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You guys will know how much I want to filling my summer with adventures and day trips. My friend Jana, only has a few weekends left in the North Islands before she starts her South Island travels before heading back to Germany in January, so we really wanted to fit in a road trip together to see the very north of New Zealand.
We decided to hire a Camper Van with Wicked Campers which was great, it had everything we needed and the bed was relatively comfortable. I was a little bit skeptical when Jana came and picked me up from work because they are known for their out-there paint work on the side of their vans, but luckily we were chilling with the beetles all weekend!
Itinerary
Day One: (212kms, 2:45 driving hours)
We left Auckland around 5:30/6pm after work and headed North. We originally wanted towards to Paihia and camp there for the night, but as we got closer to the Bay of Islands it was getting pretty late, so we stopped off at freedom camp in Kawakawa, only a short drive away from Paihia. I wouldn’t stay at this freedom camp again purely because I felt unsafe, it’s basically a carpark at the back of the  Hunderwasser toilets, there were motorbikes driving past every 5 minutes and as two girls alone in a campervan.. it probably wasn’t the best option for a place to camp for the night. But as a big group of people, I can imagine it feeling like a much better place to stay. There are no costs to stay the night and a public toilet a short walk away.
Day Two:  (361km, 5 driving hours)
We got up relative early on the Saturday because the weather was amazing and we wanted to see/do as much as we could because the weather for Sunday didn’t look too appetising.  Our first top was Paihaia, a small beachside town in the Bay of Islands- which was beautiful, the sun was still rising as we arrived so we stop to watch the sunrise for a little while whilst walking along the beach. Next stop; Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We didn’t have too much time at each place because we really wanted to get up to Cape Reinga around lunch time. The treaty grounds tour would of taken a couple of hours and would of cost $50, so we decided to skip this and head towards the rainbow falls in Kerikeri. This is defiantly somewhere you should stop if your driving past the Bay of Islands, the waterfall is beautiful, and there is a short bush walk to get to the waterfall so it was nice to get out of the van and walk around, and it didn’t take up too much time either.
After stopping at the waterfalls we decided to head straight to Cape Reinga. The state highway 10 takes you along the coast towards doubtless bay, before merging with the state highway 1, both are beautiful drivers through the hills of the North Island. Be careful driving these roads as a few of the turns are a bit risky if your not paying attention, we arrived at Cape Reinga just after 1pm. Cape Reinga is possibly one of the prettiest places I have ever been too and is so worth the 6 hour drive from Auckkand. After we spent time walking to the lighthouse and around the tracks that run parallel to the ocean, we decided to head to the giant sand dunes, only a short drive from Cape Reinga. It was windy so sand got EVERYWHERE!! But still fun! I think there are a few camp sites towards Cape Reinga, but you are pretty deserted and there are no big towns near by, so we decided to head towards Shipwreck Bay, which is the start of 90 mile beach, and pay for a an non-powered site for the night. We stayed at the Ahipara Holiday Park, which cost $36 for the night, with access to the cleanest campsite toilets/showers I have ever seen, the kitchen, bbq area and the main room where rugby was playing on the TV when we arrived! – I would stay here again!
Day Three: (326kms, 4 hours 30 minutes driving time)
The weather on the Sunday was pretty dire to be honest with you, it had rained pretty much all night so once we had woken up and got dressed we decided to head to Whangeri as there are a few things you can do inside e.g museums, so it didn’t matter if the weather was pretty poor. However about 1 hour into the drive the weather cleared and we had another stunner of a day. We stopped off at Whangeri falls- which were alot prettier than I thought they would be and met up with an old work friend for lunch whilst Jana visited the kiwi museum. We had lunch along the harbour which was a lovely setting for a summer lunch. After lunch we hit the road again for a short while to visit Ruakaka. Theres not a great deal to do in the town centre, but the beach was beautiful and I would probably drive the 2 hours on a summers day from Auckland to spend the day there. We dropped the camper back off in Auckland at around 6pm on Sunday had a no problems dropping if off. I loved this road trip and its one to do if you only have weekends free if you are working 9-5 Monday-Friday because you can fit so much in a short space of time!

The post 3 Day North Island Road Trip Itinerary – New Zealand appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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With Spring just around the corner, the weather in Auckland has definitely started to get slightly warmer, thank the lord, I’m so over cold nights and electric heaters! One place I love walking around during spring/summer is One Tree Wall and Cornwall Park.

One Tree Hill was the first place I ever visited when I first moved to Auckland so it always has a special part in my heart. I love walking through the trees in Cornwall Park and getting some weekend cardio walking up the mountain as well. I’m slowly getting used too the change in seasons and the weather, but seeing lambs in August with crunchy leaves on the floor was slightly strange!

Here are some photos from my recent adventure, hope you enjoy them!

 

The post Spring Walks around One Tree Hill appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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My Grandad always jokes about how it seems like all I do is eat, and here I am, expressing my love for another cafe I love to visit. Only a short walk from my house, Coffee and Tea Lovers is a dainty cafe based in Epsom and has become one of my favourite cafe’s to visit since moving.

I’ve always been a savoury lover compared to sweet so I normally pick up a ham and tomato croissant and a cappuccino which is the yummiest croissant I’ve had. The sweet treats look so tasty too; they also offer usual cafe food as well, which if the croissant is anything to go by, I can imagine them being good!

One thing that struck me about the cafe was the decor of vintage coffee cups and the range of loose tea’s available; I don’t think I ever seen so many in my life! If your looking to try out some different flavours they always have a couple of teas out for you to try. Another thing I love about this cafe is the fact you can shop for anything tea/coffee related including teapots, strainers and insulated cups. You can find out more about what they stock here.

The post The perfect cafe for coffee and tea lovers! appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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If you read my post about my summer bucket list then you will know how much I want to explore more of New Zealand this year. I thought I would start with a dolphin and whale boat trip in Auckland as it’s something that has been on my bucket list for a few years.

I booked through Trip Advisor a few days before as I wanted to ensure that I was going on a day with good weather, luckily the Saturday I booked was a glorious sunny day! The process from buying the ticket to boarding the boat was a very smooth process and I would 100% book with Trip Advisor again for any other tours I do in the future.

During the 4.5 hour cruise in the Hauraki Gulf I learnt so much about marine mammals and the environment from the researchers that travel regularly on the boat to conduct their research. It’s really nice to know that they money your paying for the safari is actually being used to benefit the environment and the mammals, rather than ending up in someone else back pocket!

I was lucky enough to see lots of dolphins and a handful of different whales; the whales that are commonly found in the Gulf are the Bryde’s whales, they normally only come up for air and blow through the hole to create a spray, which was really lovely to watch, but very hard to get on camera so I wasn’t able to show you any pictures of the whales.

I was really impressed with the prices of food and drink on board, I brought a couple of snacks with me just in case I got a bit peckish as the boat leaves the harbour at 1:30 and doesn’t return until 6-7pm, but for a coffee it was $4, which I tend to pay between $4-$5,50 in most cafes around Auckland! The prices of the food were reasonable too, they offered snacks and sandwiches.. I’d recommend that you eat lunch beforehand to make sure you don’t miss out on anything!

I also really loved that you were never cramped for space, and there was never any pushing or shoving to get to the front of the boat to watch the whales and dolphins; their was plenty of room, and at some points, it was just me and my friend, Jana at the front of the boat!

For $180 NZD the trip was so worth it and I would do the trip again and again and again! Seeing dolphins and whales in the wild, where they are suppose to be playing around is an incredible experience and I would recommend it to everyone!

The post Dolphin And Whale Watching in Auckland appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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If your anything like me, then your day will start after your first coffee. I don’t think my body functions until I’ve had my first mouth full, I would go far enough to stay its become part of my staple diet throughout the week! I am always on the hunt for new coffee’s to try and once I came across PEC’s Coffee I thought it was worth the try.
Even though I’ve always been into training and going to the gym, I’ve never been a lover of protein shakes, but after an intense gym session, i’m always conscious about what i eat afterwards to ensure I’m giving my body the nutrients it needs. Pecs stands for protein enriched coffee. What a great idea, I thought. It means I can get enough protein that my body needs AND I’m still getting my coffee kick to start my day off.
I’ve struggled to find a protein shake that I enjoy to be honest with you, so I was a little worried when trying this, in case the taste of the coffee was spoilt by the protein, especially because there is over 35% of protein per serving, which is high.. I think!!
I can’t say I will swap this out for my regular cappuccinos because this coffee is sweet and I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet things, but can see myself drinking this once or twice a week. The coffee side to it wasn’t too strong, but I only put in a teaspoon of the coffee blend, so because it’s mixed in with whey protein you might need to use more if you like stronger coffee. Another reason why I might not be a huge fan of the taste is because I’ve never really liked the taste of protein, but if you like protein, then I would suggest that you try this out.. especially if you need a coffee hit in the morning like me!

The post Trying Protein Coffee appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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I’ve had a tough few weeks recently and it’s been the first time I’ve missed being surrounded by my friends and family back home. After just under a year, I don’t think that is bad going! When I first moved to New Zealand, I didn’t cry once, I was so excited about the opportunities and the adventures that had just landed on my door step. There are time occasionally where it will catch me off guard and ill have a short overwhelm of sadness, but it doesn’t last to long.

People ask me if I would go home, and my answer has always been no. I don’t miss being in the UK at all, I miss the people, not the place.

I thought I should share with you my tips on how to stop yourself from feeling too homesick when you are living abroad.

Experience life in your new city // Settling into your new city is the best thing you can do. I was so lucky that I walked straight into a job when I first got here so I already fell into the work play routine, but if you aren’t working straight away, learn about the new culture, put yourself out there and meet new people. As soon as you start creating memories, you will start feeling at home!

Plan a trip // You in a brand new country, maybe one you have never visited before, plan trips and explore as much as you can. Take advantage of whats around you, because you never know when you might get the opportunity again.

Create goals // Why did you first move to a new country? – never forget the answer to this question. My goal was to move to New Zealand and start a life for myself, and I am still working towards fully achieving that goal. Use this to motivate you and allow your self to focus on this and not what you have left behind.

Learn to enjoy your own company // If you can start enjoying your own company. and you don’t mind doing things by yourself, you won’t feel alone. Feeling lonely is the worst feeling in the world, even the busiest of places can feel empty sometimes, but learning to enjoy being by yourself is one of the best things you can do when your living abroad.

Take advantage of technology // Making the effort to speak to friends and family over Skype and FaceTime has become a part of my daily routine and has made feeling homesick a very rare occasion. One important thing to remember though, you need to meet people in your new city, and make memories with them, if you overuse technology and speak to your friends and family everyday you might never connect with anyone else in real life.

Self care // Create new exciting habits for yourself, give yourself something to look forward too. Keeping yourself busy is one of the easiest reasons to distract yourself from home.

The post How to overcome homesickness while living abroad appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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Summer has officially arrived here in New Zealand, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. This will be my second summer here since moving from England. Weeks and weeks of consistently gorgeous weather has got me thinking of what I want to do and achieve this summer.

Plan a mid-week day off work // I haven’t made up enough at work yet to book a long holiday, so I’m planning on taking one Wednesday off work this summer, (possibly the worst day of the week) to go out for the day, grab lunch on the beach, take a day off work to explore or do something I normally wouldn’t. Even having one day off work can feel like a mini holiday.

Hit the water // One thing I love about living in Auckland is having the beach on my door step, I’ve never been a massive beach girl, I actually have a small fear of the sea, but I want to try and make the most of the warm weather and having a the beach on my door step, go kayaking, hire a boat for the day, maybe even for a swim,

 Watch the sunrise // I think I’ve only seen sunrise once or twice in my whole 20 years of existing – shocking really! I’d either like to go somewhere beautiful to watch the sunrise, or just enjoy it from my window at home with a cup of coffee.

Go for a long bike ride // If your in Auckland, one great way to see the city is on an ONZO, if your not sure what these are, read my blog post about my adventures on onzo’s last summer. I’d love to buy a bike for this summer and cycle from one side of Auckland to the other.

Visit somewhere new // It’s not really summer without a least one adventure, and with everything being so close to me, I’ve got a LONG list of places I want to visit.

Go berry picking // If there’s one thing better than fresh summer fruit all season long, it’s going straight to the source and picking the freshest, juiciest versions yourself. I haven’t really done too much research into this, but i’m sure theres a few places around Auckland that I can go to and pick my own fresh fruit

Pass my driving test // One of my biggest school boy error was not sticking with driving before I moved to NZ, it would of been so my cheaper and easier if I had past my test before coming here, but hey, I can’t change that now.. so my goal for this summer is to pass my test and buy myself a car. That way getting out of the city and exploring the rest of NZ should be a lot easier.

Get my first tattoo // (sorry to all of my family if your reading this) but I’ve been thinking about getting tattoo for a while now, and I really want something that symbolises New Zealand, and how much I have achieved moving to other side of the world at 19. To show me that I can do anything I want if I put my mind too it. I’ve got a few ideas going around my head, I just want to book a date now!

Try something new // 2018 has seen me snowboard for the first time, travel a new country and accomplish things I never thought I would do, but I want more. I want to try as many new things as possible! – the summer is a good excuse for this!!

The post My Summer Bucket list- 2018 appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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A few weeks back I booked a last minute trip to Christchurch to stay with one of my friends, Rebecca who lives down there, as well as exploring the city – Christchurch has always fascinated me and knew I needed to visit city at some point, so when I found out the weather at the weekend would be good I couldn’t resist!

For those of you that don’t know too much about Christchurch, I will give you a bit of a background, from what I know! Christchurch is a city located in the South Island of New Zealand, in 2011 a 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake hit the city at around 1pm, destroying the lives of 185 people. 7 years on and the city is still struggling to come to terms with the disaster and create a lively city again.

Most buildings that were affected by the earthquake have been knocked down leaving just an empty space of gravel in it’s place. There are a few buildings that are still left after the destruction, and you can really see how badly some buildings were ruined. I found this so moving.

  

Slowly they are adding parts to city to attract more people; one thing I loved particularly was the 185 white chairs to remember everyone that had lost their lives that day. Someone as young as 5 weeks old died.

After exploring the city in the morning, we drove to the Gondola which is located in the Port Hills – the views from the top are amazing and a must if your in Christchurch. You can also drive to the top of the hill and complete a few walks which go around the hills – or if your feeling fit, you can walk from the bottom to the to the top of the port hills.

The post Weekend Exploring Christchurch appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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If you have followed my blog or Instagram over the past few months you will know how much I love walking around One Tree Hill, especially now that the weather is getting warmer and the nights are finally getting lighter. I’ve been pretty stressed out this week so I thought one evening after work I would walk up One Tree Hill and watch the sunset over the city.. my god it was beautiful. Whenever I’m feeling stressed I always find that getting some fresh air and space really helps me to process my thought and feel better and this walk helped me out so much. I thought I would share with you some of my favourite photos from the sunset.

The post Sunset Walks appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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Last month I had a few days off from work before I started a new job but the funny thing is that I felt guilty for it. I felt guilty for taking time for myself and for not being productive. It’s like I have this voice in the back of my mind saying “you have all this free time so why are you wasting it doing something unproductive?”

Some days I just want to be unproductive. I want to have a lie in and spend the day in my PJs reading a good book or catching up my favourite series on Netflix. I want to have no plans and not feel guilty for it, because, some days that’s exactly what I need.

As an introvert, I need that time so that I can recharge. So I allow myself to forget out my diary, ignore my to-do list and enjoy my day off from work. No pressure to be productive. It was my last day before I started a new job so I wanted to make the most of it by doing nothing.

But I can ignore the need to clean the house, write a blog post, post on Instagram or even make plans with friends. I feel like I must be busy all the time, because being busy is good, right?

No, not always.

We are living in a world that values hustle and the work hard mentality. Life is short, weekends are shorter. So we should be making the most of our time, even if it means having time off.

The post It’s OKAY to take a break appeared first on Chloe Keen.

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