How to plan a winter-escape for $250


Is it just me, or is there something about winter than can make you go a little bit stir crazy? While winter is perfect for cosying up with a good book and cup of tea, getting into a bit of baking or binging on Netflix without feeling too guilty, sometimes you just need an excuse to get out of the house.

But luckily there’s a simple solution: head off on the perfect winter mini-escape! Regardless of the season, there are so many beautiful places to visit in our backyard – sometimes the hardest part is choosing where to go. But the best part is a quick winter holiday doesn’t need to be expensive – all you need is a bit of forward thinking and planning.

Set your budget
First things first: decide how much you’re able to spend on your winter mini-break and use that to determine how long you go away for, how far you travel and what activities you do.

We recently switched our power over to Genesis Energy who have an awesome offer at the moment where you get up to $250 off your first month’s electricity bill when you sign-up your home to a 12 month fixed term Happy Winter plan.

Not only is Genesis Energy’s pricing super competitive (so we’re looking set to actually save money on our power bill each month), but making the switch left us with $250 extra in our budget. Because our electricity bill comes in a lot higher during the winter months thanks to our trusty dryer and having the heating cranked up, we were able to get $250 off our first month’s bill –  and that became our winter mini-break budget!

Sounds pretty tight, right? It is, but it’s totally achievable if you plan your little holiday the right way.

Pick your destination
Let’s be honest, chances are you aren’t going to be able to pick up return airfares anywhere on this kind of budget – at least not if you need to pay for accommodation and activities too!

The trick is choosing a mini-break destination that’s an easy drive away – somewhere you can drive to and from on a tank of petrol. Not only does this help keep your costs down, but it also means you can make the most of your time away from home, actually getting out and exploring rather than spending half the day sitting in the car. For us, the Coromandel is the perfect destination – and if you get a good winter’s weekend, the beaches are just as beautiful as summer (though we’re not brave enough to take a dip!)


Think about activities
What are you actually going to do when you get there? Is just having a night away from home going to be enough, or will you want to head out and see some of the local sights? Before you get too set on your destination, have a quick think about what you’ll be able to do within your budget. A great way to keep your costs down while still having a great time is to make sure that there’s a good mix of free and paid activities – think nice walking tracks, window-shopping and hot pools!

Be clever with your accommodation
Accommodation is always one of the biggest costs when you have a night away, but there are loads of ways you can help keep this down. Why not see if any of your friends or family have a bach they wouldn’t mind you staying at for a night or two? If that’s not going to work, then booking a private room through Airbnb is a great option – not only are they super affordable, but there is usually a handful of options so you can find somewhere that suits you perfectly. If more traditional accommodation is your thing, then keep an eye on booking sites like Wotif to snag a great last-minute deal.

Still wondering whether it’s actually possible? Then check out how we managed to head away for a night with the $250 we saved, thanks to Genesis Energy:

Petrol We used a tank of petrol for the return trip. The trick was not driving too much when we arrived! $60
Accommodation We booked a lovely little private room in a house on the water through Airbnb near Whitianga which suited us perfectly. $90
Activities The weather ended up being so lovely that we spent all our time out and about enjoying the beach and bush walks. Instead, we used some of our budget for a nice drink by the water instead. $50
Food and drink We grabbed a few things from the cupboard at home (including a bottle of wine!) and picked up some chilled essentials for meals when we arrived at our destination. $50
TOTAL   $250

Want to head off on a winter-escape of your own? Then why not switch your home’s electricity to Genesis Energy on a 12 month Happy Winter plan – you’ll receive up to $250 off your first bill, which can absolutely be put towards a night out of the city. Pop over to Genesis Energy’s website for more info.


Thanks to the lovely team at Genesis Energy, I have a $100 Prezzy Card to give away to help one lucky reader head off on a winter mini-escape of their own. 

To be in to win, simply leave a comment below letting me know where you’d head off to on your winter mini-escape. It’s that easy!

Thanks to Genesis Energy for sponsoring this post and providing me with $250 credit on a Genesis Energy Happy Winter plan. All comments and photos are, and always will be, my own. Entries close 11.59pm Wednesday 10 August. The winners will be chosen at random and notified on Thursday 11 August. Each winner must make contact within 3 business days or they’ll forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

Five weeks of #adventure


It’s funny how after five weeks of travelling you can slip so quickly back into normal life. In just two weeks we’re back home, back on local time, back at work and back to life as we know it – and it’s feeling pretty good!

Every day since we’ve returned someone asks me what my absolute favourite part of our trip was – and the question stumps me every single time.

The trouble is, I have too many favourite parts; we caught up with some of our best friends scattered across the globe, saw some of the most mindboggling scenery, famous building and monuments that are older than we can begin to compare back home… it was all around pretty amazing.

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Europe, here we come!


Big news – Kevin and I are heading off on a five-week long Northern Hemisphere adventure in just three months; I cannot wait!

One of my best friends is getting married in Somerset in July and there was never any question about whether we’d head over for it – as soon as she told us she was engaged I was planning the trip!

We decided to build a holiday around the wedding and have been busy saving, planning and booking for the trip for almost a year and now it’s just around the corner. To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement.

Here’s a peek at what destinations we have planned so far…

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