Destinations New Zealand Oceana

Chillin’ Out in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of my dream destinations. From what I’ve read and seen, it seems to be the perfect place for both the adventurous and the laid-back. So I asked my old friend, photographer Dody Pena (currently living in Wellington, NZ) what makes NZ tick and why it looks like he has no plans of coming home just yet…

It took me 20 years to find a place with the laid-back lifestyle and scenery I wanted. Rugged coastlines, nostalgic lighthouses, cool fresh air – was it too much to ask if all these could just be within 30 minutes’ drive away from home? Wellington, New Zealand, gave me all of these, and more.

Oriental Bay: I love Christmas trees. When I first came to New Zealand, this was the spot that did it for me. It was autumn afternoon then and we drove along Oriental Bay with all the trees lit like Christmas trees.

A one-hour lunch break from work could allow me to drive to the coast with my picnic basket, sit under a tree and munch on a sandwich while waves crashed on the shores and seagulls cried above me.

Depending on whether it’s winter or summer, I could walk to my favourite ice cream shop and get a scoop or two of pistachio-lemon, or a cup of steamy espresso and a warmed-up savoury scone to match.

Wairarapa viewpoint: Breathtaking Castlepoint where the Pacific Ocean seemed to stretch out to infinity.

A beanie or a cap, boots or sandals, a comfortable spot by the shore, and then the endless sea that reaches out to infinity. This is what makes Wellington tick, it’s compact, it’s friendly, it’s hip, it’s artsy. Wellington definitely is what Lonely Planet says it is, the coolest little capital in the world.

Makara Beach: Just a 15 minute drive from the city, Makara Beach is for those who want to shift from urban life to rugged nature in little time. Often lashed by gales, it can still have perfect quiet summer days.

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