Photo Diary – Aqua Alta in Venice

Sadly over the past week Venice has experienced some of it’s worst floods (also known as “aqua alta”) in the past 50 years! They are saying that Basilica San Marco has aged 11 years overnight. All of the damages to peoples homes, businesses, monuments and art will cost billions of dollars to repair.

It was a crazy, sad, exciting and overwhelming experience. I have been living near Venice the past 4 months and have spent most of my free time there. I love this city so much and I hate to see it damaged. My heart goes out to Venice and all those affected.


If you’re wanting to donate to relief efforts: The Mayor of Venice has opened up an official bank account where people can donate to help the city. You can find their official website with the details here. (English version below)

IBAN IT 24 T 03069 02117 100000 018767 – BIC: BCITITMM
Account holder: Comune di Venezia – Emergenza acqua alta
Payment description: contributo emergenza acqua

             You can watch my video from my experience during aqua alta below


How to get an Italian Working Holiday Visa as a New Zealander



The Country of pizza, art, history, aperol spritz, gelato, sunshine and love. A place that everyone dreams of visiting one day.

What better chance to see this beautiful country, than spending 365 days immersed in their culture & language?

Fortunately for us New Zealanders, a Working Holiday Visa Agreement was signed between Italy and NZ in 2001, allowing New Zealanders between the age of 18-30 to live in Italy for one year, with the ability to work for a total of 6 months (no more than 3 months with each employer).

I have written a guide below on how to apply for an Italian Working Holiday Visa. If you are intending on applying for an Italian Working Holiday Visa yourself – I hope these steps help, as I wish I had something like this to follow when I was applying for mine 🙂   *Please do note this is purely based on my experience 



A full list of the requirements can be found on the Embassy of Italy in Wellington website.

The applicant must

  • Be a New Zealand citizen resident in New Zealand;
  • Satisfy the visa officer that his/her primary intention is to holiday in the Italian Republic, with employment being an incidental rather than a primary reason for the visit;
  • Be aged between 18 and 30 years inclusive at the time of application;
  • Not be accompanied by children;
  • The applicant must enter Italy within 3 months from the date of issue of the visa; if not, it will automatically expire and will no longer be able to be used.

General Requirements for all applicants:

  1. National Visa Application Form. Application must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace (J.P). You can find more information on how to fill out this application form below.
  2. A passport size photograph
  3. Bank cheque (not personal cheque) payable to the Italian Embassy to cover the visa fee. This can be organised at your local bank. This fee can change from quarter to quarter. You can check the amount to be paid following this link. At the time of my application, the fee was NZD $191.
  4. Passport valid at least 90 days after the final departure from Italy.
  5. Prepaid self-addressed courier envelope with attached “Courier with Signature” label (to be purchased separately). For Rural deliveries please include also a “Rural Delivery label” (also purchased separately). This is for them to send your passport pack after sticking in the Visa.
  6. Certificate of insurance confirming full unlimited medical and hospital cover for the entire validity of the visa (or up to Euro 30.000). The travel insurance must to be bought for 365 days (from when you arrive in Italy) regardless the length of staying in Italy as the W/H Visa will be granted exactly for 365 days and multiple entries
    I purchased my insurance through World Nomads. This was the best option for me because I was actually spending a month in USA prior to my arrival date in Italy. Most insurance companies only offer 365 days from the date you leave your home country, and I needed to purchase more than this. World Nomads was great as it gave me the option to book as far in advance as needed to cover the 365 days in Italy.
  7. A credit card/bank statement in your name showing the amount of NZD $5500 or an international bank draft made payable to the applicant in Euro for the equivalent of NZD $5500. Please add an extra NZ$ 1000.00 if return ticket has not been purchased.
    I purchased a one way ticket so I needed proof of NZ$6500 in my bank account. At my bank (Westpac), I asked for them to print a copy of my bank account with the available funds visible. They then were able to stamp and sign this as an official document.
  8. Travel itinerary/copy of airline ticket showing the point of entry in Italy
    I Caught a train from Paris to Milan and then a train from Milan to Florence. I printed a copy of all these bookings and put them in order of date and highlighted dates.
  9. Confirmation of hotel reservations or of alternative accomodation with addresses. You must provide confirmation of accomodation from the date you arrive in Italy and for approximately the first 10 days you are in Italy.
    I booked a Hostel for my first week in Florence, and then had an Airbnb booked after the Hostel. I wasn’t able to book the Airbnb early enough as it wasn’t available.  For these, I printed my email confirmations and highlighted the dates.
  10. The flight from NZ to Italy. The Italian Embassy in NZ states they can only accept flights direct to Italy and not to other countries in the Schengen Area. This means as soon as you arrive in Europe, you must go straight to Italy and not spend a few days in another country before arriving.
    I flew from Auckland to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to New York, New York to Paris, Caught a train from Paris to Milan and then a train from Milan to Florence. I printed a copy of all these bookings and put them in order of date and highlighted dates.
    A one way fly ticket can be bought (this is what I did), as long as the applicant has sufficient funds. In this case, a bank statement with at least NZD $6,500 must be presented to the Visa office.


National Visa Application Form

  1. Surname
  2. Surname at birth (If different)
  3. First name and middle name
  4. Date of birth
  5. Place of birth
  6. Country of birth
  7. Current Nationality/Nationality at birth (If different)
  8. Sex (M/F)
  9. Marital Satus
  10. Skip if over 18
  11. National Identity Number (I left this blank)
  12. Type of travel document
  13. Passport Number
  14. Issue date of Passport
  15. Expiry date of Passport
  16. Who the passport was issued by
  17. Home address, email address and telephone number
  18. Skip if only a resident in NZ and not another country also
  19. Current occupation
  20. Employer and employers address
  21. Main purpose of journey – I selected other and wrote Tourism
  22. City of destination – This will be your city of choice for your arrival in Italy. Mine was Florence.
  23. Member state of first entry – Specify the country where you will be entering the Schengen area. I flew from New York to Paris, so I put France as my Member State.
  24. Number of entries required – select multiple entries
  25. Duration of intended stay – write 365
  26. Skip if you have not been issues any Schengen visas in the past 3 years
  27. Skip if skipped #26
  28. n/a
  29. Intended arrival date in Schengen Zone
  30. Intended departure date from the Schengen Zone
  31. n/a
  32. n/a
  33. Cost of travelling and living is covered during stay – I just wrote yes
    Tick by the applicant himself/herself and tick your means of support – Mine were cash, prepaid accomodation and credit card
  34. n/a if you don’t have a family member in the EU
  35. n/a if you don’t have a family member in the EU
  36. Place and date *** Please wait to do this until you have a Justice of Peace present as it must be signed in front of them
  37. Signature*** Please wait to do this until you have a Justice of Peace present as it must be signed in front of them

Once you have filled out the application and triple checked it to make sure all the information is correct, find a local Justice of Peace so you can sign your application.

I have completed all the requirements – Now what?


By now you should have all of the requirements to be eligible for the Working Holiday Visa. If it is 3 months or under until your departure date, you can send everything to the Italian Embassy. Make sure you photocopy everything before you post it. I put all my documents etc in order of the requirements on the Embassy’s Website. I also made a table of contents and added sticky notes to mark each section. (Anything you can do to make the Embassy’s job easier will help things work in your favour).

Embassy of Italy
34-38 Grant Road,
Wellington, 6011,
New Zealand

Good luck!! Please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you have any questions regarding your visa application. They say the process time takes up to 15 days but I received my passport back with the Visa after 3 days. Please let me know how you get on with your visa in the comments 🙂

Please keep in mind that once you arrive in Italy you will have to apply for a Permesso di soggiorno (Residence Permit). This process can take up to 6 months. Without this residence permit you cannot open a bank account. Fortunately a receipt of application is valid enough for work (if needed). The application for the Permesso di soggiorno is a whole nother process and I found this much harder than the application for the visa. I will write some advice on how to apply for this in another post.




Where to find the best gelato in Venice


If you’re looking for the best gelato in Venice? then you’ve come to the right place! I’ve spent the past few months taste testing some of the best (and worse) gelato, to create a list of the top Gelateria’s in Venice.

Calle della Bissa, 5453, 30124 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy

My all time favourite in Venice and probably one of the best gelato I have ever had. They are constantly creating new flavours from their best sourced ingredients. They also have vegan options. Around the corner you can enjoy your gelato while watching the gondola’s pass by.



419, Ruga Vecchia S. Giovanni, 480, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy

Although Amorino is a chain, I can guarantee you’ll always have a delicious gelato from here. With their not-to-be-missed gelato flower, the combination of beautiful and delicious. You can choose as many flavours as you like!


5851, Calle del Mondo Novo, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
+39 345 619 0884

A small Gelateria that I stumped upon by chance, and I’m glad I did! Delicious gelato in a beautiful spot. Come here at night and sometimes you’ll find live music playing in the square.



Calle de la Rasse, 4613, 30122, Venezia VE, Italy

Delicious flavours. They have classics like pistachio, but I fell in love with their ginger flavour. Some of the best gelato I’ve ever had.


Dursoduro, 3058/A, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

Here you can find many gluten-free flavours. Don’t forget to try their signature flavour “Crema di Doge” (candied orange and chocolate confection).


Cannaregio, 4454, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, San Croce, 1628, 30135, Venezia VE, Italy

You can find a few of these stores located around Venice, and for good reason. They rely on following traditional methods in the creation of their gelato, and source only the best ingredients to create all sorts of flavours. My favourite this month is their “walnut and figs”.


30135, Fondamenta S. Simeone Piccolo, 731, 30135 Venezia VE

I know this is not gelato, but I couldn’t leave this place out. Here you can create your own magnum! Choose your ice cream, coating and topping. A fun experience for magnum lovers like myself!



Behind the Blog – Meet Faye from Farfelue

On this Month’s Behind the Blog series, I have interviewed my dearest friend Faye. Faye and I met around 7 years ago whilst we were both living in Paris, and have been great friends ever since. Faye is one of the most kind, soulful, inspiring people I know, and this is definitely portrayed through her blog Farfelue and her instagram.


How would you describe your blog?

Farfelue is a platform where I am able to share my travel photography and favourite destinations. I write travel guides for every place I visit and try to make the articles as resourceful and inspiring as possible.

Where are you based/located?  

I’m currently based in London. I just moved here about 4 months ago.

What first sparked your love for travel?  

I moved to Paris when I was 18 and this was the catalyst for my obsession with travel. I would explore the city wide eyed getting lost down cobbled back streets, inside art galleries and in pastry shops. Moving to Paris on my own at such a young age made me fall in love with exploring and opened my eyes to the world of solo travel. Surely if I could move abroad on my own, I could travel the world on my own as well?


What got you into blogging?  

My move to Paris (again!) When I first moved to Paris, I wanted a way of capturing the beauty of the city and sharing it with the world, so that’s what inspired me to buy my first camera and start my blog.

What are some of your favourite countries to visit? 

Such a tricky question but if I had to narrow it down I would say The Maldives, Japan, New Zealand, Italy & French Polynesia. Closely followed by Croatia, the Philippines & Sri Lanka.


Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?  

I would try not to tell anyone to avoid a place because we all perceive places differently and all have contrasting experiences so whilst you might not like a place, someone else could love it. My least favourite country I have visited is Vietnam, but that’s probably linked to my experiences in the country rather than the country itself.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels? 

There are so many! But one of my all-time favourite memories was the time I saw Pygmy elephants in the wild in Borneo. We were told it was highly unlikely we would see them as the herd had travelled too far away, but we took the risk nonetheless. We travelled for hours in an open top boat and the heavens opened drenching us and our possessions. Just when we were about to give up and turn around, the sun came out and we spotted the herd of elephants bathing in the water and rolling around in the mud. It was the most unexpected and magical thing I’ve ever seen and we were all overjoyed. We also saw orangutans and proboscis monkeys on that river safari.


What is your most liberating experience from your travels?  

I always try to hire a scooter when I travel as I find it the most liberating way to explore. There is no better feeling than the wind in your hair, sun on your skin and ultimate freedom to go wherever your heart desires.

Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?  

I would probably say the world is safer than it’s portrayed in the media and oftentimes you needn’t worry half as much as everyone tells you to. So many times I have been advised against visiting a certain country, yet haven’t encountered any issues when I’ve arrived in the country. Often unrest is in very concentrated areas rather than the country as whole, so it you just need to research before you go.

What is the longest amount of time you’ve been away from home?

I suppose the longest time I’ve been away from home is during my most recent trip as I was away for 20 months and didn’t go home once during that time.


What destinations are on your bucket list?  

Everywhere I have yet to visit (and everywhere I’ve already visited!) More specifically, the top places on my bucket list at the moment are Peru, Chile, Bhutan, The Seychelles, Madagascar and lately I’m finding myself being more and more drawn towards India (perhaps because I’m reading a fascinating book about Bombay).

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2019?  

I’m going to Oman in a couple of weeks with my boyfriend. We’re doing a road trip around the country travelling through the mountains, desert and along the coastline. Other than that I’ve got a few places on my list for 2019 including Israel, Tallinn, Lake Bled, Malta, Sicily and Liechtenstein.

Do you do research for your upcoming trips or do you wing it when you get there?  

Research always. I can spend weeks researching a trip, but for me that’s half the fun. I love finding the hidden secrets, rooftop restaurants and best brunch spots and that often takes a lot of time.


What are some items you can’t travel without?  

My camera would be my number one item I can’t travel without as it’s my source of inspiration whilst I travel. I see the world differently when I take my camera out as I’m constantly trying to share the beauty I see with my own eyes through my lens.

What camera gear do you use for your travels?  

I use the 5DMKII with the 50mm f/1.2 lens and the 35mm f/1.4.

What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?  

My favourite photo I’ve taken would have to be sunrise over Bagan with dozens of hot balloons floating over the temple-studded landscape. But my favourite photo taken of me would be the one where I’m sitting amongst a sea of pink tulips in the Netherlands.


Which airline do you prefer to fly with?  

Air Tahiti for the epic views.

Before we go, Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers

The classic Mark Twain always inspires: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

You can find Faye at:


If you’d like to be featured on my Behind the Blog series, please enquire via email at

Behind the Blog – Meet Isabel from Bel Around The World

Isabel Leong Athens Greece

Hi! I’m Isabel and I am a freelance travel writer and travel blogger at Bel Around The World. I work full time at a digital agency specializing in social media.

Where are you based/located?


What first sparked your love for travel?

When I set off on a one-way ticket to Europe through my school’s international exchange. This program allows university students to do a semester of classes abroad in any host country.  Through exploring Europe on my own for 6 months, I’ve grown to love the idea of exploring the unknown and discovering new places.

Since then, I’ve only taken travelling in my own hands and begun seriously pursuing it, both with my blog and setting time and money aside to do it throughout the year.

What are some of your favorite countries to visit? 

I usually go for scenic destinations since I’m based in a city. My favourite city is New York, beach destination is Maldives, and the best place I’ve been for a road trip is New Zealand!

Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?

Oh I don’t think any country should be avoided just because of certain stereotype – every place has something worth exploring and learning about!

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels?

Discovering beautiful landscapes that I never would have thought exist in the world until I saw it in my own eyes, like in New Zealand.

Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

Yes! One of it is to be bold and never do anything (or the lack of) you would regret – you may only have that one chance to visit a place or try something foreign. More tips for first time travellers in this post: 10 Tips For New Travellers.

Mount Titlis, Switzerland

What destinations are on your bucket list?

I recently checked off Maldives (hurray to that!). Next would be Africa to see the safari, Fiji for the beaches, Nepal for the great Himalayan trek and Arizona’s Grand Canyon!

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2019?

Next stop is Bhutan in South Asia

Do you reasearch for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Yes, sufficiently so!

What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?


Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

I am easy with the type of airlines as long as it makes it affordable to get to one place. I guess budget airlines are my best friends!

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers.

I love inspiring quotes. One of which is “The world owes you nothing. The world has given you everything you need.”
More inspiring ones can be found on my Instagram @belardtheworld! 

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 8.26.50 PM
Social Media:

If you’d like to be featured on my Behind the Blog series, please enquire via email at

Photo Diary – Bora Bora, French Polynesia


Behind the Blog – Meet Trisa from The Free Passport

Hi! I’m Trisa – 28 year old serial wanderluster, self-taught photographer and creator of the travel blog, The Free Passport. I’m a global health advocate by training, currently working for a global HIV/AIDS organisation – but my true calling lies in visual storytelling. I launched my blog in 2014, originally as a personal place to showcase my pictures. I had hundreds of photos just sitting on my hard drive doing nothing, and the world is too beautiful of a place for pictures of it to be sitting and doing nothing! Two years later, it has since evolved into so much more than I had originally thought was possible. I love the space for exactly what it is – the intersection between my passion for photography, travel and global consciousness. I also love it for what it represents. It is the result of the current chapter of my life. The chapter where I had to rediscover myself in the absence of the things that once defined me. And I couldn’t be more proud of it.


Where are you based/located?

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Los Angeles, California, I now live and work in New York City.

What first sparked your love for travel?

I actually didn’t really enjoy traveling when I was younger – I’m not really sure why. But as I started to branch into the field of global health and international development, I began to really appreciate how truly amazing the world is and how you can’t take for granted opportunities you have to see it.

What are some of your favourite countries to visit?

There so many it’s hard to choose! Italy and Greece are two of my all-time favourites but I’m constantly updating my bucket list with new places so I’m sure I have dozen of ‘favourites’ yet to be discovered!


Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?

My work takes me to some interesting places – places that I wouldn’t necessary recommend, as they aren’t your typical ‘tourist’ destinations. But every place has something special to share and I think each traveller has to make their own decisions!

What destinations are on your bucket list?

Peru! Sri Lanka! Maldives! The list goes on and on..

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?

Yes! Actually a few days ago my partner-in-crime and I booked our flights for a five-week adventure in Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. If anyone as any tips, please share! It’ll be my first time in the region and I’m so excited!


Do you do any research for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Absolutely. I admit I’m a type-A planner, though I’m working on being more flexible and go-with-the-flow – because if you’ve ever travelled, you know that things don’t always go as planned! Google Flights, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are my go-to’s for travel planning. I also always buy a travel guide to have with me throughout. I enjoy reading the different recommendations and it comes in handy when you don’t have access to internet or for reading during long flights/bus rides.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels? / What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?

 There are so many! But some of my favourites would have to be from the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and this one taken at the top of Trolltunga in Norway.


I did the hike to Trolltunga with my parents – who weren’t in the best shape (haha). It took us nearly 11 hours to do the 22km roundtrip but it was worth every minute of the view from the top. I was so proud of them!!

Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

No one airline company is perfect but I try to build loyalty those that prioritise their corporate social responsibility.

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers / Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. That’s my favourite quote and the mantra I live by. Never be afraid to see more of the world. That may seem easier said than done, given that are very real logistical and financial implications to traveling, right? But in the end, making your dreams a reality will always be worth the investment.

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Top things to do on Santorini Island

Visit the town of Oia

This is personally my favourite town in Santorini. It is overwhelming how beautiful the view is from here. I highly recommend staying in this area when visiting Santorini.


Ride a quad bike to Ammoudi Bay

My friend and I accidentally stumbled upon this small village and were amazed to discover it was used for some of the movie Sisterhood of the Travelling pants 2. It is a fishing village and has around 5 cute restaurants with tables looking over the bay. To get here – keep driving through the town of Oia and you will come across a sign directing you where to go. *Beware parking is a nightmare so best to take a scooter or a quad bike!


Visit the Ancient town of Thera

Ancient Thera dates back to the 9th Century BC and has the most amazing views of the Island!


Perissa Beach

A black sand beach with cute artsy souvenier shops, cafes and restaurants. After a hard mornings shopping, you can spend the afternoon lounging on the beach with free wifi and a food and drinks menu. *Usually 5 euros to rent a lounge chair


Volcanic Crater Tour

A MUST do while in Santorini. The tour includes a boat ride to the island of Nea Kameni where the volcano is located (on a ship – how cool is that!?), there you have the opportunity to walk to the top of the crater, where you get to see Santorini from afar, and briefly learn about the history of the volcano. Afterwards you can go swimming in the hot springs that were created thousands of years ago, then you sail to Thirasia Island, where you can eat in the small taverns near the port, swim, or visit the village of Manolas on the top of Thirasia.

I did my tour with – click here


Red Beach

This beach is well known for its colour, hence the name. It can be reached either by boat or by foot, lounge chairs are available for rent to lie on the beach. Be prepared to pay for one as the sand is very rocky. Awesome place to visit, surrounded by red cliffs and clear water.


Try traditional greek food

When in Greece, you must try traditional food. Santorini was my first stop in Greece and I couldn’t wait to try it all. Baklava is my favourite – a sweet nut filled pastry. If you’re on a budget and can’t dine out for all meals like me, kebabs are only around 2 euros.


Watch the sun set in Oia

Follow the signs in the town of Oia and park yourself up to watch the sun set. It is a breathtaking thing to watch, but I recommend getting their early to secure yourself a spot as it gets quite busy.


Ride a donkey

Last but not least – have a go at the locals mode of transport and ride a donkey!


Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – Schloss Neuschwanstein

Whilst visiting a friend in Munich a while back, we took the opportunity to head out on a road trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein – One of the most famous Castles in all of Europe.


Schloss Neuschwanstein was created by King Ludwig II “The Fairy-Tale King’ of Bavaria. Construction began in 1869 and was never finished, due to the sudden death of Ludwig II in 1886. It ended up being used as a model for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The Palace was intended as a private retreat for the King but became open to the public on his death.

The best view of the Castle is from Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge in English), which is just a 10 minute walk from the Castle grounds. Marienbrucke is located over Pöllat Gorge and above a waterfall.

The Castle tours are offered at set times only and have limits on numbers, so I suggest you reserve your tickets online. 


Unfortunately we made the mistake of trying to aquire our tickets on arrival and didn’t manage to book a tour until 4pm (we had arrived there at 11am!). Luckily we had noticed a sign for the Tegelberg-cable car on our way in, and decided to venture in that direction.

This ended up being a fantastic journey with spectacular views from atop the Ammer Mountains.

The ride to the top takes about 10 minutes and takes you to a height of 2,150 meters, with marvellous views of Schloss Neuschwanstein on your way. From here you can either perch yourself at the cafe, watch paraglider’s jump off into the horizon, or wander around the tracks.