Last summer, model and Qantas trend consultant Jess Hart took a trip around Australia with some mates from the Northern Hemisphere. Among their stops were Uluru and Lizard Island (where they rang in the new year) but when Hart’s travel buddies suggested they head to New Zealand, she wasn’t sold.

“I had no intention of going,” she says. “I was literally saying to my friends, ‘Why would we go to New Zealand? We’ve got Australia – all these beautiful places!’ And they said, ‘But we’re going to be down here and we want to see that, too.’ They’d come so far themselves that I was like, ‘OK’.”

When she got there, she was blown away by the people, the many opportunities for adventure and the landscape. “This is me in a bath at Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown. It overlooks a lake and a mountain – it looks like I’m sitting in front of a painting. It’s incredible, breathtaking. I opened myself up to this place and it made my heart stop a beat to see this landscape. 

“They call NZ the adventure capital of the world; there are so many things to do. It was such a nice surprise. My friends and I went skydiving, mountain-climbing and road-tripping. We also went kayaking on lakes. I would go back again; it was too quick – we only spent five days there. So I would love to go and do it properly.”

SEE ALSO: Things to Know Before You Go to Queenstown

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