BOOK NOW
BOOK NOW

New Zealand South Island Guide – Vegan Eats, Van Life & Hiking Recommendations

New Zealand quite literally took my breath away at every turn. It is without a doubt one of the most stunning places I’ve ever laid eyes on. Highways are gorgeous simply because the green pastures go on and on into the distance, rolling hills turn into glaciers and gigantic lake’s, that are so turqioise they look like they belong in Aruba, hug the roads for miles.

This January, Mike and I hiked and camped our way through some key places in the South Island. In case you like the idea of van-lifing it around NZ too, here is a little guidance showing how we divided our time:

  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Milford (or 1 in Te Anu and 1 in Milford)
  • 3 nights Wanaka → including Mount Cook visit
  • 1 night Arrowtown
  • 1 night Queenstown

With plenty more to see, we will 100% be back as soon as we can. Here are some of our foodie highlights with a little list of fun activities we highly recommend.

Queenstown (recommend 3 nights)

Food

  • Vudu and Bespoke kitchen – owned by the same people with similar menu’s, both are worth checking out. Their pancakes are unparalleled, and the creamy mushrooms at Vudu are such a healthy, unusual spin on a savoury vegan brekky. Bespoke serves a vegan blueberry scone at the counter which is 100% worth it.
  • Yonder – Amazing vegan corn fritters and a delicious DIY breakfast burrito platter. Don’t miss this one!
  • Franelli’s Italian – They have an entire vegan menu that would make a non-vegan unsuspectedly enjoy a “cheesy” meal. We went here twice! Highly recommend the calzone, alfredo fettucini, napolitana gnocchi and arancini balls.
  • Caribe – best burrito I have ever had! Not strictly Mexican-style, more Carribean. Bursting with fresh veg flavours and just the right amount of spice. Cassava chips are a treat as well 🙂
  • Halo – Didn’t make it here but menu looked very vegan-friendly and accomodating.
  • Fergburger – always has about a 40 min line around the block – But! We left dissappointed. Granted, they probably aren’t famous for their vegan burgers 😉 it just was a little underwhelming so not sure you should rush to it just because the line is so long. HOWEVER, Mrs Ferg gelato has plenty of amazing vegan sorbet’s which are delicious!

   

Activities

  • Hike Ben Lommond all the way to the summit if you can. Unforgetable and the best type of challenge.
  • White water rafting in the Shotover River
  • Onsen hot pools – perfect if you’ve done a few hikes/activities and are looking for some relaxation with a view.

Milford Sound

Food

  • Milford Sound lodge – you can camp here or stay in-house (much more expensive, but cabins look beautiful). The restaurant here is really good with a dietary key and a couple of vegan options. Mike says his espresso was the best coffee all trip. Kicking myself I didn’t try it!

Activities

  • Kayak tour along Milford – Roscoe’s Kayaks
  • Hike to Lake Marian *favourite hike all trip
  • A bunch of 10-20 min short loops to see some waterfalls

   

Wanaka: (recommend 2-3 nights – can use this as a base to get to further north places and just do day trips to them, below)

Food

  • Big Fig – best coffee, great dinner and 1-2 vegan options for breakfast
  • Food trucks – the best vegan dumplings! Burrito van is also great

Activities

  • Hike Rob Roy Glacier Track
  • Hire bikes and ride around lake Wanaka, see Wanaka Tree
  • Go for a dip in Lake Wanaka – fresh!
  • Day trips to Blue Pools on the way to Haast, Fountail falls, Mount Cook and/or Lake Tekapo

  

Mount Cook: (day trip from Wanaka or 1 night)

Food

  • The Cafeteria in the shopping/hotel centre is actually pretty vegan friendly. I had a curry and Mike had a burger.

Activities

  • Stop along the way on the drive and admire the blueness of Lake Pukaki
  • Hooker Valley Trail – Hike to a lake with small broken away glaciers floating in the water

 

Arrowtown: (day trip or one night)

Food

  • Provisions of Arrowtown
  • Remarkables Lolly shop – vegan-marked section!
  • Amisfield winery vegan degustation – they nail this! They are so accomodating it’s like they get asked to do this 20 x a day (maybe they do?). Seriously, it was that good. Worth every penny – great food, service, wine, setting, vibe.

 

Activities

  • Do a lap of the street in Arrowtown to see the cute shops and architecture
  • There are some short-medium hikes around here you can check out that range 30-90 mins

Health Foodie Guide to NYC

Many of you may not actually know this, but I used to live in New York. Back then, I was a very different person, excited by very different things (insert martini and dance emoji)! Nevertheless, NYC holds a very special place in my heart for two reasons: firstly, it was my dream to live there and I got to do it with my incredible best friend, so I have 1000s of fond memories made there! Secondly, my brother and his wife (and baby-on-the-way) still live there, so I get to go back often. Now, I have a third reason to add to the list, my oldest brother just got married there… So, you could say the love of NYC runs in the family!

IMG_0841

(My brother and I mins before he walked down the aisle)

FullSizeRender 2

(My brothers wives, my sisters!)

20645244_10154568420867610_3963148776262246874_o

(The beautiful Bride and Bloom ;))

Which was the reason for my most recent visited… Having not been back since I really changed my life around, this time, I wasn’t looking for exotic cocktail lists or the best NY slice… it was all about the plant-based, healthy dining scene. And let me tell you, what a scene it is! I literally did not have enough meals in the day to keep up with extensive list I had been recommended and had researched. New York is bursting with trendy health hubs! So here is my must-see list that I have compiled, with a few on there that I didn’t quite get to myself (for you locals or those with more time)…

Happy travels!

To Dine in:

Blossom – I was so pleasantly surprised here, we had such an interesting and mouth-watering spread for lunch – vegan caesar salad, mushroom “scallops”, “fish cakes”…

IMG_0645

Avant Garden – upscale but not overly fancy, best to make a reservation. Insane plant-centered meals that make veggies the star of the show!

ABCV or ABC Kitchen – I have been to ABC kitchen previously, but this time had to try their vegetarian version, ABCV. I love the vibe, and the menu was interesting. I only made it to breakfast (I recommend the mango smoothie bowl) but I think lunch would be more impressive!

IMG_2163

The Butcher’s Daughter (below) – go here for those vegan pastrami sandwiches / cheese toasties you likely have to (or want to) skip whilst visiting NYC. This place makes them vegan-ized, healthy and so tasty! The toasty is insane. I also really enjoyed the adzuki bean bacon 🙂

IMG_2161

Inday – this place is literally bowls of heaven! Cute bowsl, cute drinks, cute vibe. Not 100% vegan but tonnes of options! So healthy!

Sun in Bloom – it can be difficult to source savoury plant-based options… this is a great spot for a vegan breakfast/lunch if you are in search of one in Brooklyn. You can have lunch for brekky too, so I tried their collard wrap burrito, definitely add avo! Their tofu scramble was also very tasty. I don’t recommend their acai smoothie though :

IMG_2160

Cafe Clover – I didn’t get here, but my brother recommends it for a nice evening out. Looks really interesting and has a few veg options.

Westville – an old favourite of mine I used to go here a lot, even when I was less health-conscious. I couln’t go past “market plate” whereby you can choose 4 sides and turn it into a divine, veg-filled plate!

Urban Vegan Kitchen – didn’t make it here but looks like my kinda place!

Souen- organic, macrobiotic restaurant that serves up delicious Asian-inspired dishes. Easy, well-priced, bursting with flavour.

Hearth – we had a big family dinner here and they had several vegan options for us! Great for large groups or a night out. Lots of veg!

Double Zero – no need to miss/crave cheese on a pizza when the toppings are this tasty! Cool vibe, would be great for a date night and a drink of vino too.

IMG_1005

On the fly:

Pressed Juicery – not only good for a quick juice fix but also for all fruit soft serve with the best toppings like raw nuts, vegan choc chips, nut butter etc.

IMG_0677

Juice Generation – In Equinox, good for a post-workout juice or smoothie.

Liquiteria – I was a little underwhelmed with their acai just FYI, but its a good go-to if you can’t find anything healthy as there are a few around and you can bet you can get a greens fix!

Sweet Greens – I didn’t get here, but hear it is a salad bar dream!

By Chloe – healthy-ish fast food! Hehe, it makes plant-based eating enticing for the masses. We had an insane creamy green smoothie and a small mac n cheese with mushroom bacon to share… delish!

IMG_2162

Taim – yummy, different flavoured falafel pockets! Great after a busy day shopping in Soho 🙂

Orchard Grocer – Reallllllyyyy wanted to go here. Please tell me if you do! They have vegan cream cheese and lox… need I say more?

Beyond Sushi – all vegan sushi! Exotic & interesting combos for all you plant-based sushi lovers who are perhaps a little over avo and cucumber… amiright?!

Screamers Pizza – Didn’t make it here, but feel like it is a take on NYC slice (whereas Double Zero is a little more “fancy pizza”). Would love to try it!

Erin McKenna’s bakery – all vegan baked treats, missed this one, tell me if you go!

Union Square Markets vegan bakery stall – Ahhh so many options! I got a delicious corn bread scroll at the recommendation of the stall holder, it was yum!

To workout:

Soul Cycle – the vibe here is insane, I hate spin but I loved this class! Wish I could go back for more.

Laughing Lotus – Gorgeous yoga studio with great teachers

IMG_0596

Strala Yoga – Try make a class with Tara! So much fun

Equinox – All your gyming needs 🙂

SIGN UP TO THE HEALTH & BLOOM NEWSLETTER