While planning my first trip to New Zealand, you can imagine how surprised I was to find out that my 10-day trip to New Zealand in August falls during the winter months. Maybe that is why my flight from Dallas to New Zealand was so cheap! Nevertheless, New Zealand summer starts in December and ends in February while winter lasts from June to August – opposite what we experience here in New England, USA.
With that being said, since I’ll have a lot to share about spending winter in New Zealand, I’ve invited Brittnay Sharman to share her top things to do in New Zealand during the summer months.
Brittnay is a professional house sitter from Australia who recently spent two months in New Zealand for a house sit assignment.
Take it away Brittnay.
New Zealand Summer Months
The Top Things That Make A Kiwi Summer So Great!
The New Zealand summer is one of the most unique and welcoming in the world. There is something so inviting about this laid-back place. It almost feels like time has stood still and people really appreciate the smaller things in life. Summertime in New Zealand holds a special place in my heart. There is no other country where it is socially acceptable to go to the supermarket bare foot, or run into the dairy (the corner shop) wearing only a towel. Wet, sandy hair is the norm and the smell of sunscreen is the only fragrance that you require.
So when you are in New Zealand, how do you experience summer the proper way like a local? I will dive deep into the 5 things that will make your summer in New Zealand as Kiwi as it gets.
Take a Swim in the Rivers (or Oceans)
New Zealand is home to 15,000 kilometers of coastline. So naturally, the New Zealand summer revolves around swimming, surfing, skimboarding and bodysurfing. The New Zealand beach vibe is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable in the world. Spend the entire day with a ‘chilli bin’ full of snacks, drinks and ice blocks while sitting under your umbrella between ocean dips.
If salt water is not quite your cup of tea, New Zealand is home to over 180,000 kilometers of rivers. You don’t get much more Kiwi than heading down to your local ‘swimming hole’ and spending the day jumping from trees, banks or cliffs.
Pack a lunch because you are in for a long day of climbing and jumping.
Note: Some of New Zealand’s beaches have volcanic black sand. Midsummer this sand gets extremely hot. It is very important to wear ‘jandels’ (sandals) or have a towel ready in hand to stand on if it is a long run to where you are setting up.
What is tramping?
Tramping is the New Zealand word for hiking or bushwalking. Essentially it means getting out and exploring.
New Zealand is home to some of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. A big part of summer in New Zealand is exploring the many national parks, coastlines, and rugged countryside New Zealand has to offer.
Take the time to explore some of the most beautiful vistas this country has to offer by foot. There are dozens of tracks for you, all ranging from day trips to a few weeks. More often than not though you will get to explore these stunning locations without seeing another soul all day. It’s a great way to soak up the New Zealand weather the way it was meant to.
Eat Fish ‘n’ Chips
Eating fish ‘n’ chips on the beach is about as Kiwi as you can get. However, I am not talking about the classy fish ‘n’ chips that you get for $35.99 that comes with a side of fries in some ironic serving dish.
The fish ‘n’ chips I am talking about are the real fish ‘n’ chips. By that, I mean ordering a family pack for $20 (including a can of tomato sauce) from your local fish ‘n’ chip shop. The $20 family pack varies from shop to shop, however, it will usually comprise of 2 to 3 pieces of battered or crumbed fish, 2 or 3 hot dogs, chips for 4 people and enough potato cakes to feed you for a week. This is all enclosed in greaseproof paper wrapped tightly in a copy of last week’s local newspaper.
Now when eating your fish ‘n’ chips there should be no cutlery, plates or even tables involved.
All you need is a piece of grass or a sand dune, with a view of the beach. Then you unwrap your package, crack open your Watties Tomato sauce and enjoy the view while going all in on your platter of deep-fried, crunchy goodness with only your hands. Perfection.
Have a Beach BBQ
After a long day, there is nothing more satisfying than watching the sunset whilst having a bbq at the beach. Most built up beaches have free bbq setups that you can use. These are great, however, for the real experience, you need to get your hands on a classic portable gas bbq. Once you have your BBQ, all you need is a family pack of sausages, a loaf of bread, Watties Tomato Sauce and a few beverages. That is the recipe for a classic Kiwi beach BBQ.
Like most BBQs, many beverages get consumed. However, it is really important that when you’re enjoying your coldies everyone is still being safe and practicing gas grill safety. The last thing you want is a trip the hospital when your delicious food is ready to go.
Head Off to the ‘Batch’ for the Weekend
The classic Kiwi Batch. It’s the pride and joy of most Kiwi families who are lucky enough to have one. The Batch is essentially a holiday home or beach house that is situated at a holiday destination.
Generally, a batch is a very basic house but has all the essentials for an awesome weekend away. Think bodyboards, deck chairs and all the old board games you can handle. The Batch is the perfect getaway to experience the real down to earth New Zealand. A classic batch should only have the essentials. So this means no internet or t.v.
The Batch is a great way to spend some quality time with your friends, loved ones and your new best friends that you met down the street.
Overall, these activities are the golden rules to having the most authentic Kiwi summer of your life. But wait, there is one more essential part of New Zealand summer you are still missing. This is something that, to be honest, should be with you at all times while doing the above activities. You cannot have a classic Kiwi Summer without quenching your thirst with a bottle of L&P. It’s the true taste of summertime in New Zealand and it’s really the only way that you can cool off.
With so many ways to enjoy New Zealand’s summer months, spend a few days in Auckland and explore some of the top things to do in Auckland.
About Brittnay Sharman:
Brittnay is a house sitter from Australia. She has been living in London for the past two years and recently moved home to Melbourne, Austraulia. She has visited over 21 countries in Europe and Africa in that time. You can find all of her adventures in housesitting and more on The Travelling House Sitters. If you’re interested in house sitting, she also has a guide on how to become a house sitter.
What do you like the most about New Zealand summer?
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.