Pupu Springs, Nelson

If you’re visiting Nelson it’s worth a trip to Takaka, home to Pupu Springs - one of Australasia’s largest and clearest freshwater springs. The springs are an easy 30 minute walk from the car park, and the walk takes you through some beautiful New Zealand bush, serenaded by the soothing sound of running water and light song of native birds. You truly get a sense that you're treading on sacred ground.

Texada Island, Canada

Population: 1000. Beauty rating: 99th percentile. 

Texada Island is a place of solace. At 50km long and 10km wide, it is the biggest island in the Straight of Georgia, and lies just off the coast of British Columbia, on the West Coast of Canada. You won't find a better pocket of the world to truly disconnect (literally - only half the island has internet). Waking up to songs of woodpeckers and hummingbirds definitely beats the resounding alarm of my iPhone, and having a place like this to yourself is surely the best alone time possible. 

The Lost Gypsy Gallery

The essence of weird and wonderful, open 10am until 5pm

When I think of The Catlins, my mind immediately evokes two strong memories from my childhood visits. One is, of course, The Catlins' gorgeous coast lines, forests and countryside. The other is the Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai.

The Great New Zealand Road Trip

Travel Blogger Indigo Paul sets forth from Auckland to Wanaka in her Jucy rental - a Nissan called Betsy

Knowing that I had to travel from Auckland to Wanaka, I had a decision to make about how to get there. Most of the time, that decision might comprise of Air New Zealand vs. Jet Star, but with my deep-seated hatred of airports, my options were a little broader. A couple of centuries ago, nature-dude Henry David Thoreau wrote the tempting passage “the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot”. Now, I enjoy walking three quarters the length of New Zealand just as much as the next lady, but with less than a week to get there, I decided to take the modern equivalent - a cheap rental car whom I named Betsy.

Okuru, the West Coast

What to do when you're trapped in Wanaka and Treble Cone has no snow!

One of the great things about booking trips far in advance is that you can save on expenses, from flights to ski passes. The downside is that it's impossible to forecast the weather that far in advance, and if you end up in a ski town, with no snow on your favourite mountain and two weeks to kill, it's not hard to go a little stir-crazy. This is especially true when it applies to a family of four staying in a tiny apartment. Luckily, there are a few excellent day-trips from both Wanaka and Queenstown, one of which is to drive over to the West Coast toward Haast. 

Ground Up Brewing

New Zealand-made, New Zealand-grown Beer with heart

Five months ago, Jules and Oli went from passionate home brewers to professional beer makers and the owners of Ground Up Brewing. Since then, they have created thirty different beers, and are now supplying to some of the best restaurants in Wanaka. 

Village Tours: Dominion Road, Balmoral

“Dominion Road is bending / Under its own weight”

The Muttonbirds sang it in the nineties, and since then Dominion road has only become heavier, loaded down with cars, buses - and excellent food. The strip has long been one of Auckland’s main arteries, often dominated by the daily commute, but in the last 20 years it has been filled with some of the best Asian restaurants in the country; there are more than 150 Chinese shops in Balmoral - half the businesses in the area. This, plus the appearance of some other delectable eateries, and the survival of the Capitol movie theatre, makes for a lively and colourful urban experience for locals and visitors.

Harwood Hole, Abel Tasman National Park

Like many beautiful and mysterious things, Harwood Hole is also dangerous. It is the 'deepest vertical shaft' in New Zealand, as various websites humorously tell us, with a depth of 357 metres, and no barriers around the entrance. If you're visiting the Abel Tasman National Park or Nelson, the forty-five minute walk to the cave system is not to be missed. 

Matukituki Valley: Track to Aspiring Hut

The Matukituki Valley is a beautiful area of the South Island with various walking tracks, just an hour's drive from Wanaka. The two best-known day walks are the tracks to Aspiring Hut and Rob Roy Glacier, both of which begin at the Raspberry Flats car park. Earlier this year we took the walk to Aspiring Hut, so here are some photos and words of encouragement to tempt you to get out the hiking boots. 

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