NEW ZEALAND – AUCKLAND[:]

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As you probably know, last month I took an 18 day vacation from the Lemonade Studio, a vacation the farthest away possible from Paris! I found a website that calculates the distance opposite yours using your geolocation, of course I can’t remember the name right now, but anyways, the furthest country away from France is New Zealand! I’ll spare you the travel details, I didn’t sleep a wink I was so excited. I watched about 20 movies during the 24 hour flight and the stop at Singapor. I caught up on all the films that came out during the last six months, there were so many that I have a hard time remembering all the stories, they’ve kind all gotten mixed up in my head... All of this goes to say that New Zealand is worth the trip! Once we got there, we went to our hotel in Auckland, the DeBrett, right away. It was really nice, ideally located in the heart of the city. We were so tired from being awake for 30 hours straight, plus there’s the 11 hours time difference. I won’t lie, it’s not easy to keep in touch with France. So if you really want to stay connected and share your adventures on social media, I recommend getting a 4G card there, because a new SIM card with a limited amount of data on it will end up costing more at the end of your trip... As for the technical stuff, their currency is the New Zealand dollar, $1 converts to about 59 euro cents, so you feel rich pretty quickly by dividing the price of everything in half... be careful, shopping temptations are everywhere! The country’s symbol is the kiwi, not the fruit but a flightless bird that’s covered with fine feathers that look like fur. It’s round like a ball with a little head and a very very long beak that picks insects out of the ground... All the New Zealand natives are called Kiwis. For example: “You Frogs, you’re always complaining about us Kiwis being so relaxed...” Welcome to another world: Paradise.
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Auckland’s downtown is unforgettable, it’s a big city that makes me think of Vancouver or Brisbane, but I think Thomas and I agree that we love the Ponsonby neighborhood, like to the point of “let’s drop everything and move here”. It’s a sort of suburb 2 km from downtown, where there are little cute, wooden, colonial­style houses, a big, long main street where you can find really cool cafés, concept stores, bars, markets and restaurants... But it’s still nice to get lost in a large city like Auckland, if some evening you’re too tired to go to Ponsonby, you can go: To eat (check out their websites, their designs are a treat to look at!) Ortolana: 33 Tyler St, Auckland, 1010 Odettes Eatery: 90 Wellesley St, Auckland, 1010 The Glass Goose: 78 Federal St, Auckland, 1010 To sleep:
Hotel Debrett: 2 High St, Auckland, 1010 There are a lot of Air B&Bs too in Auckland and the people are so nice! If you ever have time and it’s nice out, I recommend taking the ferry to Rangitoto Island to enjoy the amazing view of the city but be sure to take the “bus” when you get to the island... you’ll thank me later!
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In the Ponsonby neighborhood, I got the impression that store concepts, the restaurant decors, the packagings, and the merchandise are much bolder in this country! Everything is well done, nobody tries to imitate or fake a ‘Brooklyn style’, here it’s so fresh and liberated, as if the creators had nothing to prove and just wanted to do something they like. It’s so inspiring! A couple of friends live at Ponsonby and agreed that the neighborhood has a real laid­back lifestyle. However, housing is rather expensive: to give you an idea, rent is equal to or more than in Paris...
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Wanting to explore the neighborhood, we went on a tour with Zest Food Tours, lead by a local who showed us around their favorite places, it was really neat, I think that I went into all the stores that I wanted too and I tasted all the samples they gave me! It was so nice! I recommend it for an easy­going tour.
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I don’t really have any addresses in particular to give you, everything was so cool. I recommend the website Neat Places, a beautiful city guide (there’s also an app for that), since I tried out lots of their addresses, I say you can pick any of them blindly! Later on the trip, in Christchurch, we met one of the founders, Marcia (love names that end in ‘A’) but I’ll tell you more about that in another article!

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Then again, I did have two absolute favorite addresses, the Orphean Kitchen restaurant, since the chef is so kind, he knew right away from our three cameras that we weren’t from the area and he recommended hotels and restaurants for the different cities we were going to visit, and he never told us he was the chef of these places... Tom was so cool! Loved his creative cuisine! And then afterwards, we got lost and we had a drink in a hidden Ponsonby bar, The Golden Drawn! Here I tasted for the first time the local lemonade ‘Lemony’, I was such a fan of their packaging that our friends gave me a poster of Lemmy the lemon! Anyways, Ponsonby, I love you. Here’s a photo gallery with pictures just from these amazing places... Click on the arrows to the left and right to go through them! Orphean Kitchen : 118 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland 1011. The Golden Draw : 134 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland 1011.
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Afterwards we were in for a great surprise: Piha Beach! This beach is well known, you’ve probably seen in in many movies, one of which was a favorite from my childhood, ‘The Piano’. This place is BEAUTIFUL! It’s breathtaking, I never wanted to leave, the weather was so perfect... we took a van from Auckland’s Sky Tower to Piha Beach’s canyons...

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With the Awol Adventures group that offers tours of Canyoning: rappelling down mountains for beginners and experts... We had never ever done it! It was crazy, first we had a little introduction to climbing and rappelling basics... it was very safe. Then we climbed, climbed and climbed some more to the top of a mountain to a little creek that turned into a huge waterfall! Then we rappelled down, swimming... Obviously I didn’t bring my camera! But our guide loaned me their waterproof phone, I shared several of these pictures on Instagram! It was an amazing experience I’d do over again for sure, at the end we stayed drinking coffee on the Phiba beach for a long time, in heaven. I would have loved to surf here... Piha Café:20 seaview Road, Piha...
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Don’t forget to click on the arrows to the left and right of the picture to go through the gallery! Looking back, I can’t believe we were there... I can still feel my hair, wet from the waterfall and the warm sun on my skin... and before going back to Christchurch, we met Kate Sylvester!

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Kate is a New Zealand stylist that has had her own brand, Kate Sylvester, for over 20 years: it’s a high quality, premium brand that knew how to adapt to the market by starting a younger and more affordable brand: Sylvester. She also has beautiful home decorations! Kate has worked in Paris for Corinne Cobson on rue Charlot, with her husband, Wayne. It was so nice to get to meet them, I was rather impressed since we’d seen her boutiques and her brand lots of times in numerous concept stores. Kate is very welcoming, she talked to us about her collections, her inspirations, and her New Zealand and Chinese creations. It’s funny because for them China is kind of like our Portugal, it’s a way to outsource production while keeping it close. By the way, it was Kate and Wayne that recommended Orphean Kitchen to us... I think it’s a great way to get to know a place by letting recommendations and unplanned meetings guide you...
[gallery ids="15806,15804,15805,15803"] Translated by Whitney Bolin[:]

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