Christmas in New Zealand

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It’s usually about this time in December that my thoughts turn towards my family back home in New Zealand, and the Christmas holidays of my childhood.

One of the things I absolutely love about living in the UK is Christmas – and if it happens to snow even better. Snow is so magical! I love how you can indulge in snugly Christmas themed jerseys and socks, enjoy a hot pudding and roast without breaking into a sweat, and all the lively festive evenings at the pub with close friends and neighbours.

However, as the days get shorter, and it’s pitch black outside by 4pm I can’t help but be a little bit wistful of my New Zealand Christmas summers past – long days at the beach, BBQs and ice-creams, sand between your toes and that hot/cold feeling of sunburn, which means you've had a great day in the sun.

Here’s my ‘best’ of celebrating Christmas in New Zealand…

Firstly - Pohutukawa, New Zealand's own red Christmas flower. Pohutukawa trees are generally coastal, appearing at lots of beaches across the country, and their red flowers bloom at Christmas time. They are absolutely gorgeous, and a Christmas in New Zealand is just not the same without them.

Pohutukawa - The New Zealand Christmas Tree

Pohutukawa - The New Zealand Christmas Tree
close up of a pohutukawa flower taken by yours truly 

Secondly, the long summer days spent at the beach, where the sun is so hot you can see the heat radiating off the ground. It's fairly standard for familys to head to the beach on Christmas or Boxing Day for a camping holiday. And there's plenty of good beach to go around. 

Waihi Beach, East Coast New Zealand
Waihi Beach, East Coast New Zealand - Boxing Day 2009

Thirdly - delicious and refreshing summer treats. My mum is an excellent cook and host, and on Christmas day you can always expect a lovely refreshing punch and homemade strawberry pavlova

Summer Christmas punch
Cool Christmas drinks | Marshalls Abroad

Strawberry pavlova
Strawberry pavlova | Cafe Johnsonia

Beach picnics - and did I mention the beach?

Mum's picnic sandwiches
Mum's picnic sandwiches

Mount Maunganui - 'The Mount', New Zealand
Mount Maunganui - 'The Mount', New Zealand

Swimming at 'The Mount', New Zealand
hubby and mum swimming at 'The Mount' February 2013

New Zealand Tip Top ice-cream!!!! Yum. Classic flavours include:
  • Goody goody gum drops
  • Orange choc chip
  • Mint choc chip
  • Raspberry ripple
  • French vanilla
  • Hokey Pokey

Classic New Zealand ice-cream - Tip Top mint choc chip
mint choc chip ice-cream cone

Beach walks. Every Christmas mum and dad would bundle my brother and I into the car to head out for a 'beach tramp' (beach walk to you). Classic destinations included walking around or to the top of Mount Maunganui, or walking to Otarawairere Bay from Ohope Beach.

Walking around Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
mum and dad walking ahead of me around 'The Mount' - February 2013

View of the beach from 'The Mount' walking track
view of the beach from 'The Mount' walking track

And lastly, those lovely four weeks of summer holiday after Christmas, before the new school year started. My parents have a caravan up in The Coromandel, and have been going there every year since before I was born. Here's the view from their camp site...

The Coromandel, New Zealand
The Coromandel, New Zealand

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  1. These photos are amazing! I've only ever experienced Christmas where it's cold, but a nice warm holiday season sounds very appealing. Especially because it's so cold in Japan right now ;)

    1. Thanks Miwa. There's something to be said for a nice hot Christmas. From memory, Christmas in Japan was lovely too - even though most people were still working!

  2. Oh, from one island gal to another, wow! Awesome pictures! Balmy. Loved 'em!

    Merry Christmas from Manila, Philippines and Guam, USA,