After 2 difficult pandemic years, I found closure – and rediscovered bliss – in New Zealand

When I got to my room, which had stairs that took me to the mezzanine level where my bed was, I saw with delight that there were windows that stretched from end to end. Here I could drink in that same scenery more completely and at leisure. 

By now I knew I was no longer a city girl. Perhaps it was all those months trying to make the best of the view of the multi-storey carpark from my home in Singapore, but I suddenly found so much comfort, hope and even thrill in the idea of being amongst nature’s gentle giants. 

As part of the Queenstown leg, we visited the Onsen Hot Pools retreat and day spa, where you got a gorgeous view of the landscape beyond Shotover River as you soaked for an hour in 38 degree Celsius pure mountain water. 

I thought by now I’d be a little less awed by the view, but no – the mountains continued to inspire, and my tub buddy Veronica and I spent our sunset soak eating ice-cream and talking about our dreams.


We took a “scenic flight” via the family-owned Air Milford to Wanaka, an alpine resort town also in South Island and one of the final stops of our trip. 

The plane was only big enough to accommodate a group slightly bigger than ours and as we climbed in, I couldn’t help but think back to one of my favourite movies, La Bamba. 

Thankfully, the flight was brief and peaceful, and once I got over my anxiety, I was able to pretend for a while that I was Cher on an Asia-Pacific tour. 

If pretending you’re someone else every once in a while makes you happy, definitely book a private flight. You could even pretend you’re a giant, which is very easy when you’ve got an extraordinarily close-up view of the clouds kissing the mountain peaks. 

I’m easily tickled so the first thing I noticed about Wanaka was how a lot of businesses had names like Aspiring Jewellers and Aspiring Pharmacy.