? Yes. Was it the best thing ever? Also yes.

rifugios in the dolomites

6. Italian three-course meals 

My mountain meals usually consist of freeze-dried meals or a poorly executed concoction of couscous and whatever else I can find in my fridge.

Eating during hiking is simply a necessity for me. I never spend too much time or energy into planning tasty meals.

In Italy, though, you have the best of both worlds. Rifugios offer three-course meals complete with pasta, salad, polenta, dessert, and of course, wine. Going to bed with a stomach full of delicious food was a serious game-changer, especially since I didn’t even need to carry any of it with me.

rifugios in the dolomites

7. And of course, there’s wifi available

Ok, I’ll be honest, one of my favorite parts of going to the mountains is getting away from normal life far from emails and social media and the demands of work. But rifugios in the Dolomites are fancy!

In New Zealand, there’s simply no way to stay connected in the backcountry which is a perk I’ve come to relish in the past few years. Not only is there no wifi, but there is also no power, electricity or phone reception either.

It’s awesome!

rifugios in the dolomites

When we arrived at our first rifugio in the Dolomites, I was shocked to see the wifi name and password hanging on the wall. What the hell?!

But, as much as I love being in the mountains and taking time just to appreciate the view, I can see the perk of having wifi.

Need to let your loved ones know you’re alive and well? Easy. Need a distraction because everyone around you is involved in a heated conversation entirely in Italian, which you do not understand? Hello Instagram. Use the wifi when you need it but don’t forget to put the phone down for a bit and stare at the beauty in front of you too, ok?

rifugios in the dolomites

8. With wifi, there must be electricity

The last time I went to a hut and didn’t take a head torch was never.

It’s never happened. I know that as soon as the sun is gone, I’m going to need a head torch to show me where the bathroom is. But in Italy? No problem.

The rifugios have electricity and keep it accessible until about 10 pm when everyone goes to bed. If you’ve spent all of your phone battery taking photos of the fantastic scenery, you can also recharge but be prepared: finding a free socket is a bit of a mission.

rifugios in the dolomites

9. Flip flops for all

Do you know that feeling of wanting to kick off your shoes as soon as you arrive at your destination? It’s a fantastic feeling, but when I’m hiking to a hut, I usually ignore it.

I’m prepared to keep my shoes on in case I need to go outside to take photos or go to the bathroom. In Italian rifugios, they provide flip flops (which they adorably call “slippers”), so you can kick off your shoes immediately and walk around as needed. Bliss!

So refined!

rifugios in the dolomites

10. Next-level views everywhere

Rifugios in the Dolomites are adorable and amazing and offer all of the amenities you could ask for in a mountain hut. But by far, the thing that makes them stand out is the fact that they are perched in the heart of some of the most stunning mountains on the planet.

Implausibly perched on top of cliffs or tucked away into quiet valleys, it’s hard to imagine the scale of the work that went into building them.

Basking in the glory of the famous Dolomites makes every other problem in your life seem small and insignificant, and for a moment, all that matters is the beauty in front of you. (And the wine waiting for you at the table).

Have you ever seen mountain huts like these? Have you been to a rifugio before in Italy? Spill!

rifugios in the dolomites

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life


I love you New Zealand, I really do. But the Rifugios in the Dolomites are INSANE.

Your quirky charm, your quiet hills, your plethora of sheep. You are a magical country, but I have a confession to make. I’m having a love affair with the Dolomites. Sorry, I’m not sorry!

When I moved to New Zealand, I proudly stated that it was the most beautiful country on earth. I had never seen mountains so tall and cliffs so steep, and I was convinced it was a place that could never be replaced as #1 in my heart, and that remained true until recently when I visited the Heart of the Dolomites.

10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise

rifugios in the dolomites

Now, I’m not saying the Dolomites are my new favorite mountains, but I’m also not *not* saying it, ya know?

High alpine passes you can drive to in a car, cheap, delicious wine, creamy gelato, and vibrant Italian locals have been just a few of my favorite things but the thing that has blown me away the most?

The huts.

Errr, wait. Let me rephrase that. Hut is not really the right word to describe these places. Growing up on New Zealand hut life, this is next level.

rifugios in the dolomites

Italian huts in the Dolomites are called Rifugios here, but a more appropriate word might be Mountain Mansion.

If you are planning on doing some multi-day hikes in the Dolomites, you’re really in for a treat, just you wait. These “huts” are more like hotels, and these rifugios in the Dolomites are like houses.

Here are ten reasons why the Italian rifugios in the Dolomites have forever altered my standards for alpine sleeping.


1. The trails to them are pretty easy

Sure, some paths are more challenging to complete than others, but for the most part, you can expect smooth, well-marked trails free of bush-bashing and off-trail navigation in the heart of the Dolomites around the Agordino.

Depending on which rifugio you choose, the trails will either be jam-packed with like-minded hikers or be mostly empty.

Either way, the trails are generally wide and generous allowing you to spend more time looking up at the beauty before you and less time looking down focusing on your footwork; and forget about using your hands.

rifugios in the dolomites

2. OMG, there are showers!

My version of a hut shower is quickly washing my face in an icy mountain stream, but in Italy, you can minimize your stink by having an actual shower at the rifugio. That’s not something you can find at the backcountry New Zealand huts.

Some rifugios offer cold showers, and while some even provide warm showers (which are an extra charge for very little water, but still!) As we arrived at Rifugio Tissi near Alleghe, we saw dozens of people lined up waiting for their well-deserved hot shower. I stayed true to my dirtbag roots and opted out, but it was nice to know that was an option.

How flash is that? Read more about hiking to Rifugio Tissi here.

rifugios in the dolomites

3. Beer, wine and grappa, all day every day

There’s nothing I crave more than an ice-cold beer waiting for me at the top of the mountain. Is there anything better than after a hot and sweaty hike?

I’ve trained myself to patiently wait until the entire trip is done when I can indulge in a feast and a beverage, but in Italy, you don’t have to wait.

Enjoy a well-deserved tipple while taking in the unparalleled views or have a civilized glass of wine with your dinner. Goodbye sack of goon wine, Italy knows how to do hut wine properly.

Rifugios in the Dolomites have treats on tap.

rifugios in the dolomites

4. Espresso all the time too

Listen, I’ve had some desperate times in the mountains, but I rarely, ever, ever go without some form of coffee in the morning.

I’ve tried it all from coffee in tea bags, instant coffee, Aeropress, filter, cowboy coffee; you name it, I’ve tried it.

There is no coffee I’m too good for when it comes to caffeinating in the mountains.

Do I prefer an espresso drink in the mornings? Sure, but most of the time, that is not my reality. In Italy though, it certainly is. Fancy espresso machines at the top of the mountain so you can be adequately caffeinated. Going back to cowboy coffee is going to be hard.

rifugios in the dolomites

5. You don’t need to bring much with you either

As I was preparing for my first rifugio experience, I called my guide in a panic. What exactly do I need to bring?! I don’t have a sleeping bag or a camp stove or cutlery. I didn’t even have food to bring for a snack!

He told me in the most Italian way ever to chill out. It was all taken care of. All I needed to do was to bring a change of clothes and sleeping sheet (which he loaned me), and the rest would be there.

He was right, of course. The food, the drinks, the bedding. It was all part of the rifugio experience.

Was it strange to not have to haul a 20kg pack up the mountain? Yes. Was it the best thing ever? Also yes.

rifugios in the dolomites

6. Italian three-course meals 

My mountain meals usually consist of freeze-dried meals or a poorly executed concoction of couscous and whatever else I can find in my fridge.

Eating during hiking is simply a necessity for me. I never spend too much time or energy into planning tasty meals.

In Italy, though, you have the best of both worlds. Rifugios offer three-course meals complete with pasta, salad, polenta, dessert, and of course, wine. Going to bed with a stomach full of delicious food was a serious game-changer, especially since I didn’t even need to carry any of it with me.

rifugios in the dolomites

7. And of course, there’s wifi available

Ok, I’ll be honest, one of my favorite parts of going to the mountains is getting away from normal life far from emails and social media and the demands of work. But rifugios in the Dolomites are fancy!

In New Zealand, there’s simply no way to stay connected in the backcountry which is a perk I’ve come to relish in the past few years. Not only is there no wifi, but there is also no power, electricity or phone reception either.

It’s awesome!

rifugios in the dolomites

When we arrived at our first rifugio in the Dolomites, I was shocked to see the wifi name and password hanging on the wall. What the hell?!

But, as much as I love being in the mountains and taking time just to appreciate the view, I can see the perk of having wifi.

Need to let your loved ones know you’re alive and well? Easy. Need a distraction because everyone around you is involved in a heated conversation entirely in Italian, which you do not understand? Hello Instagram. Use the wifi when you need it but don’t forget to put the phone down for a bit and stare at the beauty in front of you too, ok?

rifugios in the dolomites

8. With wifi, there must be electricity

The last time I went to a hut and didn’t take a head torch was never.

It’s never happened. I know that as soon as the sun is gone, I’m going to need a head torch to show me where the bathroom is. But in Italy? No problem.

The rifugios have electricity and keep it accessible until about 10 pm when everyone goes to bed. If you’ve spent all of your phone battery taking photos of the fantastic scenery, you can also recharge but be prepared: finding a free socket is a bit of a mission.

rifugios in the dolomites

9. Flip flops for all

Do you know that feeling of wanting to kick off your shoes as soon as you arrive at your destination? It’s a fantastic feeling, but when I’m hiking to a hut, I usually ignore it.

I’m prepared to keep my shoes on in case I need to go outside to take photos or go to the bathroom. In Italian rifugios, they provide flip flops (which they adorably call “slippers”), so you can kick off your shoes immediately and walk around as needed. Bliss!

So refined!

rifugios in the dolomites

10. Next-level views everywhere

Rifugios in the Dolomites are adorable and amazing and offer all of the amenities you could ask for in a mountain hut. But by far, the thing that makes them stand out is the fact that they are perched in the heart of some of the most stunning mountains on the planet.

Implausibly perched on top of cliffs or tucked away into quiet valleys, it’s hard to imagine the scale of the work that went into building them.

Basking in the glory of the famous Dolomites makes every other problem in your life seem small and insignificant, and for a moment, all that matters is the beauty in front of you. (And the wine waiting for you at the table).

Have you ever seen mountain huts like these? Have you been to a rifugio before in Italy? Spill!

rifugios in the dolomites

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin


All right, it’s happened guys.

I’ve found New Zealand’s cutest cabin. I know, I know, that’s a bold statement. Especially considering New Zealand doesn’t do “cabins” in the way my little American heart wish it did.

Let me introduce you to the High Country Cabin!

New Zealand cabins are called a “bach” short for “bachelor pad,” and are often cobbled together little holiday spots, usually build out of leftover supplies on someone else’s land, usually off the grid, no wifi and with an outdoor toilet. Picture corrugated iron walls and roofs and drafty windows.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bach, but I often yearn for cozy cabins.

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve encountered very few wooden spaces and cabins in New Zealand, you know, that smell divine and remind me of my childhood in the Appalachia or my university years in New England. Why? Who knows.

My best guess is that most of New Zealand was deforested by us foreigners over the past century and and now all of the wood here gets sold overseas.

I really wish New Zealand would stop exporting everything great it makes, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

Someone please tell me I’ve got this all wrong.

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin


Well, at least now, I can safely say I’ve found the cute cabin of my dreams and it happens to be in one of my favorite spots of New Zealand – Twizel.

Man I love Twizel. I don’t really know why, if I’m being honest. I just do, I always have.

Only 1.5 hours from Wanaka where I live, Twizel is just on the other side of the Lindis Pass on your way to Mt. Cook and Tekapo. The beginning of the Mackenzie Basin, here the weather is dry and beautiful, with man-made lakes and canals on either side and the twinkling Southern Alps right in front of you.

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt. Cook is just nearby, but Twizel remains a sleepy little town that tugs at my heart a bit.

Twizel is the perfect place to base yourself for exploring the nearby region and mountains.

The High Country Cabin is just outside of Twizel right at the foot of the mountains and has some of the nicest views and cozy vibes around and some sheep for company in the paddock outside. No wonder it’s hard to get a booking in! Plan ahead.

When I was thinking of nice spots to go for my 31st birthday in May, I knew this would be the perfect spot, especially when one of my best friends came down from Auckland with me.

high country cabin

high country cabin


I love spending time on high country farms and stations in New Zealand, and the year before rung in my 30th birthday further afield in Canterbury at Lake Heron.

Maybe I enjoy spending my birthday with sheep for company. What does that say about me?

Wait, don’t answer that. Oh god. All my friends are animals. Fuck, when did this happen?

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve been following High Country Cabin on Instagram for ages, and it’s been on my mind to come out and stay for a long time. After that, I was so excited to finally make it happen in May.

Fulling embracing both my millennial and blogger side, I wholeheartedly book places that I find on Instagram especially when they look as delightful as this spot.

Luckily, it lived up the expectations and was even better in person. So much better in person that we actually didn’t leave the cabin the whole time we were there!

Boom! The marking of a good spot, I reckon!

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Tucked away on 10 acres of Ben Ohau outside Twizel, this is as high country as it gets in New Zealand.

Especially when the sheep peek in the window – trust me, endless hours of entertainment. Though, I did feel a twinge of shame or two when we had a lamb roast in the oven for my birthday. Sorry sheepies!

As fall was ending and winter on its way, we cranked the woodburner the whole time we spent there, a bit of an indulgence considering how warm and well-built the cabin is, unlike many New Zealand houses.

The sunrises and sunsets were magical out here, and being in a dark sky reserve, watching the stars was a unforgettable.


Read, write, cook, nap, eat, repeat.

In conclusion, I couldn’t think of a better birthday, and a true mark of being in my 30’s I reckon. I’d rather hang out with one good person and sheep than party or be in a city, or even put on makeup!

The older I get, the more I value good company and unwinding in a beautiful place. I need to make more time for these experiences, what about you?

How do you spend your birthdays these days? Do you love cabins too? Have any favorites to share? Spill!

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Many thanks to High Country Cabin for hosting me on my birthday in Twizel – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin


All right, it’s happened guys.

I’ve found New Zealand’s cutest cabin. I know, I know, that’s a bold statement. Especially considering New Zealand doesn’t do “cabins” in the way my little American heart wish it did.

Let me introduce you to the High Country Cabin!

New Zealand cabins are called a “bach” short for “bachelor pad,” and are often cobbled together little holiday spots, usually build out of leftover supplies on someone else’s land, usually off the grid, no wifi and with an outdoor toilet. Picture corrugated iron walls and roofs and drafty windows.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bach, but I often yearn for cozy cabins.

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve encountered very few wooden spaces and cabins in New Zealand, you know, that smell divine and remind me of my childhood in the Appalachia or my university years in New England. Why? Who knows.

My best guess is that most of New Zealand was deforested by us foreigners over the past century and and now all of the wood here gets sold overseas.

I really wish New Zealand would stop exporting everything great it makes, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

Someone please tell me I’ve got this all wrong.

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin


Well, at least now, I can safely say I’ve found the cute cabin of my dreams and it happens to be in one of my favorite spots of New Zealand – Twizel.

Man I love Twizel. I don’t really know why, if I’m being honest. I just do, I always have.

Only 1.5 hours from Wanaka where I live, Twizel is just on the other side of the Lindis Pass on your way to Mt. Cook and Tekapo. The beginning of the Mackenzie Basin, here the weather is dry and beautiful, with man-made lakes and canals on either side and the twinkling Southern Alps right in front of you.

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt. Cook is just nearby, but Twizel remains a sleepy little town that tugs at my heart a bit.

Twizel is the perfect place to base yourself for exploring the nearby region and mountains.

The High Country Cabin is just outside of Twizel right at the foot of the mountains and has some of the nicest views and cozy vibes around and some sheep for company in the paddock outside. No wonder it’s hard to get a booking in! Plan ahead.

When I was thinking of nice spots to go for my 31st birthday in May, I knew this would be the perfect spot, especially when one of my best friends came down from Auckland with me.

high country cabin

high country cabin


I love spending time on high country farms and stations in New Zealand, and the year before rung in my 30th birthday further afield in Canterbury at Lake Heron.

Maybe I enjoy spending my birthday with sheep for company. What does that say about me?

Wait, don’t answer that. Oh god. All my friends are animals. Fuck, when did this happen?

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve been following High Country Cabin on Instagram for ages, and it’s been on my mind to come out and stay for a long time. After that, I was so excited to finally make it happen in May.

Fulling embracing both my millennial and blogger side, I wholeheartedly book places that I find on Instagram especially when they look as delightful as this spot.

Luckily, it lived up the expectations and was even better in person. So much better in person that we actually didn’t leave the cabin the whole time we were there!

Boom! The marking of a good spot, I reckon!

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Tucked away on 10 acres of Ben Ohau outside Twizel, this is as high country as it gets in New Zealand.

Especially when the sheep peek in the window – trust me, endless hours of entertainment. Though, I did feel a twinge of shame or two when we had a lamb roast in the oven for my birthday. Sorry sheepies!

As fall was ending and winter on its way, we cranked the woodburner the whole time we spent there, a bit of an indulgence considering how warm and well-built the cabin is, unlike many New Zealand houses.

The sunrises and sunsets were magical out here, and being in a dark sky reserve, watching the stars was a unforgettable.


Read, write, cook, nap, eat, repeat.

In conclusion, I couldn’t think of a better birthday, and a true mark of being in my 30’s I reckon. I’d rather hang out with one good person and sheep than party or be in a city, or even put on makeup!

The older I get, the more I value good company and unwinding in a beautiful place. I need to make more time for these experiences, what about you?

How do you spend your birthdays these days? Do you love cabins too? Have any favorites to share? Spill!

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Many thanks to High Country Cabin for hosting me on my birthday in Twizel – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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