If a New Zealand summer like a local is not your bucket list, you are crazy.
There is no other way to put it. No, not because it’s that place where “The Lord Of The Rings was filmed,” or because it’s the first place in the world to bring in the new year. It’s because of the long summer days, the laid back attitudes and the friendliest locals in the world.
New Zealand is a place where it is socially acceptable to go into the supermarket in bare feet, go into the dairy only wearing a towel and using sunscreen not only as sun protection but as a fragrance.
The “no worries” attitude and the “sweet as” mentality of the locals is like nothing else in the world. This way of living has created a summer vibe that you can only find in New Zealand. How do I know? Because I’m a Kiwi.
So how do you experience New Zealand summer like a local? Well, it all starts with grabbing yourself a bottle of L&P and your jandals.
Eat fish ‘n’ chips
Having a “feed” of fush ‘n’ chups is about as Kiwi as you can get. However, I’m not talking about the kind that come served in an ironic serving basket for $35.99 at your local fine dining restaurant. I am talking about the real fish ‘n’ chips.
What do I mean by real fish ‘n’ chips? I mean going to your local fish shop, ordering a $20 family pack and heading down the beach to eat it with your hands while watching the sun go down. This is how eating fish ‘n’ chips ensures you experience New Zealand summer like a local.
Every fish ‘n’ chip shop has a $20 family pack; however, they can differ from place to place. You will usually find they contain something along the lines of four pieces of crumbed fish, two scoops of chips, a couple hot dogs and a small army of kumara fritters. To get the authentic flavour most use smoker grills. This delicious pack of deep fried goodness will always come wrapped in last week’s newspaper, which is used as your table at the beach!
To get the full experience, always remember your can of Watties Tomato Sauce and a lemon.
You might know about tramping. It’s what we like to call hiking or bushwalking. Essentially it means getting out there and exploring on foot.
New Zealand has some of the most picturesque natural beauty in the world, and the best way to see it is on foot. There are dozens of tracks out there to suit everybody, from a few hours to a few days. You can find something from the coastline to the mountains. New Zealand has you covered in every direction.
When you are out and about, remember to always keep your eyes peeled for the elusive kiwi bird.
Head for a swim in the rivers or oceans
New Zealand is home to over 180,000 kilometers of rivers. You will be hard pressed to find anything more Kiwi than heading down to your local swimming hole. Setting up for an afternoon of cliff jumping, rapids surfing and rope swinging is one of a favorite past time for Kiwi kids. There is always a local swimming hole with something to jump off, so don’t be scared!
If fresh water isn’t your idea of how to experience New Zealand summer like a local, you’re in luck. New Zealand boasts an impressive 15,000 kilometers of coastline. Load up the car, grab your chilly bin (Esky) and head down to the beach for a day of swimming, sunbaking and beach games. Always remember to swim on patrolled beaches and be careful of the burning hot black sand!
Get an ice cream from Mr. Whippy
In summer there is a tune that is music to everyone’s ears. That wonderful sound is the tune of Mr. Whippy. You will find him at the park, at the beach, and if you are lucky enough, you will find him cruising down your street.
He is the sound of summer. At times he is a life saver. No day at the beach is complete without an ice cream from Mr. Whippy. Your first time can be overwhelming. With a picture board with 20 to 30 different combinations and styles, it’s hard to choose. Do you go for the standard flake cone or go all out and get the banana split?
My favorite is the standard flake cone dipped in a crispy chocolate layer. Do yourself a favor and see Mr. Whippy before the summer is out and he’s parked up for winter!
BBQ On the beach
By now you have realized that the New Zealand summer is all about the beach life. So it would be rude not to end this list with one of the most important activities: a beach BBQ.
There is nothing quite like getting together with a few of your closest mates, grabbing some sausages and hitting the beach. It is the true smell of summer and something that many New Zealand families take very seriously.
Nowadays you don’t even have to take your own BBQ to experience New Zealand summer like a local. Local councils in most built-up beaches provide free BBQs that can be used. They fully take the hassle out of the beach BBQ. All you need to do is clean up!