25th March 2017

Quite some time ago you’ll remember I was working on a project that spanned over seven months from start to finish. Well, this is what we were working on; a five part ‘Destination Guide’ video series for Qantas’ in-flight entertainment, which was viewed by over 1 million people who travel with Qantas every month.

Filmed in five cities across four countries over the space of four months; Tokyo, Santiago, New York, London and San Francisco, this video series was the largest production we’ve ever taken on. I can’t begin to tell you how many hours go into organising logistics internationally like local producers, filming permits, flights, accommodation, etc. Luckily, our talent casting process was easy and we had the chance to work with an amazing group of Australian talent; Artist CJ Hendry in New York, Beauty Vlogger Chloe Morello in Santiago, International twin models Jordan and Zac Stenmark in London, and musicians Hugo and Jimmy of the Flight Facilities in San Francisco. I also feature in our Destination Guide for Tokyo which felt strange being in front of the camera when I had been busy working behind it for the rest of the series!

My favourite moment from working on this special project was when about half way through it was announced that I was Qantas’ Digital Consultant for 2016. It was an incredible milestone in my career, especially someone who grew up idolising Qantas as one of the most iconic and premium Australian brands. A year later and I’m thrilled to have renewed my contract with Qantas to continue my work with them on their digital projects and strategy, but more on that later.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have continued our Destination Guide video series in none other than Auckland, New Zealand. I have been to New Zealand twice in the past; once for New Zealand Fashion Week, and secondly to scout wedding venues in the South Island last year. It felt serendipitous that for my third time to New Zealand I would be returning with Luke on the same day exactly a year later, especially as we rarely work together anymore.

During our visit this time we had the chance to experience the tiniest fraction of what Auckland had to offer. For someone who usually is out in the wilderness hiking, swimming or exploring anything besides the concrete of bustling cities in a new country, it felt refreshing to find a city that exuded the calm and peaceful ease that so many of my friends from New Zealand possess. I loved our time there and I’m already planning on going back. If there’s one thing I’m definitely returning for it’s the food – it was easily the best organic produce I’ve ever had.

I hope you enjoy watching this and it in someway inspires you to pack your bags and go exploring.

A special thanks to New Zealand Tourism for asking us to continue our vide series (and to our host Lauren, who could be in some way my spirit animal), Qantas for asking us to spearhead this digital project, Masses Collective for coming on board as our video partner and creating this with us, my incredible team who spent seven months working on executing this from start to finish, and to all the beautiful talent who joined us on this exciting adventure.

Photo by Luke Shadbolt

Disclaimer: Gary Pepper Girl visited Auckland in partnership with New Zealand Tourism and Qantas Airways. All opinions are our own.