Denise Stephens

Freelance writer

New Zealand

I'm a freelance travel writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. Coming from a background in heritage projects, I like to explore a destination's culture and heritage. My work has appeared in print and digital media in New Zealand and internationally.

Recent destinations include Dunedin, Hamilton, Kaikōura, Auckland, Wairarapa, and Paris.
Upcoming destinations include New South Wales.

NZ Herald
Floral fantastic: Why Japan is more than cherry blossoms

It may be famous for cherry blossoms but there are plenty of other florals to admire in Japan, writes Denise Stephens. For the past three seasons, the Japanese have enjoyed popular cherry blossom viewing sites free of crowds as closed borders meant no international tourists.

5 Ways To Travel To One Of New Zealand's Most Sought-After Regions

Thousands of years ago, glaciers carved a fiord into the mountains, creating steep cliffs that plunge deep into the sea. Today Milford Sound is popular with visitors to New Zealand because of its rugged scenery and the wildlife that flourishes in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world.

NZ Herald
Paris post-pandemic: What it's like travelling in the City of Lights

Tourists are returning to Paris as pandemic restrictions ease and the city opens up. When I visited in the weeks leading up to Easter, I enjoyed returning to familiar places but there were some changes due to anti-Covid-19 measures. Travelling to and from France also required completing more formalities, with requirements changing just a couple of weeks before my trip.

AA Directions
Exploring the secret spots of inland Kaikōura

Kaikōura is famous for whale watching and crayfish, but for many travellers it’s a quick stop on the way to somewhere else. I spent a leisurely five days there with Driftwood Eco-Tours, exploring the area from the mountains to the sea. Our small group met locals in wool sheds and on walking tracks, listening to their stories and discovering places far from the usual tourist route.

NZ Herald
The Road to War: Featherston and the Remutaka Pass

The Anzacs who marched from Featherston are remembered in a sculpture that points towards Wellington and their waiting troopships, writes Denise Stephens Nine bronze columns lean towards the Remutaka Range, recalling the route thousands of New Zealanders followed on their way to war. They marched from Featherston Camp, through the town and up over the hill.

Herald on Sunday
A treasure trove of history

Denise Stephens checks a collection that showcases Dunedin's literary heritage.

Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations NZ
Exploring Mana Island: History and Restoration - Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations NZ

One of New Zealand's earliest farms, Mana Island is now a scientific reserve. Denise Stephens learns about the restoration projects. Gannets basked in the sun, their cries filling the air. From where we stood at the top of the cliff, the colony looked real enough, but the birds were concrete models and the sounds were recorded.

NZ Herald
7 Queenstown must-dos to spike your interest in history - NZ Herald

Queenstown is well-known today for adventure activities, but it also has a rich historic legacy that's worth exploring. Early European settlers made their way through the mountains to establish farms, but the district really boomed with the discovery of gold in 1862. By the end of the 19th century, gold mining was over.

Travelstoke by Matador Network
Where to find Tokyo's prettiest gardens | Tokyo, Japan - travelstoke

Tokyo is famous for its urban landscapes, but its beautiful gardens are an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Japanese gardens are carefully designed to create miniature landscapes which make it easy to forget that you're in a big city.