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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To New Zealand With Jessica McCormack

Jessica McCormack – the queen of daytime diamonds – hails from New Zealand. Home to undulating landscapes – not to mention a diverse culinary landscape – it is the perfect place to go off-grid.

Though now based in London, Jessica goes back to New Zealand at least once, maybe twice, a year to visit family. It’s perhaps no great wonder that Jessica went into jewellery design – “My father was an auctioneer, so I grew up around antiques and beautiful things. But I really fell in love with jewellery during an apprenticeship at Sotheby’s, which I took when I first moved to London.”

Today, her pieces are as at home on the red carpet, as on the best-dressed women of London. Her signature Gypset earrings are amongst her most covetable pieces: “Our busy lifestyles require jewellery that’s wearable, that can easily take you from day to night. Our Gypset earrings, for example, do that perfectly. You can wear them to the office, and then straight out for dinner, and feel like you’re dressed for either occasion.”

We caught up with McCormack to get her insider take on the best things to do and see in New Zealand.

Essential items to pack…

I travel with the Dr. Barbara Sturm Flight Essentials Kit for long-haul flights.

The best time to visit New Zealand is…

Anytime, to be honest. However; it’s particularly beautiful in the summer (January, February, and March).

For an early morning workout head to…

A walk around the park, or the beach.

Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…

The Hotel Britomart if in the city, it’s very central to Auckland’s Britomart precinct. Or Huka Lodge if you want to get out of the city.

Where should we go for breakfast?

The Candy Shop in Newmarket, Aukland.

Your favourite restaurant in town…

The Engine Room for fine dining, and Bar Céleste, which is more casual.

And for dinner with friends?

East St. Hall.

A must-try spot for date night?

Annabel’s Wine Bar.

The best drink at the bar…

A beer on the beach is best.

The best place to treat yourself?

A weekend on Great Barrier Island. It’s so far removed from everyone and everything.

The cultural spot to rave about…

Auckland Art Gallery.

For great shopping head to…

Simon James has the best edit of fashion, design, and furniture. You really don’t need to shop anywhere else.

For a change of pace try…

North of Auckland in Sandy Bay, or anywhere outside the cities to be honest. Coming from London everything feels like a change of pace.

Great day trips include…

Pākiri Beach, Tawharanui.

For the best views head to…

Milford Sound.

A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?

Rain by Kirsty Gunn. It’s also been adapted into my favourite film of the same name, directed by Christine Jeffs.

How should we spend the final day of our trip?

On the water if possible, fishing and swimming.

In a word New Zealand is…

Heaven on earth.

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Any Questions or Tips to add?