New Zealand trip

An adventure down under


Hi all,

I have a new love in my life since I spoke to you last –  beautiful New Zealand. Hubby and I have just returned from an eleven-day trip there, and it was just incredible. My sister lived in Australia for some years and we’d been there to visit her and adored it, but never made it as far as New Zealand, so it’s a trip that was planned and saved for for many years, and was so very much worth the wait.

We decided just to do the South Island as time was so tight, but to do it as thoroughly as we could, so we travelled the length and breadth of it by air, road, boat and bicycle. We spent a day at Lake Tekapo, the incredible “blue lake” – a stunning blue-green due to the “rock flour” flowing into it from glacial erosion up above. We took a helicopter trip to the top of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, flew over the massive Fox and Franz Josef glaciers then landed and walked on the ice. We “glamped” (see the video!) for a night in the hills above Queenstown, with a stunning view of the wonderfully named Remarkables mountain range – I have never seen a clearer sky or more stars anywhere in the world than there.

[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube’s Help page]

We took a jet boat trip down the Dart River, around which so many major movies have been filmed, including Lord of the Rings. And we visited the famous fjord, Milford Sound (which apparently was totally missed – twice – by Captain Cook when he circumnavigated New Zealand!). We took to the ocean and saw a sperm whale, fur seals and dusky dolphins. And then we drove to Marlborough and did a bike tour of some vineyards (yes, clumsy clot me plus a bike plus wine – anything could have happened, but luckily there were no mishaps!).

We ended our stay with a touch of drama, courtesy of Mother Nature  – while we were staying near the famous Split Apple Rock, Cyclone Gita which had left such a trail of destruction across the Pacific finally hit New Zealand. Fallen trees, land slips and floods cut off the area we were in for over 24 hours, leaving us without power or water. Thankfully there appeared to be no loss of life but many homes and businesses were damaged and destroyed and people left stranded by the floods. For a brief moment, I wanted to return to my former life as a news reporter and cover the story, but home was calling! As we departed, the clean-up was being very quickly and efficiently carried out, although there was significant damage in some areas which will take time to repair.

All in all, the most extraordinary adventure and I loved every minute of our trip. Maybe one day we’ll be lucky enough to go back and see the North Island too! Here’s just a small selection of photos to show you – as you can imagine, we took hundreds…

I have to mention also a few products I couldn’t have been without on this trip – weirdly, all courtesy of lovely Abi Cleeve! Ultrasun obviously was an absolute necessity for a New Zealand summer, and kept us totally protected throughout the trip. But Abi’s Skinsense skincare range also came with me on this holiday. It will be QVC’s Today’s Special Value offer on Monday 5th March, with a fabulous kit including eye, day and night cream, the plumping lip cream and the overnight mask. All are fantastic, but I have to give a special mention to the lip and night creams, both of which have given me great results.

We flew direct without a stopover, which meant more than 29 hours of travel each way. Normally, that would mean horribly dehydrated skin and parched lips, but I used Skinsense on the flights and my skin looked amazing – so plump and hydrated! So much so that I drove my poor hubby mad the next day, repeatedly saying: “Look! Look how good my skin looks, even after that flight! LOOK!”. (Sorry, hubby.) If the range can do that during a flight to the other side of the world, imagine how good it is at home! Highly recommended, and you’ll be able to try it for a fantastic price on the 5th.

Right – back to reality and work. Spring is finally on the horizon… hurray!

Love Jackie x


  1. Josephine Jennings February 26, 2018 at 9:21 am -  Reply

    What a wonderful holiday. Your photos are fabulous, I think you are very brave to camp.

    • Jackie Kabler March 1, 2018 at 10:33 am -  Reply

      Hi Josephine, it WAS wonderful, I loved it! I’m not normally a camping fan but that was a bit special. Might even do it again!
      Love Jx

  2. Anne Lewis February 26, 2018 at 8:38 pm -  Reply

    New Zealand looks lovely. Glad you are back safe and sound. Julia did well with Ruth on the Fashion Edit but you cannot beat the original

    • Jackie Kabler March 5, 2018 at 11:55 am -  Reply

      Ahhh Anne, you are very sweet. I love working with Ruth…see you for two hours this Thursday night! X

  3. Geraldine Crowley February 26, 2018 at 8:52 pm -  Reply

    Jackie your holiday looked amazing I always heard New Zealand was the place to visit what a holiday. Last September my family went to Singapore, Australia,and then headed to Dubai, all done within three weeks heavy going but loved every minute of it then back home to good old Ireland. Welcome back you were badly missed.

    • Jackie Kabler March 1, 2018 at 10:33 am -  Reply

      Hi Geraldine, it really was fantastic, what a country! Always good to be back though, thank you.
      Love Jx

  4. Betty Smith February 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie what a fabulous adventure you have had .I m sure you’ll go back one day. New Zealand looks an amazing place. My best friend from school emigrated there I m starting to feel very envious . I agree your skin looks great I will certainly look out for it on the 5th I think its beneficial to change your skin care every so often . Hope you don’t think it rude but how tall is your hubby well over 6 ft. I imagine xx

    • Jackie Kabler March 1, 2018 at 10:35 am -  Reply

      Hi Betty, yes it was fantastic, loved every minute. My husband is six foot six so even though I’m tall at five foot ten I feel quite petite next to him! He’s hard to lose in a crowd too…!
      Love Jx

  5. eileen murphy March 1, 2018 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    just had the same holiday as you on the South Island returned on Sunday evening the country is truly amazing especialy the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown cant wait to return

    • Jackie Kabler March 5, 2018 at 11:57 am -  Reply

      Hi Eileen,
      Stunning wasn’t it! I really do want to do the North Island one day!

  6. Ashley March 18, 2018 at 6:57 am -  Reply

    Hi, I’m glad you enjoyed NZ, I went there 2 of our summers for 6 weeks, hired a motorhome and travelled around both North and South on my own. It was amazing, people friendly, amazing contrasting scenery. I want to go back but this time in their spring or autumn.

    • Jackie Kabler March 21, 2018 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

      Oh that sounds amazing Ashley! Such a fabulous place.

  7. Denise Pacey March 20, 2018 at 10:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Jackie. Not surprised you loved New Zealand. We visited last November. We spent a few days in Perth, then to North Island where after a couple of days in Auckland we picked up our hire car and travelled around staying at Air bnb’s which we had booked ahead in the UK. We took the car on the ferry on the Cook Strait to South Island for about 6 days and then to Singapore for a few days. We spent 21 days touring around NZ with good weather and we loved it. Looking at your blog pictures I thought I recognised Emirates BC which is how we travelled. Excellent. We are now thinking of returning later this year to see more! Isn’t it great to be able to see all these amazing places?

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