The Daydream Series: New Zealand – Kia Ora!


Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.


A visit to New Zealand is on top of many bucket lists. Jam-packed with extreme natural beauty, jolly kiwis, and fantastic food and drink, New Zealand impresses at every turn!

Cool cities, vineyards, mountains, rainforest, beautiful beaches, glaciers, and valleys. You can spend weeks and never get bored! #tourismstrong

Jamaican Flavors

New Zealand’s cuisine could be described as Pacific Rim, with influences from Asia, Polynesia, as well as Europe. The abundance of fresh food, as well as the mix of traditional Maori culture with European influences makes for hugely diversified food experience. With the laid-back Kiwi attitude, dining experiences generally have a more casual feel. Picture fresh farm to table food combined with fantastic local wines in a relaxed atmosphere.

Take a little bit of that:

and add a little bit of this:

And you’ll have an better idea of what to expect.

Anxious to try a recipe at home? How about Kiwi Pavlova?

Recipe and video courtesy of Carina. 


  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1½ Cups | 250g Castor Sugar or Super Fine Sugar
  • 2 tsp Corn Flour | Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • Whipped Cream and Fruit to serve


  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
  • Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is on high speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Beat the meringue for a further 5-7 minutes on high speed.
  • Add the cornflour and vinegar and mix for 30 seconds or so until incorporated.
  • Turn the pavlova out on a lined baking sheet and shape it into a 9inch or 23cm disc. Bake in a 130C|260F oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. When the pavlova has finished baking, cool it in the oven without opening the door for 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Serve the pavlova topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Watch the video for hands-on instructions:

Copy of taste!

Lorde is likely one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular exports, but there are a lot of different bands and artists, as versatile as the country’s landscape. Check out our playlist and listen to some well-established artists, as well as some new and emerging ones.



Whether you want to delve into New Zealand history, escape to a dream world, or drool over beautiful landscapes, here is a selection of six movies to get you started.

  • Whale Rider: Watch 12-year-old Pai, fight against ancient Maori traditions, which prevent females from being clan chiefs.
  • The Piano: Scottish Ada and her daughter are sold into marriage and left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a desolate New Zealand beach. This is a deep and amazing movie, no light feat but utterly rewarding.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: The story of two bullied adolescents that create an imaginary world, Terabithia, which they rule as king and queen.
  • The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey: Bilbo and his hobbit friends are on a quest to reclaim Erebor. Most of the movie is filmed in the hobbit village, which you can visit one hour outside of Auckland.
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A boy and his foster father become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness. This is a fun movie!
  • The Insatiable Moon: This 2010 New Zealand drama tells the story of Arthur, a Maori man who sees himself as the second son of a god. He sets off on a mission to find the Queen of Heaven.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, check New Zealand’s lovely plea.

This video by Pure New Zealand does a fantastic job capturing New Zealand’s people, their spirit, and the country’s beauty.


If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

A Good Keen Man by Barry Crump
Set against the rugged beauty of the New Zealand backcountry, this is the tale of a young man’s introduction to the art of deer culling and follows the exploits of a good keen man as he learns the skills necessary to become a good bushman. For more…

Pounanu Pounanu by Witi Ihimaera

A collection of original stories that showed how crucial Maori identity is for all New Zealanders. For more…

The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King
New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth.

The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its color and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonizing New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a ‘fatal impact’, coped heroically with colonization and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer. For more… 

A Kiwi Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New Zealand Kids by Tania Mccartney
A multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies our amazing country. They’ll take you through a year in the life of New Zealand’s kids, from celebrations, traditions, and events, to our everyday way of life and the little things that make childhood so memorable. For more…

Do They Speak English Down There? by Susan Tunney
Read how one family transformed fantasy into reality when they traded in their San Diego lifestyle to move to rural New Zealand along with the challenges it presented, adapting to a new culture. From duct tape to #8 wire, its been one helluva journey. For more…

Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale
Ten years after returning from the New Zealand outback, Jon receives a mysterious manuscript in the post. Narrated by Jon’s former home, the lone caravan, Squashed Possums, reveals what it’s like to live in the wild through four seasons, including New Zealand’s coldest winter in decades. For more…


Since New Zealand is home to many excellent vineyards, how about a wine tasting?

75 % of all grapes harvested are picked on the South Island in the Marlborough region. Hawke’s Bay is located on the North Island, South of Auckland, and makes up for 12 % of the harvest.

The majority of the wines are white, so why not compare a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, with one from Hawke’s Bay?


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at

Discover the Beauty of Abel Tasman National Park–New Zealand

abel tasman new zealand aavtravelTurquoise blue water from Tasman Bay surrounding you, gentle waves splashing in the distance as they come up on the beaches, feeling the soft sand between your toes, a slight breeze in the air as the warm sun beats down–you’re not in Kansas any more, you’re in a paradise called Abel Tasman National Park. One of New Zealand’s finest coastal National Parks, Abel Tasman may be the smallest park but it’s a gigantic playground for adventurers and those looking to turn-off from the rest of the world and relax.

abel tasman boardwalk park new zealand aavtravelCreate your own adventure
At Able Tasman, it’s up to you to decide the adventure–whether you want to take a day trip, or use several days to explore the park. You can choose from one day pass, three day pass or five day pass. The Able Tasman Coastal Track is 32 Miles (51 Km) long and perfect for walking, but keep in mind this isn’t a circuit track and you’ll need other forms of transportation at either end of the trail. You can always switch it up and decide to sea kayak some of the trail for whole new experience! Though there are no kayak rentals on the national park, you can arrange for a rental before you enter the park. Or, you can check out the awesome full-day and half-day guided kayak tours here.

Whether you want to adventure off into the park, take a boat tour and watch the dolphins swim alongside, kayak with seals, beachcomb, explore the parks natural flora and fauna and wildlife, there’ll be something for all types of vacationers to enjoy.

kayaking abel tasman new zealand aavtravelAccommodation
At AAV Travel we really love to work with Clare & Peter at the The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge. This luxury boutique property is a great home base for  active couples who enjoy good food and nature. Set in 50 acres of wilderness with 5km of bush tracks it doesn’t get any more luxurious close to the park. The Resurgence offers rooms at the main house, or if you love privacy, luxurious stand alone cottages. Clare & Peter offer several packages including food and activities and will go out of their way to help you create the experience perfect for you. Activity options include day trips to Abel Tasman (hiking and kayaking), hiking to nearby Mount Arthur, a visit to a winery and much more. When you get home from your explorations and are ready to relax you will find a hot tub and salt water pool, gym and yoga area. You can also get pampered with massages, reflexology, reiki, facials and aromatherapy from their on-call therapists.

resurgence lodge abel tasman new zealand

Travel Tip: Protecting your electronics on the water
Have you ever gone kayaking or boating and you wanted to bring your phone and wallet with you but you just didn’t know how to keep it dry? Have you ever taken your phone out then a wave hits your kayak and you drop your phone…and it’s gone to its watery grave? If you found yourself saying yes to these situations, or have been in similar ones, then you know you’re fed up with having to purchase new phones when something like this happens.

Whether you’re an avid adventurer or new to water activities, obviously you’ll want to take photos or videos to capture your experience. For $30 plus shipping you can get a waterproof case from Epic Kayak that allows you to store and use your phone in the bag. The bag is waterproof up to 30 M (100 ft) and the magnetic strips won’t interfere with your phone or credit cards. If you don’t feel like spending money on a waterproof bag, you can always go the el cheapo route and use a Ziploc bag. It’ll keep 99 percent of sand and water out and you can still use your phone’s touch screen through the plastic.

Let us plan your next adventure to New Zealand! Contact us at