6 Things I love about New Zealand in Summer

A New Zealand summer is filled with many delights and I’m thrilled to share with you some of the things I love the most about summer in the country of my birth.  

pohutukawa1.    The pohutukawa trees. These awesomely majestic trees herald the onset of summer and can be enjoyed throughout the country in various varieties. Pohutukawa is known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree for that very reason, and as many families enjoy camping in the lead up to Christmas and through to the New Year it isn’t unusual to see northern coastlines colourfully adorned with the bright red feathery flowers. 

2.    The sound of crickets singing at night as I fall asleep. There’s something I find so deeply relaxing about the sound of haheicrickets at bedtime. The only time I didn’t find that so was when we were camping at Hahei, on the Coromandel Peninsula, and one hungry cricket had found its way into my gear bag and was merrily gnawing a hole in the front of a muslin sundress I briefly owned! 

3.    Camping! New Zealand has plenty of coastline and through the years it has become a Kiwi custom to migrate to canvas cities by the beach and relax and frolic and generally have a wonderful time. I love getting away from routines, from television and the internet (although I have to admit to just a bit of withdrawal regarding the internet), from the sound of sirens and suburbia. And I especially love having all the time in the world to catch up on my reading! Unfortunately, with the beauty of our coastline and the average land values associated with coastline property a huge number of campsites have been shut down and subdivided off for sale so finding a campsite by the beach is becoming a rarity in the mid-upper North Island and finding one with a sealed boat ramp even more so.  

boat

 4.    Along with camping comes water sport. One of the things I love the most is heading out on the water with our boat. It’s big enough that the family can enjoy a day out without tripping over one another (much!), and waterskiing and sea-biscuiting are a heap of fun, but not so big that it can’t be handled by just two people with a couple of fishing rods, a picnic, and perhaps a nicely chilled white wine. New Zealand has the highest boat ownership per capita in the world and in the city where I live, Auckland, that is very evident by the number of marinas and dry docks around the harbour as well as the number of homes with a boat and trailer pushed up alongside.  

5.    Nicely chilled New Zealand white wine! J Neither camping nor a picnic nor a barbeque would be right without a perfectly chilled New Zealand white wine to enjoy. My preference is chardonnay, particularly some of the beautiful Marlborough and Hawkes Bay vintages, but I can be swayed by a cleverly blended Sauvignon Blanc as well.  

6.    Barbeque dinners and a clean kitchen J. There’s nothing the man about the house likes more in summer time than to enjoy a nice cold beer or a glass of a robust Aussie red wine while he cooks dinner on the barbeque. Of course I love it too because my kitchen bench, stovetop and oven all stay nice and clean and washing up is a breeze leaving me more time to either read, or to write.  

So tell me, what are your favourite things about summer where you live?

UPDATE!!!

Win a GORGEOUS pink diamond key-ring with watch attached, just by posting a comment to Yvonne’s blog, 6 Things I love about Summer in New Zealand. It’s THAT easy – and it really is gorgeous!!!

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35 Responses to “6 Things I love about New Zealand in Summer”

  1. picnics in the park
    sitting in the gazebo drinking Iced Tea
    friends over and have a BBQ or a weiner roast in the fire pit
    driving in the country at night and looking at the stars

  2. I love summer fruits — peaches and mangoes and cherries. We have orchards not too distant and I love getting them straight from the grower. The flavour isn’t the same from shop-bought. And I also love ice-cream and gelato. I feel a yen right now…. Yum!

  3. We have a Summertimes Festival where I live and there are lots of activities. I’ve just spent a great day in the sun on the Daffodil Lawn watching three silly beggars act out the complete history of New Zealand in under 90 minutes. They were hilarious. The sun beat down, the crickets chirrupped, the people laughed, the wine was cold – and it was all free! We have some great free concerts in Hagley Park, with fireworks and the papers always say 100,000 people showed up but I never believe them. I’d have to say most of my summer is spent in the park, either walking, attending concerts and plays, playing petanque, feeding the ducks or just sitting on a blanket writing or reading. Bliss.

  4. Hi Yvonne,
    The pictures you posted were gorgeous! I’m feeling very envious right now, because its winter here and 20 degrees (F) and snowy here. *shiver* I love the summers because of all you can do outside. BBQs top the list -and bonfires, my birthday is in the summer, and then of course there’s the fact the school isn’t in session… all the flowers are in bloom – what’s not to love? 😉

  5. Robynl–I totally agree with you on enjoying the stars at night. When we’re camping I’m usually stunned into silence at the beauty of the night sky. Unfortunately, this year, we had both the forerunner and after effects of a passing cyclone to ensure we saw very little light from above.

    Bron–yes! summer fruit that hasn’t sat in a cool store after being picked too early and then artificially ripened will always get my vote!

    Jan–your Summertime Festival sounds wonderful. I wouldn’t mind having seen the the history of NZ in 90 minutes! 🙂

    JSL–sorry to have made you feel envious. Just think, though, while we’re being battered by yuck weather come the middle of the year, you’ll be celebrating your birthday and enjoying all those wonders of summer in your part of the world!

  6. oooh, Bron, a girl after my own heart – mangoes, cherries, watermelon ::drools::: We grow lots of stuff in our backyard and the taste is so much better than shop-bought stuff! Corn on the cob, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries…

    Yvonne – what a gorgeous place NZ is 🙂 Had the pleasure once, will definitely do again soon! But the camping thing… err… my idea of roughing it is 3-star .

  7. Wonderful pictures, I wish we had summer here in Finland too right now! I live in the archipelago and the best I know is getting out to one of the tiny islands, sitting on a cliff reading and looking at the wonderful sunset while my husband is making coffee..

  8. Clingstone peaches and cherries are my thing. I could eat boxes of them and usually do.

    Jan, your summertime festival on the Daffodil lawn sounds wonderful. I could picture being there. But what’s the Daffodil lawn? Daffodils are my favourite flower and I’m interested in anything to do with them.

    Yvonne, I’m glad you got to mention those pohutukawa trees. They’re gorgeous!

    My favourite thing about summer in Melbourne? When it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold (and we’re known for having both in the one day), the weather is just gorgeous. At Christmas it seemed like most of the population had left the city and some days I’d write then take a nap and just listen to the soft wind blowing around the house and down the street. That wind seemed to be around a lot this year. It was so relaxing.

  9. Jan, I love the sound of your concerts in the park. The Sydney Festival holds lots of free concerts in The Domain and one year I am going!!! This year I was down for a weekend when Symphony in the Park was one. It rained. And rained. So no symphony (although it would have been perfect weather for Handel’s Water Music :-)).

    Paula, LOL at your roughing it 3-star. That’s me, too! Is it a Gemini thing??

    Bron

  10. Ha, Bron and Paula, it’ probably a creepy-crawly thing! What Yvonne neglected to mention was that there are no poisonous or dangerous creatures in the NZ wild – except the two-legged ones! Camping in Oz would be challenging indeed with your brown snakes and mean spiders etc. Crocs lurking in the drinking hole, pythons pontificating in the paddocks. No thank you, I’ll take an air-conned 3+ star, preferably a few stories up for my ozzie holiday. Which I hope I’ll continue to do forever!

  11. Rebekah Elrod Says:

    I love to go the rocky mountains and visit Estes Park in the summer. Tour around the old Stanely Hotel, it is such a beautiful historic building. The main thing I like about summer is that you can do more thing with your family and don’t have to be bored in the house because it is to cold to go outside.

  12. Yvonne – haha, yes that is something. My birthday is the plus and “wonders” is one way to put it. It’s rather common to experience “four seasons” in one day (especially in the spring and fall). Its not unusual to see snow/sleet then have the temp go up to 70F in one day. The weather here has mood swings.

    Paula – I agree – an ideal camping trip for me would involve a luxury cabin in the woods. Otherwise, I’ll pass.

  13. Crystal B. Says:

    Fishing
    wearing capri pants and sandles
    bbqs
    going to the lake
    reading outside
    growing a vegetable garden

  14. It’s winter here and I definitely miss my husband’s barbequed ribs. The weekends are great when I don’t have to cook.

  15. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Summer for me focuses on family activities: celebrating the six summer
    birthdays in our immediate family and watching all the sports activities in
    which our grandchildren are involved.

    Pat Cochran

  16. Paula! Three-star, indeed. I’ll have you know we have very comfortable air beds and power to our site which ensures the fridge delivers cool beer and wine on demand. 🙂

    Eva, your slice of the world sounds absolutely beautiful. Hmmm, I can picture it now.

    Maxine, I’m not usually a huge fan of high winds (especially not at cyclone level) but since we’ve been back home from camping we’ve enjoyed some lovely summer breezes to break the heat. Looks like being a long hot summer Down Under!

    Bron, but you’ve been camping in the outback. That’s tougher than what we put up with, I’m sure, especially with all the creepy crawlies that Jan mentions.

    Jan, so those few stories up would take you out of the mosquito belt too? Funny thing, on our first night at our campsite (we camped with two other families with whom we’re still friends! LOL!) we were woken by the sound of slapping and clapping and laughter. Now, as you all know, tent walls are not thick and we were wondering, as you do, what on earth our friends were up to. Turns out they were being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They’d forgotten to leave a screen door down while a light was on inside the tent and were host to a huge squadron of the blood sucking things.

    Rebekah, I love visiting historical buildings too, especially stately homes. Maybe it’s the writer in me but I always feel like I can sense the busyness of a bygone era, the formalities, the love and laughter etc.

    JSL, now you’re talking! Luxury cabin…complete with cabin boy?

    Crystal B, oh yes, reading outside in a very comfy deck chair and with the water nearby. Perfect!

    Maureen, barbequed ribs sound divine. The last time I had any was in Sydney last year but I was a bit disappointed in them when I actually at them. I’m sure your husband’s ribs are way better 🙂 Not long now and spring will be on its way.

    Patricia, I hear you on family activities. We have five summer birthdays in our immediate family so I don’t envy you your six. It’s so hard to shop for people when you’ve already wracked your brains over what to get them for Christmas! Mind you, that would be a winter birthday problem in the Northern Hemisphere, wouldn’t it?

    We’re set to enjoy another sweltering day here in Auckland. The man of the house and I will be re-erecting our tent, dispensing with messages left on the canvas by a series of incontinent feathered friends and ensuring everything is bone dry before it’s all packed away in the camping gear cupboard for another year. I’m beginning to think we should have started at six this morning. At least it would have still been relatively cool then. 🙂

  17. WOW… those pictures are so pretty!
    I hope one day I will be able to see New Zealand, they say it is just so pitoresque… and you just enhanced that notion 🙂

    I love to go to the beach…. but it is not really possible where I live!

  18. I love to go swim in the summer and go eat on terrasses, shop while the sun is flamming…. anything that I can’t do in the winter.

  19. The pohutukawa trees look really pretty

  20. Around here I guess I lot of people would say Niagara Falls, but living about 15 minutes away for the last 30+ years I kind of take it for granted. It’s nice to visit year round but I just find the area turned too touristy. The main street leading to the Falls is mostly souvoneir shops, hotals, museums and bars/restaurants. But this is also a great area for horiculture and there are two horticulture schools here and the work is displayed outside. It’s also nice to drive in the country in summer and visit what we call the Big Avondale to buy ice cream. The ice cream is made right there on the premises and in the summer they have specials containing the fruit that is in season right then. Many roads are surrounded by orchard of trees bearing fruit or fields of corn. And there is nothing like stopping at a few roadside stands and getting a few fresh fruit and vegetables.

  21. Lily, there are scores of beautiful, safe beaches here in New Zealand. I’m lucky to live in a suburb that is only a ten minute drive from a couple of beaches. Even in winter it’s lovely to just drive down to the beach and watch the water for a while.

    Nathalie, there’s something about walking into an air-conditioned shop when the sun is at its strongest, don’t you think? I love it. What I don’t love is that the stores are starting to carry autumn and early winter stock already. Like anyone wants to try on that heavy stuff when it’s so hot outside???? Crazy!

    Beth, the pohutukawa trees have been glorious this year. Not so great with the fine red needles if you’re parked under one…but beautiful none-the-less.

    Christa, isn’t it funny how we take for granted what other people will travel miles and miles to see? The Big Avondale sounds wonderful. Mmmm, fresh fruit and icecream. Delicious! 🙂

  22. OOh, Christa – Niagara! Apparently that’s *the* spot for wedding pictures, right? I guess I take the Blue Mountains and gorgeous Three Sisters for granted too 😀 Oh, and our massive local shopping centre, although I do worship there quite often…

    Bron – we WERE separated at birth, methinks. hahahaha!

  23. OMG I forgot about summer berries and ice-cream, we have about ten places on the outskirts of town that grow and pick their own berries – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and boysenberries, and make ice cream sundaes. YUM! Definitely a summer highlight.

  24. As a kid I can remember being trawled out on really hot summer days to the area to the west of Auckland where all the fruit growers sold their produce. Picking strawberries was heaps of fun–this was in the days when mum made our own strawberries jam and preserves etc and sugar wasn’t an evil companion in our lives. But I’ll never forget the day I got thoroughly bored and fed up and asked to go and sit in the car while Mum, Dad and big brother carried on picking and while I was in the car I entered my usual fantasy world of story telling in my mind. I seem to remember it had something to do with mum and dad’s old car being a sports car and me being driven along by some handsome prince, the window was down and my arm was resting along its edge, when all of a sudden a GIANT cicada landed on my arm. Well, needless to say that was the end of that fantasy! Actually, its amazing I didn’t die of heat exhaustion. I got such a fright (I think I was about 7 or 8 years old) that I wound all the car windows up and stayed inside so the ‘thing’ couldn’t get me again. 🙂

  25. Yes Paula
    I think Niagara was dubbed one of the honeymoon capitals of the world. I guess you can call it a mini Vegas complete with wedding chapels and casinos. And just minutes away there are plenty of winaries to tour. And the Falls themselves are an attraction in both winter and summer. In winter there is the fesival of lights, plus they light up the Falls. Because there is a mist coming off them eveything is covered in a fine layer of ice. In the summer they would set off fireworks over the Falls on a Sat. night.

  26. Those are beautiful pictures. I like going out to the lake, all the flowers, the smells. A great time to just be outside .

  27. DRUM ROLL please…and a big shout out of Congratulations to Rebekah Elrod for being the randomly drawn winner of Jan’s prize of a pink diamond key-ring. Rebekah, I’ll forward your email to Jan so she can contact you and make arrangements to wing your prize your way!

  28. Congratulations, Rebekah. I bought myself one of these keyrings/cum/watch thingy’s before Christmas as I don’t like wearing a watch, and I love it! The pink ‘diamond’ is spectacular.

  29. Diane McMahon Says:

    I loved trekking thru the south island and the milford sound. Granted the flies bite, but the beauty is majestic, to say the least, around every turn. Once you are up in the mountains and overlooking the coast line, you realize how wonderful and unspoiled this part of the country truly is. Mirror lake and Frantz Joseph Glazier are also awe inspiring.

  30. Ouch, yes, flies can bite and have you ever noticed how they manage to settle straight back onto the exact same spot again!? Argh! I haven’t seen the Franz Joseph Glacier yet but it’s on my list of things to do…one day 🙂

  31. I’m with Bronwyn, I love summer. I love the fruits in season, sitting outside drinking tea with friends and swimming.

  32. Debra Guyette Says:

    Summer is great. No School. I am a teacher so that is the best

  33. Debby, I can well imagine that the long weeks of summer must be a blessing to teachers.

  34. celeste Says:

    I (l) everything about this amazing country it’s just SO wonderfull,but when it’s summer in NZ it’s winter here in belgium,,but i will return soon!! lyNZ!

  35. Hi Celeste! It’s so darn cold here right now that I’m envying you all your summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

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