New Zealand Honeymoon

When Drew and I started planning out honeymoon we knew that we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been. We wanted to go somewhere that would have the perfect combination of beach, relaxation, romance, and adventure. Bora Bora was top of mind (until we realized a hamburger is about $100 there) and so was New Zealand. New Zealand hit all the check marks for us! We wouldn’t get bored laying by a beach every day for a week and we’d be able to do wine tastings, hikes, beaches, and explore a completely new place!

Our Itinerary

First Stop: Auckland

My recommendation if you’re going to New Zealand is to only do one day in Auckland. We spent two nights there and, in retrospect, would have only done one and then continued on to our next stop. It’s not a bad place at all, it’s just not the “pure New Zealand” we were looking for.

Auckland Recommendations:

  • One Tree Hill

  • Mount Eden

  • Britomart

Second Stop: Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is just a 45 minute ferry ride from Auckland is known for it’s beautiful beaches and vineyards. You can also do a day trip ferry here and just go wine tasting but I would recommend going for at least two nights, if not three! We stayed at the cutest hotel called The Boatshed. It overlooked the water and the owners were so nice and accommodating! They have a chef who makes delicious breakfasts every morning and for an additional cost, you can also have dinner there, which I highly recommend! We did one beach day and one day wine tasting. It is such a quaint island and the little one street town has delicious restaurants as well!

Waiheke Recommendations:

  • Lodging: The Boatshed

  • Vineyards:

    • Man O’ War Vineyard

    • Mudbrick Vineyard

    • Stonyridge Vineyard

    • Cable Bay

  • Restaurants:

    • The Oyster Inn

    • Fenice Italian

    • Private dinner at Boatshed

Third Stop: Nelson

Nelson is a small city on the northern most point of the southern island. It is known for Abel Tasman National Park, which is not to be missed! We stayed at Te Koi Lodge, which a luxury lodge about 45 minutes from Abel Tasman. There are not a ton of nice hotels close to the park, so I highly recommend this lodge, it is truly a destination in itself! We had ended up doing dinner at the lodge every night, since the owner is a professionally trained chef and would cook mouth watering meals every night for the guests. If you can, I would recommend doing two days at the Park, one for a day hike on the Coastal Track, and one to do a kayaking / boat day.

Nelson Recommendations:

  • Lodging: Te Koi - Lodge at Bronte

  • Activities: Abel Tasman National Park

    • Do a day hike of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

    • Kayaking excursion through Wilson’s

  • Dining:

    • Private dinners at Te Koi

Fourth Stop: Queenstown

Queenstown is the wow factor from the moment you fly in. The actual city is pretty small and it is all centered around Lake Wakatipu. However, it may be small, but it is even more mighty! There is SO much to do here, it is called the adventure capital of the world for a reason! We stayed at the Azur Lodge, which is easily the nicest place I’ve ever stayed. We did not want to leave the room, it was so beautiful! We did 4 days in Queenstown and did everything from paragliding, souvenir shopping, the shotover jet (you have to google video this!), to a taking a helicopter to a glacier. It was incredible!

Queenstown Recommendations:

  • Lodging: Azur Lodge

  • Activities:

    • Paragliding

    • Skyline Queenstown & Luge

    • Shotover Jet

    • Bungee Jumping

    • Over the Top helicopter ride to glacier

    • Onsen Hot Pools

    • Day Trip to Lake Wanaka

  • Dining:

    • @Thai

    • Fergburger

    • Fishbone Bar & Grill

Fifth Stop: Milford Sound

We ended our honeymoon with the Mildford Track. I have had a lot of people ask me what the highlight of our honeymoon was and it really all was spectacular, but Drew and I agree that the Milford Track was the most special. The Milford Track is one of the great walks in New Zealand and Mildford Sound is referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. We used a company called Ultimate Hikes, which leads a group on this 5 day, 4 night trek, which is 33.5 miles total. It was so interesting meeting the other people in the group, who were from all over the world, and having this unique opportunity to talk to people whom you would never otherwise get to. To give you an idea, I was singing karaoke with a group of 11 Malaysians by the end! I would describe this trek as “glamping”. The company we used cooks all of your meals and each night you end at a lodge with a private room, shower, electricity, and, naturally, a bar! The trek itself is not overly hard, so do not let the 33.5 miles scare you away. The first and last day do not have any hiking and the middle three days are 10-13 miles each, most of which is flat, other than the 3rd day. This trek does take up a good part of the trip, especially if you are pressed for time, but I cannot recommend it enough! It is one of the most amazing things I have done in my life!

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Telluride could very well be my happy place. It's about a 6 hour drive from Denver, which is definitely a trek, but even the drive is beautiful. The town of Telluride is a former Victorian mining town, nestled into a box canyon, with stunning views every direction you look. Walking down main street, there are tons of restaurants, shops, coffee shops, quaint hotels, bars filled with live music, and the historic opera house. Bridal Falls, a 365 foot waterfall at the end of the box canyon, overlooks the entire town and is always in view as you stroll down the street.

Shop The Look

Shop The Look

This was my third year going to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and I fully intend to carry on the tradition. We arrived Thursday afternoon and got settled into our amazing condo in Mountain Village, which is just a gondola ride away from town. After unpacking and unloading the car (full of a Costco supply of food and drink to last through the weekend), we promptly went into town for a few drinks. For dinner, we went to one of the most amazing Thai restaurants called Siam. It is authentic Thai cuisine that you can't stop eating even after you're stuffed!

Friday morning I hiked Bear Creek Falls trail with some of my girlfriends. This is a hike I have done every time for the past three years and it never gets old! The trail can get a bit crowded, especially later in the day on these busy festival weekends, so we made it a point to get an early start. The trail is around 5 miles round trip and is moderate in difficulty. It is a steady incline the majority of the way, but the gorgeous views are there to distract you and then it ends at this incredible waterfall. We actually witnessed a proposal right when we got to the top. Cue the goosebumps! I would highly recommend this hike to anyone going to Telluride. The trail head is right in town, so you don't have to drive at all, and then at the end, you're right back in town to grab a sandwich. My guilty please is The Butcher & The Baker, which has the best sandwiches, salads, and little deli sides!

Shop The Look

After the hike and my well deserved sandwich at the end, it was time to head into the festival! If you have never been to a Telluride Bluegrass Festival, then add it to your list! Period. Even if you're not the biggest bluegrass fan, there is something about being in such a gorgeous location, surrounded by your closest friends, and enjoying this fun fiddle music while sipping on a cold drink that just cannot be beat.

Every morning hundreds of people start lining up to get a number to do the running of the tarps. I'm not even joking, last year a guy sitting in front of us broke his arm during the tarp run! It is intense to say the least. Definitely something to witness!

There really isn't a bad seat in the house but luckily we have a seasoned veteran in our group that is a VIP tarp runner and always gets us nice real estate. Once in the festival, it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the bluegrass! The festival food is not to be missed either! Some of my personal favorites are the dumplings, gyros, and fish tacos. My mouth is honestly watering just thinking about them!

The festival goes until midnight every day, so around 5 or 6 pm, we usually go back to the condo to quickly change into our warm clothes and then head back in to catch the headliner! This year Greensky played Friday night and Dispatch on Saturday. Both killed it!

Saturday was day 2 for us and after another successful tarp run by our VIP veteran, we settled into our spot and enjoyed another beautiful day in Telluride. Imagine being surrounded by  multicolored tarps, many of which have custom flags to identify their location, good people, good food, and good music. Combine that with the 360 mountain views and you have Telluride.

Packing for the festival, I went for a mix of Coachella meets Burning Man, with a mountain casual vibe. It gets pretty hot during the day there, around mid-80s and then cools off at night quickly. Daytime calls for shorts and a breezy tank top or lightweight sundress and nighttime requires jeans, boots, a flannel, and jacket. Anything honestly goes here though. You can wear tevas and a tye dye shirt and no one will even look twice. You do you at Telluride!


For more information on Telluride Bluegrass Festival, click here.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is easily one of my favorite places. The plane ride from Denver may be a long one but once you are there, it is so worth it! It is such a magical place where everything is luxurious and around every corner is something even more beautiful than before. I feel like when I'm there I've left reality and stepped into some posh Italian city. 

Worth Avenue, which is the main shopping district in the heart Palm Beach, is one of the most fabulous streets you will ever walk down. It is four blocks of pure luxury. Imagine Park Avenue meets Rodeo Drive meets a beautiful via somewhere in Florence. The shops are nothing short of amazing and range from the most high-end designers to small boutiques full of life and each unique in their own way. At the end of Worth Avenue lies the clock tower, impressive in it's own right, looking out onto the Atlantic.

As you stroll down Worth Avenue, there are entrances to many different pedestrian vias, each of which has it's own unique flavor and hidden shops and restaurants. One of my favorite things is just to walk through these, not knowing where I may end up! 

A few of my favorite Palm Beach shops, some on Worth Avenue and some just a short drive away, are Intermix, Sequin Jewelry, Island Company, C.Orrico, Rapunzles Closet, SoCapri, and CJ Laing.

Restaurants that I recommend are Buccan, Palm Beach Grill, Pizza Al Fresco (located in my favorite via with hydrangeas everywhere - pictured above), Avocado Grill (great lunch spot!), Taboo (a Palm Beach classic and staple), and the Seafood Bar at The Breakers Hotel.

You honestly cannot go wrong though! Just start walking through the vias on Worth Avenue and you are bound to stumble upon a hidden gem!

For my Palm Beach looks, I focused on preppy attire with a tropical flare. After all, Palm Beach is where Lilly Pulitzer got her start, so you know that pastels and bright fun colors are a must! Shop my Palm Beach looks below!