I recently visited the adorable little town of Eugene, Oregon to visit my sister, who lives there. It is always exciting to have a local tour guide – my sister has lived there for a couple of years now and knows all the best places for a vegan, beer loving coffee fanatic. Though I don’t always make it, I try to visit Oregon every time I go home to find new places.

What to do In Eugene, Oregon

What to Do In Eugene, Oregon

Visit the Breweries

One of the best things about the state of Oregon is the incredible beer that originates here. The first time I visited Eugene, I stopped at the uber popular Ninkasi. I first drank Ninkasi Total Domination a few years ago, and it is still one of my favorite IPA’s to date. I’m also a fan of their Maiden in the Shade, Dawn of the Red, and Hop Cooler. We bring a big box of Ninkasi every year when we go on our family camping trip, and the brewery doesn’t disappoint.

This year, we visited a new favorite, Falling Sky Brewery. They have a great outdoor seating area, big tables, and a great variety of beer and food. We got a few different styles and all tried each others beers.

What to do In Eugene, OregonWhat to do In Eugene, OregonWhat to do In Eugene, Oregon

Try Something Vegan

If you’ve never tried vegan food, Eugene is the place to do it! Boasting delicious vegan comfort food, Eugene is full of options for anyone looking for some vegan fare. My favorite go-to cafe in Eugene is the adorable, old-school diner Cornbread Cafe. I visit this place at least once every time I see my sister.

What to Do In Eugene, OregonWhat to Do In Eugene, OregonWhat to Do In Eugene, OregonWhat to Do In Eugene, OregonWhat to Do In Eugene, Oregon

This time, we tried some new restaurants, including Morning Glory Cafe…

What to Do In Eugene, OregonWhat to Do In Eugene, Oregon

And the refreshingly healthy Laughing Planet Cafe:

What to Do In Eugene, Oregon

If you’re vegan, you’ll never go hungry in Eugene, one of the most vegan friendly cities in the US.

Satisfy Your Inner Fat Kid

Though Eugene is full of vegan food, it’s not filled with raw dishes and green juices. This little college town is stuffed with pizza joints and doughnuts to fulfill any junk food desire you could conjure up. Another must-visit is Sizzle Pie, the happening pizza joint that makes the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had. Stop in for happy hour for cheap draft beers and slices, or order up some pies to be delivered. Pro tip: the ranch is 100% vegan and a great dipper, and the Vegan Angel of Doom is NOT TO BE MISSED.

What to Do In Eugene, Oregon

Right down the street from Sizzle Pie is the world class Voodoo Doughnuts. If you’re not completely stuffed with pizza, hit up Voodoo Doughnuts any time (they are open 24 hours on the weekends and until midnight weekdays) to satisfy that sweet tooth. They have an entire shelf of strictly vegan doughnuts – Eugene is the city where vegans are never left out.

What to Do in Eugene, Oregon

Cafe Hopping in Eugene, Oregon

After gorging on junk food and beer, you may need a little pick me up. Eugene is full of adorable little cafes to spend your mornings. One of my favorites is Vero Espresso House – a house remodeled into a coffee shop. Sit on the porch outside to revel in that morning sun, but don’t forget a jacket, as Eugene can get a bit chilly.What to do in Eugene, OregonWhat to do in Eugene, Oregon

What to Do in Eugene, Oregon

These were my favorite things to do during my week in Eugene, Oregon. I’m a bit jealous that my sister gets to live around all of these fabulous places, but that means I get to keep going back to visit!

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After spending some time in the city of Auckland, surrounded by stores and supermarkets, I was craving some serious sun and outdoors time. Luckily, my friend Natalie has been living in Auckland for a bit longer than I have, and she suggested we head to the lovely Cornwall Park. I jumped at the chance, and on an overcast Saturday in Auckland, we grabbed a coffee and headed to the park.

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park, Auckland

We parked near the cafe and nearly dove out of the car, cameras in hand (Natalie is into photography as well). As soon as I spotted cows, I picked up my pace. Once we located the walking trail, we headed into the pasture using the rocky pathway.

Cornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, Auckland

My excitement to pet a cow came to a plummeting halt as soon as I noticed signs to stay away from the cows. We did notice a slight gap in the rules, as some of the cows were positioned near the walkway, making it impossible to stay on the walkway and away from the cows at the same time. I took my chances with a baby calf first, hoping that I would have a magical Snow White moment.

Cornwall Park, Auckland

I had no such luck. The adorable little calf ran away from me. My vegan powers did not appear to work on this animal. Next, I made a move on a more experienced four legged creature.

Cornwall Park, Auckland

I had even less luck with that one. As soon as I got closer, the cow went to get up. I wasn’t taking any chances at getting charged by a cow today, so we decided to make a move.

Cornwall Park is massive and filled with grass, trees, cows, and sheep. It’s the perfect place to walk around with a friend for a good chat. Or just sit down and have a picnic with a nice bottle of white and enjoy the day.

Cornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, Auckland

I highly recommend going in the spring, when the flowers are in bloom and the grass is bright green. Spring also appears to be mating season, so you may accidentally spy on some intimate animal moments.

After the narrow escape from the cow field, we wandered over to the sheep pen. The sheep were even less friendly than the cows, but they were extra fluffy and rather cute.

Cornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, AucklandCornwall Park, Auckland

Cornwall Park Cafe

After some intense sheep watching, we decided to get our relaxing on at the cafe.Cornwall Park, Auckland

We ordered up some drinks and chips and had a good catch up.

Cornwall Park, Auckland

One Tree Hill

Before heading home, we made sure to make a stop at One Tree Hill. The views from the top are nothing short of spectacular, though the wind chill did make me want to put on a scarf and beanie, pronto.

Cornwall Park, Auckland

Cornwall Park, Auckland

Cornwall Park is one of the best places to take a break from the energy of the city to just relax, have a coffee, and catch up with a good friend. I definitely look forward to going back many times during my stay in Auckland.

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While living and working in Auckland, I want to explore as much as I possibly can in my off time. I’ve made a list of all of the possible day trips I can take from the city, and I’m checking them off in accordance to how excited I am to visit them. Piha Beach has topped the list for quite some time now.

Piha Beach Auckland New Zealand

Piha Beach: Getting There

I’ve seen photos and heard stories of the beauty that Piha Beach holds for the past year, from my friends who have visited New Zealand. I figured it was time to visit it myself.

Piha Beach is a little under an hours drive from Auckland. Michael and I packed a lunch and hopped in the car. We stopped once for a coffee to go, and then got back on the road. Once you get out of the city, you’ll be driving down some insanely gorgeous roads. The roads are surrounded by lush, green, rolling hills that are filled with grazing cows, sheep, and horses.

Piha Beach Road

After a bit of winding (be prepared if you get carsick), witness insane views of the ocean. The views coming down into Piha are just as stunning as the rolling hills. The ocean is a light, cerulean blue, and the tide comes in so slowly.Piha Beach Views

Piha Beach: What to Do

Park in the lot and walk out to the sand. The black sand is so fine and soft – take off your shoes and feel it for yourself. I was shocked at the silkiness of the sand. Michael and I walked up and down the beach, staring at the massive rocks rising out of the sand and watching the waves come in. The water was cold, and it was a windy spring day, so we held off on swimming.

Piha Beach Auckland New Zealand What to Do

While looking up at the massive rock that splits the beach in half, we noticed a person half way up. Upon closer inspection, we found a carved staircase. We decided to take the challenge and hike to the highest point we could get to. It’s a short, very steep hike. Make it to the top for magical views and excellent photo opportunities.

Piha Beach Hike Rock Climb

I’d suggest bringing a picnic out to the beach, maybe a book or a bottle of wine, and spending a good few hours out there. I’ll be in Auckland for a year on my working visa, and I’m sure that I’ll be visiting this beach many more times.

There is nothing like a good beach to rejuvenate a person, hey?!

 

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New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

I recently landed in Auckland, New Zealand on a working holiday visa. New Zealand has been on my bucket list for too long, and I was so excited to be able to get a one year visa to this insanely beautiful country. Here is everything you need to know about the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

How to Get the new zealand working holiday visa

The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for the New Zealand working holiday visa. You can do that from the government website. The requirements to get this visa are as follows:

  • You must be between 18-30 years old
  • Must have a passport and be a citizen of an eligible country
  • You must have no dependent children
  • No criminal convictions
  • You must have never obtained a working holiday visa to New Zealand before
  • Must have funds for a return ticket home (though this was not checked when I arrived into the country)
  • You must be in good health

That’s it! If you meet these requirements, you can apply for the New Zealand working holiday visa. There was no fee to apply, and mine was granted just a few days after I applied.New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

When your application is accepted and you are granted the working visa, you will have one year to enter the country. The date that you enter the country is the official start date of your visa. For example, I was granted the working holiday visa on August 30, 2017. I entered New Zealand on October 22, 2017. I have until October 22, 2018 to stay in the country.

This visa also gives you multiple entry – meaning that you can come in and out of the country as many times as you want during that year. But when you leave the country, your visa doesn’t go “on hold.” Your expiration date is always based on the date you enter the country.

New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

When You Get to New Zealand

Starting a life in New Zealand can be easy and seamless, if you know what you’re doing. I’ve started over in other countries multiple times, so you’re in the hands of an expert here.

The first step is to find your accommodation. You can’t do much without a home address, so check out facebook groups before you arrive in New Zealand to secure a place to move in to when you get there. Upon arrival, you’ll want to get an AT HOP card to use public transport. You can get this card at most grocery stores or train stations. Check out all of the Auckland retailers.

Once you have an address, you can open a bank account. You’ll want to do this asap, as you need a bank account to file for a tax ID number. I went with the bank with ANZ Bank. If you get an online account with ANZ, they will waive the monthly fees for your account, and you’ll only get charged for manual transactions (when you go into the bank to do a transaction instead of doing it online or at the ATM).

New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

Finding Work on the Working Holiday Visa

Next, file for an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number, which is your tax file number. Do this as soon as possible, as you usually can’t start work until you get this number, and it can take up to two weeks to obtain.

Once you have applied for an IRD number, start the job hunt! Finding a job is relatively simple here, as there are lots of companies and not a lot of people. Most companies are open to hiring foreigners on a working holiday visa, especially if you are going for something in customer service or hospitality. Those two sectors are your best bet for finding something fast.

That’s it! Once you have a home, transport, and work, you can start planning out your day trips and holidays around the country. It’s a really good idea to rent out a van and do a road trip around the country if you have time – if you can save up enough money and plan it out before you have to leave the country, go for it!

Otherwise, stay tuned for more on New Zealand.

Let me know in the comments: 

  • Have you ever been to New Zealand?
  • Where would you most want to visit?
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Expectations Versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

After catching up with my family in California, it was time for me to hop on a plane to start my working visa in New Zealand. I packed up my little 28L Cabin Zero backpack and headed to the airport.

I’ve seen so many fashion bloggers get that epic travel photo in front of the airport with their suitcase and their long legs. I decided to try out my own version, because Michael had a suitcase and I thought I could look refined.

This is what I usually expect to look like at the airport as a minimalist:

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

But in reality, I have a backpack, a purse, a water bottle (which is always out), a camera, a jacket, and sometimes even more miscellaneous things.

This is usually what I end up looking more like:

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

The wind seems to always be blowing, I never put my hair up when I should, and though I could pack everything in my backpack, I always keep things out to be accessible. It’s a miracle I haven’t lost my head yet.

Though I feel like I’ve mastered minimalist packing, I haven’t yet mastered the suave airport entry.

Expectations versus Reality: Minimalist Traveling

I am proud that I was able to fit all of my belongings into a 28 liter backpack.

Stay tuned for a post all about what I packed!

 

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