Each year Ferg's family goes on a holiday together to Queenstown to Ski. Last year was my first time joining them and I tagged along again this year. 

When checking in for my flight I realised that I had been placed in the emergency row, which means extra leg room. When I asked to change seats, the desk clerk was pretty puzzled as to why I would give up a seat that some people pay extra money for. I explained that I wanted to see the view but she still didn't seem to get it, completing my request regardless. Flying into Queenstown is a somewhat terrifying experience if you are a semi-nervous flyer. As the captain announces that it's time to prepare for the descent, you put up your tray table and fasten your seatbelt, putting up the window shade only to reveal a giant mountain right there in the window. The captain skillfully navigates the plane right through mountain ranges, so close you can see the details in the snow covered rocks and lands in a tiny town. Last time I flew in, I had booked the 7am flight so I could see the mountains in a beautiful sunrise, the cloud lit up in pink, but the weather wasn't as clear this time. The skies were moody, dark and brooding, but quickly cleared later that day. 

We hastily made our way up the mountain and I managed to squeeze in 4 days of skiing in my short break between shoots back in Auckland. We stayed at Millbrook in Arrowtown which is such a pretty place to be! Little ducks greeted us each morning and evening and we could see the mountains from our window. They also have an amazing spa open to guests which is heaven after a long day of skiing. 

We took one day off to rest our legs and explore the area a little more. Ferg and I hired a car and had my favourite breakfast at Joes garage; the Joker roll. We then drove out to Paradise, which is a little further than Glenorchy. It was pretty beautiful in the plains between the ice capped mountains, but my favourite part was the beautiful forest. We wanted to take photos during a pretty sunset but weren't as lucky as the previous year. We were hoping for something each day we were there but mother nature didn't treat us until the final evening before we were meant to get our flight. We quickly made a dash up the Remarkables before boarding our plane back to Auckland. 

Sydney trip

Before moving to Auckland, I booked tickets to go back to Sydney for my sister's 30th. It was going to be a surprise but I got a booking for a wedding the weekend before in Sydney, so thought it was cruel to keep my presence in the country for a week a secret so I spilled the beans. I was kind of feeling like I didn't really live in Auckland yet because I was going back for a visit and now that i'm back here, I really live here...... weird logic but hey, thats how my head works sometimes. 

I got to see a few people, but definitely didn't get to spend enough time with everyone. On the Saturday when I arrived I went with mum to check out the wedding location and plan where I would take the couple for photos. Mum posed for some portraits below. I shot the wedding on Sunday, then in the evening did a portrait session, then a few days later flew up north to see my childhood friend Ash who just had a baby in Yamba. We took some photos, reminisced and marvelled at where life has brought us. Again, some of these images are below. 

Once I got back to Sydney there was just enough time to make a cake and prepare my sister's 30th. It was a really beautiful evening with lots of her friends from uni and work coming to have a drink and a dance. There was a lovely moment when I was the perfect level of drunk and I was dancing with my mum, dad, brother, sister and brother in law to Gemma's favourite 80's hits. The next day we all went to breakfast then everyone slowly left. Cris went off to Uni. Gems and Aaron went home. Mum left for the airport to visit family in the UK and then suddenly it was just me and dad left in the house and it was time for me to head back to Auckland. Visiting home is such a tease. I got to spend time with just a fraction of my friends and remember all the reasons why I love that city, and then it was time to head home. Alas!

Also, I almost forgot but I dyed my hair brown! I went back to my normal hair dresser because I was too scared to get someone new to do it. I have fully adjusted now to being a brunette. 

Here are some images I took along the way during my time in Sydney.