Swap your Winter for a Kiwi Summer…
If you’re already fed up of the windy UK weather this winter (particularly those of you ‘up north’) then you’ll probably have started daydreaming about next summer already. But what if we told you that you didn’t have to wait 6 months for your sunshine fix and that a bright and sunny summer awaits you right now, just 12,000 miles away in New Zealand…
Happy Kirihimete – a ‘Kiwi Christmas’
Christmas in the UK is either a time of great joy or a time of great stress, so if you fancy getting away from it all for a few weeks then you won’t go far wrong with the land of the long white cloud. With many of our own traditions still influencing the festivities at this time of year you’ll still manage to ‘feel at home’. However, Kiwi’s definitely have their own unique way of making the most of the Christmas season…
Hanging out at the Hangi
A Hangi is the Maori version of a traditional roast dinner. A feast of various meats and vegetables is prepared and cooked with hot stones in a pit under the ground. Delicious and sociable, this alternative to oven-cooked turkey won’t see you hidden away in a kitchen all afternoon or leave you with mountains of washing up!
Light up the Pohutukawa
Forget about de-tangling those irritating fairy lights – this NZ Christmas tree comes with all the colour you need to get into the festive spirit. Bright red blooms in December make this coastal tree the perfect centrepiece for Christmas day on the beach, as you enjoy a relaxed bbq with new found friends.
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Santa really does get sexy when he visits New Zealand. Witness St Nick like you’ve never seen him before as he dons speedos, sunglasses and jandals (flip flops) before delivering his prezzies via jetski, surfboard or traditional Waka (Maori) canoe!
Make a wish upon a star
One thing that we’ll never forget is the mesmerizing night sky throughout the months of December to February. Lying on your back on a peaceful balmy night, staring at the sparkling Southern Cross constellation is an awe-inspiring experience for anyone.
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Strawberries & Cream at Christmas?
Why not? The Kiwi summer is all about getting active and having fun with friends old and new. You will have plenty of opportunities to indulge in a bit of tennis, cricket, beach volleyball, fishing or anything else that takes your fancy. You can’t say that about Christmas in the UK now can you?
Be the first to celebrate New Year’s Eve
Some of you may think that Christmas just isn’t the same without crackling fires, snowmen and gritters on the road. So if we haven’t managed to persuade you to celebrate Christmas Kiwi style, why not wait until Santa has been and gone and head down there to see in the New Year instead.
You’ll be one of the first people on the planet to welcome in 2012 so here are just a few ideas for a NYE you’ll never forget…
‘Rhythm & Vines’
This three day rock ‘n roll, funk, hip-hop, R&B, pop, country and blues event is held in Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island and is New Zealand’s biggest New Year festival. There is nothing like 20,000 people celebrating to a backdrop of live bands and bubbly from the Waiohika vineyard where the event takes place, to give welcoming the New Year a sense of occasion!
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The South Island’s thrill-seeker paradise, Queenstown, sees in the New Year with a lakeside firework display, live music and street parties with the Remarkables Mountain range providing an epic backdrop to an epic celebration! This year, Queenstown also plays host to EarthTonz, a new annual music festival which features more than 30 hours of live dance music over two days. On 30th December there’s a great line up of Kiwi bands at Gibbston Valley Station, while on New Year’s Eve the big guns include Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) & DJ Aero, Crystal Method and British break beat band The Freestylers.
La De Da Festival Alana Estate, Martinborough
Back up in the North Island, is New Zealand’s newest music festival La De Da. A distinctly Kiwi affair held at the Alana Estate in Martinborough, La De Da has a long lineup including SkisM, Kora, Katchafire, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Sola Rosa.
Lazy Summerdaze in 2012
Once Christmas and New Year are done and dusted, the summer fun really starts in New Zealand! The Summerdaze summer festival kicks off on the 31st of December in Queenstown and runs for the whole of January, keeping visitors and locals entertained with music, sports and games every day of the month.
But this isn’t the only thing going on throughout the summer – the whole country becomes a hive of activity with festivals, sporting events, water sports and bbqs on the beach…
‘The Big Day Out’
Held in Auckland on the 20th of January, this is one of New Zealand’s largest outdoor concerts with a huge lineup of international and top local artists.
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Feel the vines at summer concerts!
Who wouldn’t want to combine listening to their favourite band with enjoying a glass of their favourite wine? In New Zealand, you can do this all summer long at one of the many winery concerts taking place throughout January and February.
The Peregrine’s winery will be hosting some Australian and American bands on the 9th of February; the Doobie Brothers will be making an appearance at Gibbston Valley Winery on the 11th, while Mission Estate in Hawkes Bay is welcoming none other than Rod Stewart on 25th February 2012!
There really are endless opportunities for fun and frolics in this part of the world and if anyone knows how to make the most out of the summer, it’s the Kiwis! It’s great to do something out of the ordinary once in a while so we hope we’ve managed to feed your imagination and persuade you to head over to the southern hemisphere this season. New Zealand is a place that is very close to our hearts and we’d love for you to get as much enjoyment out of it as we did!
Have you been to New Zealand? What are your favourite memories from the land of the long white cloud?
The Marlborough region of New Zealand is probably best known for producing great wine – in fact this is where
Today we had the longest driving day of our New Zealand adventure so far – over ten hours from one