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With bright sunny skies one day and wind that will (literally) blow you away the next, finding the right activity to do in summer isn’t always an easy pick for Wellingtonians.

Spending a few summers here, I’ve found that if the weather isn’t playing ball, there’s always something to do around town or elsewhere. Most of all, the locals tend to always be out and about no matter what.

This creative city, or the coolest little capital, has so much life that is often forgotten under the haze of Auckland’s city lights and the mountainous ranges of Queenstown. Don’t let it fool you, Welly is beautiful and thriving, and a summer must-do for visitors to New Zealand.

Drive to makara for hiking

Makara Beach is a stunner, and just a short drive from Karori (Wellington’s largest residential area). Above the beach is where the real magic happens. You can drive to the top to scour the cliffs or hike up from the beach to reach unbelievable views to the South Island. If you are going to hike, wear appropriate footwear, a windbreaker, and bring plenty of water — on a sunny day, it’s a tough one.

Enjoy a pint at a wellington brewery

The craft beer in Wellington is seriously good. Along with the beer, comes brewery spaces that rival any of the bars in town. When the sun’s out, head to a brewery over one of the pubs in the centre of town.

Some of my personal faves around Welly:

go for a park stroll

(And wear water shoes!)

Even on the foggiest of days, Wellington has amazing community areas which are quite lacking where I’m from in Sydney. Walking paths and bike trails galore. Down at Karori Park (pictured), there’s a decent loop for walking and cyclists or if you’re up for more of a challenge, the mountain biking trails at Makara are very close by.

Adventure & travel shoe company Aleader kindly gifted me a pair of water shoes for summer, and I’ve been wearing them as replacement walking shoes as it’s so wet here in Welly. They’re light enough that you can go for a leisurely stroll, but also durable enough to go tramping through water and damp fields.

Get 15% off your own pair of Aleader water shoes using the code AMIE15.

Take in the view at Mt. Vic

A Wellington classic. This is probably the only weather-permitting suggestion as it is so incredibly windy up at the lookout. It is 196m above the city after all, but you can literally see everything about this special city from coastline to mountain ranges.

grab a skateboard and roll around the Treetops

The Treetops is known as Wellington’s best skate spot… and it’s all a DIY project by locals. Even if you don’t skate, it’s worth a look. The purposefully-built skate area is in an old carpark with towering trees surrounding the jumps. It’s also a great lookout point for the Wellington Zoo’s new chimp exhibition.

go in search of new zealand coffee

Like your coffee strong? New Zealand is the place for you, with every brew a double shot. Whenever I need a good cuppa in the city, it’s Mojo Coffee that I’ll gravitate towards — it’s everywhere and the coffee is in pretty greeny-blue cups, plus it’s good coffee.

Other coffee hotspots in town:

  • Fidel’s Cafe on Cuba Street
  • Flight Coffee Hangar
  • Midnight Espresso

Basically, just head to Cuba Street and you’ll find delicious coffee. Or a Mojo sign will always mean above-average coffee.

roadtrip to the Kapiti Coast

Around 60 kilometres north of Wellington City is the town of Waikanae, home to a stunning beach, gorgeous holiday homes, and cute brunch spots… and the weather is warmer. Much, much warmer. Escape the Wellington chill without driving all day and night, even just for a day trip to walk along Waikanae Beach.

Hike from karori to the otari-wilton bush

We set out to hike the Skyline Walkway above Wellington for around 5 hours, but the bad signposting meant we ended up in the Otari-Wilton Bush. We still don’t know where we went wrong.

Instead, the walk went for around 3 hours, ending back in Karori at the Cemetery. Try for a clear day so you can really soak in all the views; I’m sure we missed the best of them, but it was still a lovely stroll up the mountain with views stretching over the harbour, cityscape and suburbs.

Despite the pretty average weather all year round (Wellingtonians don’t lie), this city has the perfect mix of urban and country life. It’s unbelievable how one moment you can be in the heart of the CBD and the next, by the sea or up in the clouds looking over the mountains.

Have you been to Wellington? If so, where do you like to adventure during the warmer months?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a digital nomad is, first, how I make money online, then, how the hell do I stay healthy in Asia?!

The first time I travelled to Asia I was terribly unhealthy, so I understand the concern and the frustration around full-time travel and living a healthy lifestyle.

I am different now. I was 19 then, I am 24 now. I have more balance in my life and more drive to live and feel good in my body & mind. But, along the way, I have picked up some healthy travel tips & tricks that have helped me from transit to daily life to everything-in-between.

What to Pack for the Plane

Healthy Food for the Plane

Yes, you can bring food on the plane. A common misconception is that you HAVE to eat the slop that they serve you on planes.

As long as you’re not bringing soup or some other kind of liquid, you can pack your meals beforehand and avoid nasty plane food.

I generally only do this if I’m flying from Australia, as I can make the food in my own kitchen and refrigerate it up until I need to leave for the airport.

Some healthy travel food to consider packing:

A veggie falafel wrap
Healthy fried brown rice
Hummus and carrot sticks
Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)

Nothing too messy or smelly should be your main point of concern here. By packing your own food, you know exactly what’s in it.

If you’re tight on time or don’t have access to your usual healthy snacks, I suggest one of two options:

  • Pre-book a vegetarian or vegan meal for your flight. They’re generally healthier than the standard meals, some even coming with brown bread instead of white, and fruit instead of subpar dessert.
  • Pick up a Subway (veggie) sandwich at the airport and bring it on the flight. We tend to do this a lot in Asia, as it’s an easy way to get brown bread and a tonne of salad in to keep us full on the plane. Cut out the cheese & the heavy sauces.

Health and Skincare Necessities

On every flight, I never wear makeup. I’d love to look pretty on a flight, but it’s not worth the gross, tight, dried-up skin from flying. Instead, I stay (overly) moisturised. I make sure I have some rosehip oil on me and a good overall moisturiser. Pack some baby wipes too if that helps your skin feel fresher.


Healthy in South East Asia: What to Do When You Reach Your Destination

When travelling overseas, it’s pretty standard that you can’t drink straight from the tap. That’s one of the incredible parts of living and travelling in your own country that you just don’t get when you’re abroad.

Stock up on water ASAP.

If you know you’re going to be somewhere for a while, buy your water in bulk from the local 7/11 or Family Mart. Try to get a big carton so you’re reducing your plastic waste. We also tend to grab soda water in bulk as, despite being wrapped in plastic, they’re in glass bottles so your single-use plastic usage is much, much smaller.


Where and What to Eat

The food in any foreign location is brand new — you want to try it all. Does Thai food take the same as what it does in your home country? What are those weird fried buns? I must have them all!

A balance between your usual diet and the delights of travel will keep you on track. Finding the balance? That’s the hard part.

Opt for one meal of the day to be the SAME each day if you know you can get off track. Decide on a healthy muesli and almond milk for breakfast, the same tofu salad for lunch, or a healthy curry & brown rice for dinner… whatever it is, be consistent with ONE meal.

Find the ‘healthy eating’ spots in the area. Every city (note: city, not town) will have some form of health culture that you can dive into. We’re blessed with all the fresh fruit in Phuket, and of course, all the health nuts that come here to experience the destination gyms. You’re never too far from a healthy meal over here.

QUICK HEALTH TIPS

  • Cut out the unnecessary sugars. Instead of ordering a Sprite or Coke, change it up with some water, sparkling water, kombucha or tea. We DON’T need soft drink to thrive, you can cut it out & use it as a special occasion treat… say for Friday night or Saturday lunch. The more you rely on the sweetness of soft drink, the less you’ll be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Choose the veggie option. I know I’m already a huge advocate for plant-based eating, but especially when travelling, it can be simply the smart thing to do. Depending on where you are in the world, the meat can often be transported for DAYS on end. It’s not always as simple as it is in Australia or New Zealand where it virtually feels like farm to table.

Travel & Fitness: How to Commit on the Move

Walk everywhere. You have fully-functioning legs — use them. If you can walk there in 20-60 minutes, lace up your sports shoes and get going.

Book your hotel (if that’s the route you’re going) based on whether there’s a gym. It doesn’t matter about the quality of the gym, as long as you’ve got access to the gym floor, some weights and a treadmill, you can do a pretty good workout.

For holiday-goers, relax and don’t pressure yourself — even three times a week will get you in a good physical and mental place to take on the day. For digital nomads, sticking to your regular routine is crucial, so do keep in mind whether you will have access to a fitness facility, either in your hotel or close by.

GYM ROUTINES & PROGRAMS

In any city, you can do a daily drop in at a gym. Any good gym will offer you a bottle of water, a towel and a locker. Rates can be anything from a few dollars to $20+ per day here in Asia. Not a gym lover? No worries, I get anxiety too when it comes to working out next to buff dudes. I have NO CHILL when it comes to dealing with machines, etc. I often search for classes or let my partner lead the workout, otherwise an in-room workout will do the job.

We stay in hostels quite often, so it’s not possible to do your own workout in a dorm room, but if you can, I would suggest downloading an app such as Kayla Itsines’ Sweat or Keep It Cleaner, by Steph Claire Smith & Laura Henshaw. Find a workout on YouTube, there’s so many for free and only take around 20 mins per day. Easy!


To sum it all up, stress less. Keep your health a top priority and you won’t feel the need to worry about when / if / how to get it done. Just do what suits you and your body, whilst nourishing your mind at the same time. I focus on my health so I can think clearer, feel fit, see all the sights, and be content within myself at the end of the day.

It’s not the usual destination to live as a millennial expat. In Thailand, you can generally expect a crowd of backpackers, honeymooners, families, or really (really) old expats.

We’re 24 & 34.
A couple keeping that Australia-New Zealand partnership strong.
We met in Sydney, Australia (my home), where we lived and worked in the inner-city and lower North Shore.

We, still, are at a time in our lives where adventure is high on the priority list. Corporate life, we’ve been there, we’ve done that, and it’s not for us.

Our ten-year age gap may confuse some, but for us, it’s pretty clear that we operate on the same wavelength.

Thailand… but why? I get it. I asked (my now) fiance the same question. I wanted Vietnam, it captured my heart in 2012 and the way of life seemed more my speed. Plus, cafe-heaven.

The more and more we talked about it, I couldn’t let my partner’s dream to train Muay Thai just slip.

We didn’t just leap into life in Thailand. First, we travelled from Sydney, Australia to my fiance’s hometown (and our future home) of Wellington, New Zealand. We spent a month there, ate way too much cheese, drank in craft beer pubs almost everyday, and played with our niece and nephews until we were well and truly exhausted.

Then, we stuffed our lives into two 20kg Kathmandu backpacks to spend a few (expensive) days in Singapore before travelling by bus to Malaysia where the digital nomad life really begun.

From Malaysia, we saw Sri Lanka for the first time. The trains, the bridges, the wildlife, the beaches. We loved it.

For my Christmas present, my fiance booked us in for a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp, Nepal. Umm… what? Yeah, not my idea of a holiday. But, here’s a spoiler alert: it changed my freakin’ life in more ways than one, although that’s a story for another day.

By the end of that, we were ready for Thailand. Oh so ready.

So… back to the why. I’m comparing our lives here, to our lives back in Sydney, and you may get a sense of why we packed up our entire existence to spend 6 months in Phuket, Thailand.

Rent in Thailand

If you didn’t already know, Phuket is the most expensive part of Thailand, but even then, it’s nothing compared to Sydney.

Sure, we could have battled the way of life up in Chiang Mai or Pai to save a few dollars, but Phuket was calling for one reason: Muay Thai.

Still, the rent was remarkably cheap here. And yes, it’s cheaper to rent through an apartment than it is to simply board through your gym or guesthouses.

Let’s put this in perspective. In Sydney, we lived in Redfern. A now much-gentrified suburb of inner-Sydney, but it’s got a bad rep… and during the weekday, it’s kinda sketchy. But for us, we loved the vibe and how close it is to the city. Oh and that ‘bad rep’ means that rent is cheaper than other parts of the city that are literally 500m-1km away.

We’ll take the grit & the grime of the 2016 over the ‘posher’ suburbs and their hiked up price tags.

The numbers. So, in Redfern, we lived in a split-level one-bedroom, one-bath apartment. We had two balconies, but our bedroom was right on the main road (i.e. I didn’t sleep for two years). No natural light. No actual bathtub. The kitchen blended into the living room, but not in a good way.

We paid ~$475 per week, excluding bills. Around $2,000 a month.

In Phuket, we have a one-bed, one-bath again. This time, it’s furnished. Kitchen is smaller, but somewhat more functional. But we NEVER cook here (see below). The building has 24/7 security. An incredible POOL. Oh, and we don’t have tiles, which I hate with a fiery passion. We have one tiny balcony, but a view of the Big Buddha (a Phuket must-see travel attraction).

We pay ~14,000 baht per month, including electricity and water. Around AUD$600. That’s $150 per week for two people. We paid that in board at my parent’s house. So yeah, it rules.

Food in Thailand

We don’t cook in Thailand, which I miss, but also the cost of food in the supermarket is so high you’d have a heart attack if you come from Sydney.

All the vegetables are pre-packaged. ALL OF THEM. Unless you’re at a market, of course. In the supermarket, you can’t just get a tomato or a capsicum without 3 others and handing over the equivalent of AUD$10. It’s absurd.

What you can do though, is head to a cafe (even a Western cafe), and grab a huge feed for around $4-$8 for two. Some of the cheaper, Thai-run places, can serve you an instant coffee and a bowl of muesli and poached eggs on toast for around $3. Steal.

Lifestyle in Thailand

Chalong, where we live in here in Phuket, has a base of an incredibly health-focused community. Mainly due to the Muay Thai gyms, as it’s a popular one-month holiday destination for fitness junkies. On ‘the Soi’ (meaning street in Thai), you can find everything you can in Surry Hills in Sydney. Fresh juices (at $2-3, rather than $9+), avocado on toast, chia seed protein shakes, vegan pancakes… whatever you fancy health-wise, they’ve got it.

We LOVE living a healthy lifestyle, but in Sydney, it’s barely convenient when the cafes are expensive and so are the health food stores (I’m looking at you, About Life).

Healthy, to us, in Sydney is tofu, beans and vegetables. Simple, delicious and wholesome. In Thailand, we can go out for sweet potato vegan pancakes every morning and not even be close to breaking the budget.

Besides the food factor, we have access to a fitness community that is inspiring and encouraging. You can regularly be training next to a UFC fighter in a weights class, or kicking the pads with a Muay Thai-known master. Pretty cool.

Beaches. We live on the east coast of Phuket. A short drive south and we’re at Nai Harn (my favourite beach in Phuket), or if we continue around the island, we’ve got Kata Noi, Kata, Karon, and even Patong, on display.

After finishing a session around 3.30pm, with the sun still out, we can jump on our scooter and zoom around for a beach dip.

Which brings me to motor-travel… in Sydney, I don’t drive. In fact, I’ve never driven a car. Why? Well besides cars being a big hunk of gas-guzzling junk (I’m sure I’ll change my mind one day), they’re completely unnecessary with Sydney’s public transport system. It’s far from perfect, but I could get from A to B with a swipe of my Opal card pretty easily.

In Phuket, we rent a scooter that means we can bypass traffic and see so much more of the island than we could if we were renting a car. If you come to Phuket, don’t rent a car. You won’t get anywhere.

Travel in South East Asia

Being in such close proximity to the rest of South East Asia, and with visa rules, we’ve had the ability to see more of Asia. Quick trips to KL are always fun, and seeing Vietnam again was a blast. And, we’re SO close to home.

In June-July, I was really missing life in Sydney, which may seem contradictory to this post, but you can’t replace friends and family overseas. I was able to book a direct 8 hour flight back to Sydney for a few weeks for under $250 and fly back when I felt ‘ready’. It’s such a great place to live when home really isn’t too far away. Basically, it doesn’t take 24 hours and all your money to see your family if you need.

The Wrap Up

If you’re thinking of packing up your life and moving to ANYWHERE in SE Asia, here’s why you definitely should:

▽ Cheaper rent and more bang-for-your-buck

▽ You never have to cook again

▽ A healthy lifestyle is much easier to lead

▽ Access to beaches and new travel destinations

▽ Zooming around on a scooter, without the hassle of traffic

▽ Home is on your doorstep, should you want / need to go home

Go out and live your dreams (in Phuket, Thailand).