The Stunning North Island of New Zealand

They call it the land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa or simply: New Zealand! There is so much to see but for now, we’ll take you around The North Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand is known for their sheep, kiwi fruit, Hobbits and friendly people (called Kiwi’s). But those sweet people are also batshit crazy thrill seekers. It is with a reason that they opened up the first commercial bungee jumping location in the world (Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge near Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand ).

Start at the North Island

Since almost all European flights connect to Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand, I’ll cover that part first. You’ll have to come back here later to find out about the South Island shenanigans. If you are heading for New Zealand, make sure to check out Grab One on a regular basis, its the NZ Groupon and they offer pretty sweet deals, also on a lot of adventures!

Getting around

First things first, the distances in New Zealand are quite far, so make sure to get yourself some solid transportation around the islands. Of course it’s most adventurous to rent a camper van. But a normal car is also pretty cool. On a budget or on your own? Take a look at Stray Travel, they offer up some nice itineraries to get around by bus (and find travel buddies). Armed with a Lonely Planet or you’ll be able to book some sweet hostels. Be aware though, it’s a pricey country.

Bay of islands

Okay, ready for your first adventure? Drive or bus up to Northland, about 3 hours from Auckland. It’s where you enter the Bay of Islands, which is full of breathtaking views and cute small villages. And it’s also the place where you can get yourself thrown out of an airplane with a sassy Kiwi on your back. Of course accompanied by a parachute, it’s perfectly safe (although you won’t feel that way when you are hanging out of the plane on a 5 KM height). Skydiving above the Bay of Islands is gorge!

The grassy hills and azure waters dotted with islands will cause some serious neck pain from wanting to look all around you. You almost forget that you just tumbled down the sky and you are floating with just a thin piece of fabric behind you (oh right, and of course that sassy Kiwi). If you ever had just one fiber in your body thinking about doing this, the Bay of Island is the place to go! While you are in the area, there are tons of other nice things to do and to explore. Visit the most northern part, Cape Reinga, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman sea collide. Or book a day trip to 90 mile beach. This usually includes sand boarding on some steep dunes, another must for adventure seekers! 

Bay of Islands New Zealand


Just like most of the country, the Coromandel is beautiful and very different from other areas. From Auckland you can get there in 2,5 hours, enjoying the scenic road or take the ferry (but that leaves you out of transport once you arrive). This is where super famous cathedral cove is located and a ​ great spot to do some hiking or canoeing. Make sure to touch down at hot water beach.

Yep, this is the place to start digging some holes to create your own hot tub (or boil some eggs) as the underground hot springs warm up the water that comes up when you start removing the sand. After chilling in the warm water, it’s time to actually get some thrills (and chills). Leave the beach behind you and make way for the extremely freezing water. Yeah, the contrast is quite big, but the massive waves will make up for it. This is the time to jump and scream around in the water, as if you are ten years old again. It’s a pretty mean surf spot as well.

Cathedral Cove

Coromandel New Zealand
Endless walks on the beach

Tongariro Crossing

Lord of the Rings fans, pay attention! Here’s your chance to pretend to be Frodo or some other kind of Ork and walk around Mordor. Near Lake Taupo, in the middle of the North Islands lies the Tongariro National Park. Mt Ngauruhoe appears in the movies as Mt Doom and is a part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This (approximately) 7 hour hike will lead you through a volcanic wasteland and you will definitely recognise Middle Earth at it’s finest. Although the hike very is do-­able, make sure you have good walking shoes (leave your beloved Converse in your backpack) and watch the weather forecast as it can get a bit spooky (and dangerous) if the conditions are bad. But men oh men, this is one cool day trip. A beer at the end of the day is much deserved (and needed).

The Emerald lakes


Wanganui River

Where most travellers continue their trip south after completing the Tongariro or Lake Taupo, I advise you to stick around for a couple of days. Why? Because canoeing the Wanganui river is almost a life changing experience. Imagine a river, surrounded by lush green forest and high stone walls. Next to that, imagine paddling for 3 days through it with just you and your canoe buddy. That’s what happened to me and it was astonishing. Stress does not exist and complete peace of mind is guaranteed. Find a nice little bar and reminisce about all the adventures you’ve experienced on the North Island of New Zealand, memories for ever. I still think about it all, every day. And then I haven’t even told you about all the geothermal parks, surf spots and that place where the hobbits live…although this may be true, I guess you’ll just have to go find out for yourself!

Crossing the Wanganui River



Find out more about the South Island of New Zealand!

New Zealand travel movies

These are the best beaches and natural pools on Madeira

Madeira may not have that many sandy beaches, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sunbath on the island. The volcanic rocks created many natural pools and there are also plenty of man-made beaches and sundecks to choose from. We’ve selected the best ones for you.

Natural pools on Madeira

  • Porto Moniz are probably the most popular natural pools on the island. Mind you, it can be busy during the summer season.
  • Seixal Natural Pools are surrounded by stunning nature and a black beach. You can rent a lounger here.
  • Pocas Do Gomes/Doca Do Cavacas are not big but quite worth a visit! There is a natural pool next to the normal one and you can see the fish swim around your feet!
  • Cachalote Natural Pools are located at the entrance of Porto Moniz Village, right next to Cachalote restaurant and to the Aquarium at São João Baptista Fort.

View down on to the lava swimming pools at Porto Moniz on the island of Madeira.

Seixel Natural Pools Madeira
Seixal Natural Pools

  • Lido Galomar Bathing Complex is located in Canico and it combines a normal pools with a natural pools.
  • The Quinta do Lorde belongs to a luxurious resort which offers its guests this natural sea pool.

natural pools Madeira

Beaches on Madeira

  • Prainha is one of madeira’s best natural beaches and located near popular Ponta de São Lourenço. It offers sun beds, parasols and toilets.
  • Calheta, this man-made beach has a beach restaurant and bar and is also popular with the locals.
  • Porto do Seixal Beach, is a natural black sand beach located right next to Seixal harbour. It has no services and you should bring your own parasol when it gets hot.

Calheta Beach

  • Praia das Palmeiras is a rocky and popular beach that gets very busy during summer. It’s great for kids because there are free beach toys to play with and there is a lifeguard on site. The beach is separated into 2 different area’s. The pool (various opening times) and the pebbled beach which is open anytime.
  • Paul do Mar Beach, also known as Ribeira das Galinhas (Chicken’s River), is one of the most popular pebble beaches on the western coast, due to the pleasant atmosphere and beautiful landscape. The beach however, is rocky.
  • Ribeira do Faial is situated next to the wonderful Miradouro do Guindaste (see photo) Its not big but there are toilets, a restaurant plus an area for playing football.

Concrete beach Madeira

Happy swimming!


Are you looking for the full Madeira Island Guide

Madeira Guide

Why you should visit Ko Lanta

It’s been almost 4 years but I’m still dreaming of this place. Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta is an island Southwest of Krabi, Thailand. 
Young backpacker tribes mainly choose islands like Phuket, Ko Phi Phi or the busy east-side islands like Ko Phangan or Ko Tao.

Koh Lanta is the kind of island you will deliberately choose instead of just ending up there by mistake. From Ko Phi Phi it’s about a 2 hour boat trip and will cost about 400 bath. It’s also a gateway to tropical island Koh Lipe. You can book your ferry tickets hereWhen you arrive, there will be enough taxi’s and jeeps waiting in line to take you to your nearest accommodation.

Ko Lanta, Thailand

If you choose Koh Lanta, you know you chose a getaway 

When I arrived, I didn’t come prepared at all. No need to panic on Ko Lanta though. I met a man in Pai and he told me to get in touch with his Thai friend who apparently looked like a Thai version of Jack Sparrow. He didn’t lie. I arrived at long beach and a short Thai Jack Sparrow type man with dreads, walked over and offered to carry my backpack. He arranged some cheap, yet comfortable accommodation for me and I ordered the most delicious prawns at his bar/restaurant called The Pirate Bar. (no, I didn’t make this up)

Schermopname (23)
THE Thai Jack Sparrow look-alike

Fresh out of the sea, yummie!

The vibe on Ko Lanta is super chill, layed back and it’s the island in Thailand I felt my happiest. I only had 3 days which was a shame. I could have stayed here for much longer. Lucky enough I made some new friends on the day that I arrived. A Dutch couple, an American guy (who traveled around Asia on a dirt bike) and 2 German backpackers. We ended up drinking beers and cocktails until the sun set and watched a fire show (by this time I had seen too many though) after that we made our way to a beach party which I loved!

Now, bare in mind, Ko Lanta is no party island. But if you’re there during the weekend, you will find a few organized parties on the beach and nearby bars. If you don’t rent a scooter like I did, you need to share your tuk-tuk with fellow travelers.

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Chillin’ at Long Beach

The island is only 30km long and about 18km wide but without a scooter or quad-bike, you will make it difficult for yourself to travel around.
Ko Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (“Small Lanta Island”) and Ko Lanta Yai  (“Big Lanta Island”). Ko Lanta Yai is where it all happens so you will find most tourist here. Saying that, it never feels overcrowded and even though it was almost Christmas, I felt like it was an island I could completely relax on.

Panoramic view whilst road trippin in Ko Lanta. On the left are gumtrees.

When you start to explore Ko Lanta you have a few highlights you shouldn’t miss:
» Long Beach
I loved this beach. You have so many nice small restaurants and bars where you can chill and drink coconuts all day. Best for sunsets! 
This is also great for accommodation if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
» Ko Lanta Old town
Go back in time and visit old town where the old harbor use to be. Situated right next to the sea, this spooky town has charming features, shops and restaurants.

» Four Islands
If you have the time, visit the small four islands on a day tour. Go snorkeling, have a picnick and check out emerald cave.

» The south beaches
Drive all the way down to the southern part of the island and explore some of the hidden and beautiful beaches. 

» Visit the National Park
Look out for monkeys trying to steal your food. Entrance fee is about 200 THB or free if you arrive late (closes at 6pm)

Finding a secret beach was no problem (Cape Tanod)

relax on Ko Lanta, Thailand
My own private island! (just ignore the man in the background)

Where should you stay?
Depending on what your needs are, you could stay anywhere really. For the more lively area’s you should stay along side Klong Dao Beach. Here you will find plenty of bars/restaurants and facilities nearby. Long Beach is where I stayed and I highly recommend it although spending more than a week there might be a bit boring at night. Another chilled area is alongside Klong Nin Beach where you will find reggae bars, coffee houses, simple accommodation and luxury resorts.

If you go to Thailand and you haven’t made up your mind yet where you want to go..? Make sure you don’t skip Ko Lanta!

More on Thailand? Check below!



Earthquake wipes away the 2 most beautiful beaches in Greece!

Remember my post about Lefkas, Greece last year? I will refresh you memory; I visited parts of the Ionian islands 2 summers back and one of the places I visited was Lefkas. My jaw dropped so many times during this trip as the beaches are somewhat special. I’m talking about Egremni beach and Porto Katsiki
These beaches are home to some of the bluest water you will ever see and on Egremni beach I could walk for miles without seeing anyone! The 2 most beautiful beaches in Greece. But in November a huge landslide washed away parts of Egremni and Porto Katsiki beach causes by an earthquake, which was marked as 6.1 ‘strong’ on the Richter Scale. Piles of sand, rocks and dust came on crashing down on the 2 favorite beaches, changing the picture perfect view.

Egremni beach Lefkas
Me at Egremni Beach in Lefkas

Wanderlust at Egremni BEach

Egremni Beach Greece
Behind me is the exact spot where the landslide happened

Egremni Beach now looks like this:

Egremni Beach after the landslide..

Porto Katsiki Beach was less destroyed as it only washed away the end of the beach but it also changed the amazing viewing point a great deal.

Porto Kasiki: The view back in 2014..

The incredible Porto Katsiki Beach

Porto Katsiki after landslide
The end of the beach has disappeared completely.

People are trying their best to restore the beaches as fast as they can because summer is coming and Greece needs their tourist more than ever. Nevertheless, I still advice you to visit this incredible island because it’s amazing! Let’s hope it will cleaned up before the high season starts. For more info about Lefkas, read my blogpost here.



Top 5 » Most colorful beaches in the world

If you like beaches as much as we do, then you should definitely read on.
Some beaches are greater than other but these beaches have something extra special in common.They all have amazing colors!
We’ve lined up our top 5 most colorful beaches in the world that I was lucky to visit 2 of!
( If you can’t have a unicorn, than this might come closest to what you can experience ;-))

1. White haven beach, Australia
The sand is so fine that you can brush your teeth with it! That’s exactly what I did!
The sand is one of the whitest you will find anywhere on earth.


Brushing my teeth at Australia’s whitest beach

2. Pink Beach at Harbour Island, Bahamas
Wow, can a beach be even more perfect? This beach has a pink glow because tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells live in the coral reefs that surround the beach. Once they break and shatter because of the waves and wind, you are left with this wonderful display of pinkness. One of the most colorful beaches for sure!
(this picture has been edited a bit I think, but still: AWESOME!)


3. Red Beach in Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a volcanic island and has 2 beaches with colors you may not see anywhere else. Black and red. The red beach is by far the most impressive.
Not the best place to swim but great for shooting pictures! I was there this summer and I can recommend it!

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Weird but beautiful. Red Beach in Santorini

“These colorful beaches are worth traveling for”

4. Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii
The beach is located near Ka Lae, the southernmost point in Hawaii and is not a easy beach to get to. You need to endure a tough and hot hike for about 3 miles but when you get there it’s pretty amazing. The sand is made out of olivine, a green mineral, and comes from Puu Mahana, a volcanic cone nearby.


5. Glass Beach
Not natural but nevertheless extraordinaire. In the 20th Century the people of Fort Bragg dumped their trash including glass over the cliff that’s now called glass beach. After many years, the beach was finally cleaned but they couldn’t remove all the pieces of broken glass. As a result, the remaining pieces got washed and rounded by the sea and you end up with a beautiful display glass putting this in our top 5 of most colorful beaches.


More top 5? Check here:


These were our best travel moments of 2015

Looking back to a great travel year! o many Travel moments. From Hongkong, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, to Barcelona, Ibiza, Greece and Milan.
We love to explore, discover, wander and travel the world! The beauty, the warmth of people, delicious food, dazzling sunsets, stunning white sandy beaches, street art, festivals, jungle, impressive architecture and hospitality are the things that we have seen, done and explored.
We feel blessed that also this year we have seen many wonderful and magical places and discovered new spots. Things that makes us very happy – travel the world!

‘ These were our best travel moments of 2015′

1. Malaysia
In November Sarah went to Malaysia and she had to the best time of her life!
From a jungle trekking, snorkeling trip, idyllic beaches, street art in Penang George Town to the best food she’s ever had. Soon more on our website.

George Town

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Travel moments to never forget

2. Thailand, Koh Lipe
Just a 2 hour boat trip from Langkawi in Malaysia brings you to Koh Lipe. You will arrive at a Postcard-Perfect Tropical Island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday!Read More: »
 Koh Lipe Island Guide

Thailand 4

Thiland 5

3. Philippines
Nothing beats some good old island hopping. Something that everyone should visit once in their life is the Philippines! Sleeping in tents on the beach, see the most breathtaking sunsets, amazing nature, unbelievable beautiful beaches that are close to heaven and paradise.
Life is a beach! Soon more on our website.


One of Elke’s best travel moments of last year

4. Greece
Greece has great diversity and a range of places and landscapes.
Food, beahces, people, music, weather, Greece is a fantastic destination for every season.
Read More:
» This is why you should visit Greece
» Explore the ionian islands


Travel moments Greece
Travel moments in Greece

5. Ibiza
If you visit Ibiza, you should definitely stay in the cute little village Santa Gertrudis and visit hotel, restaurant & spa Na Xamena Hacienda!

Santa Gertrudis is a small village that has grown a lot, but has managed to keep the essence of Ibiza’s architecture located in the center of the island. The best thing about it, is that you will enjoy various delicious cuisines with a traditional rustic atmosphere.
Hancienda is perched on a cliff edge 180 meters above the sea, surrounded by an idyllic Mediterranean pine forest where Sarah spent the first day of her holiday.
Na Xamena Hacienda has the best and most impressive view of Ibiza, hidden on the North side of the island.
Read More:
Hacienda Na Xamena » Paradise in Ibiza
» Best Food Hotspots in Ibiza

Hacienda 1
Ibiza travel moments

6. Milan
Milan is best known as the Italian fashion capital thanks to it’s historic fashion houses, and the four yearly fashion weeks. But, it has so much more to offer; quaint little streets, great shopping and more hidden gems.
Read More:

» 5 reasons why you should visit milan
» The best food spots in Milan

Travel moments Milan

7. Barcelona
Elke went to Barcelona to enjoy tapas and some sunshine but I also flew over to report about DGTL Festival with incredible international DJ’s.
Read More:
» Top 5 reasons why you should live in Barcelona
» Festival report » DGTL Barcelona

Barcelona 2015

8. HongKong
Hong Kong is known for its skyline, harbour, restaurants, cuisine and shopping. Elke went to Hong Kong and set herself on a mission: Find the best DimSum in Hong Kong.

Read More:
» On a Mission to find the best DimSum

Hong Kong

Thanks a lot for all your support in the last year.
New adventures begin in 2016!

Happy NewYear!!!


Elke & Sarah

Top 5 » most beautiful beaches of Ibiza

The first time I visited Ibiza was 2 years ago. I fell in love straight away. Ibiza is known for it’s clubs and famous DJ’s from all over the world, but it seriously has  a lot more to offer!
Ibiza has everything you need for the perfect summer holiday; Sunshine, palm trees, white sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets, great food, terrific views and very friendly people – and don’t forget the sexy language:). Exactly what I needed after some very busy working months. I booked my ticket and found some very nice spots that are worth sharing with you!

Purpose: Chill, relax, soak up vitamins, tanning and eat & drink as much as possible!

Read more

Discovering the Cyclades » Folegandros & Santorini

After 3,5 days sightseeing in Naxos, it was time to visit my 2 most anticipated islands of the Cyclades: Folegandros & Santorini.
Both islands are very different in many ways but nevertheless extremely beautiful in their own right.


Folegandros and Santorini

From Naxos I took the ferry to Folegandros but if you do, always make sure you check the ferry times before planning your trip.
My ferry stopped at about 3 different islands before arriving in Folegandros and by that time it was evening and I missed a whole day.
When you arrive in Folegandros, you can take a public bus to the village which cost about 1.80 euro’s per person and takes you there in less than 15 min.

The island is very small and you immediately get a sense of the peace & calmness this place represents.
It was easy to find my bed for the night because all the locals know each other and when I asked for my reservation at “Castro“, I was pointed in the right direction. The more steps I took, the more I fell in love. Guesthouse Castro owes its name from the location where it’s found, in the region of the medieval Castle of Folegandros. The Castle of Folegandros functioned as a defensive fortress and.. I got to sleep there. How cool!
The friendly owners guided me to my room and although it was getting dark, my mouth fell open when I saw my balcony with probably the best view in town!

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The amazing private balcony at Castro’s

At night, the town turns into a romantic bohemian village. Trees with lights cover the top of outside restaurants. There are 6 different squares divided and each one of those has another cute place to eat.
I arrived on a Saturday and because most Greek people are free on Sunday, the town is vibrant and alive.
You will see everyone having a drink, pretty much everywhere where they can sit. If you want to join in the fun, you should try Raki, Ouzo or a hot drink I wasn’t familiar with, called Rakomelo. It tastes a bit like Glühwine and is delicious!

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A bohemian dream

Folegandros is too beautiful to lay in your bed for too long, so I advice you to get up early. The town is wonderful in the morning and great to shoot some nice pictures.
My balcony was a great place to have breakfast but you should also go into town and sit in one of the beautiful gardens to drink coffee. I had breakfast at Pounda where you can enjoy a Greek breakfast whilst looking at beautiful flowers.

The town of Chora is beautiful for walking around

completely zen at  Agios Nikolaos beach. Wearing a colorful bikini of Triangl

The best beaches in Folegandros are Agios Nikolaos beach (if you like peace and quiet), Agali beach (more popular) and the beach near the port, Karavostasi beach.
I wish I had more time to explore this special island but I had already booked my next ferry to Santorini. If you are planning to visit Folegandros, I would stay at least 4 days.

With the fast boat you can get to Santorini within 45 min. Ferries can be late sometimes so always prepare yourself for this. Book your ferry ahead as it will save you money and you can do this online or at one of the tourist offices you will find in the main areas.
Coming into Santorini is something special. The impressive rock formations leave your mouth wide open and the thought that this island lays next to a vulcano, makes it even more special.

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The ferries look small compared to the impressive coastline. The volcano on the right.

Santorini is an island that attracts many tourist so if you are doing the Cyclades tour, this is the one you shouldn’t miss. It is rather special. If you want a little less touristy but still enjoy the amazing views whilst waking up, you should definitely book your accommodation in Imerovigli.
With the busy Oia on the right side and the main town of Thira only 10 min away, it’s the perfect place to stay and enjoy breathtaking views.

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Breaktaking views from the Absolutely Bliss Hotel in Imerovigli. 

Did you know Santorini has a White, Black and Red beach? The island is not known for it’s beautiful sandy beaches but if you get a chance, you should visit Red beach and Kamari Beach where you can find sunbeds, beach restaurants and shops.

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A red beach, who knew!

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Red or Black. Only on Santorini

If you visit Santorini with your partner, you should definitely book a romantic dinner for 2 but… do something different and eat in one of the old villages like Pyrgos. Why? Because it’s authentic, the food taste amazing and it’s half the price!
Still enjoy a meal with that-oh-so-amazing-view? Have breakfast at one of the many hotel breakfast options along the cliff. If you want to shop for some nice jewelry and high-end clothes, you should visit Oia but do it at the end of the day or early in the morning when it’s not boiling hot. Yes, there will be a lot of tourist so prepare yourself and breath in, breath out. You’ll be fine 🙂

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Romantic dinner for 2 anyone?

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Realizing the craaazy view. Picture shot at Oia.

One of the other must do’s in Santorini is to walk to the top of Skaros Rock right across Imerovigli.
It’s about a 20 min walk when you start across and you can get right to the top if you can get past your fear of heights.
My legs were shaking a little bit while I was climbing up the last bit, but it was totally worth seeing the sun disappear into the sea. 
You can also get up early and walk all the way to Oia or back. For this walk you need some trainers or steady shoes. It takes about 3,5 hours from Thira to Oia and about 1,5 hours from Imerovigli.

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Skaros Rock on the left with Imerovigli on the right

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And on top of the world on Skaros rock. (still weak in the knees!)

As I said, Folegandros & Santorini are two different and unique islands, but they also have a lot of similarities.
To make things a little easier…

Romance? Check.
Best views? Check.
Tasty cuisine? Check.
You want to chill to the max? Pick Folegandros.
You want to shop and feel like a princess? Pick Santorini.
You want to see paradise? Pick both.



Missed the previous adventures of Elke’s Greek Island hopping tour?
Check her post about Naxos and Mykonos.