Summer in New Zealand is a wonderful time of the year. As a country that prides itself on its natural beauty its little wonder the Kiwis embrace the warmer weather, grabbing every opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and stunning environment.
Summer falls between December and February in the southern hemisphere, and is traditionally a warm and dry period in New Zealand. With daylight savings ensuring the days stay light until nearly 10pm it’s a time of the year when the locals stay outside as long as possible, socialising with friends around the pool, jogging and cycling around the country’s plethora of parks and reserves, and making the most of New Zealand’s pristine coastline.
If you’re joining the hordes of locals flocking to the country’s golden-sand beaches there a couple of precautions you need to take. New Zealand sits under a hole in the ozone layer, and as a consequence the sun can be particularly harsh and damaging. Make sure you pack sunscreen when heading out, and always remember to take a hat.
New Zealand’s main beaches are patrolled by surf lifesavers, who set out red and yellow flags to mark safe swimming zones. With strong rips at many of the local beaches you should always try to swim between these flags.
For international students and visitors from the northern hemisphere celebrating Christmas during summer will be a novel experience. Christmas in New Zealand is traditionally a relaxed affair, with formal dinners beside the fire replaced by steaks cooking on the grill and meals eaten from paper plates on your lap.
Barbeques, or ‘barbies’ as the locals refer to them (the same as ‘grilling’ or ‘cooking-out’) are a constant in Kiwi backyards during the warmer months. The long summer nights are perfect for lazy get-togethers around the BBQ, hearty cuts of red meat and fresh seafood being washed down with cold beer and chilled wine from New Zealand’s renowned vineyards, a classic Pavlova providing the perfect ‘sweet treat’ for dessert.
Sport is a huge part of life in New Zealand, and cricket takes centre stage once summer rolls around. This time of the year also sees a host of outdoor concerts occurring, with iconic bands touring the country to play at local pubs, and numerous festivals around the New Year period providing plenty of opportunities for music-lovers and party-goers to let loose.
Of course, New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, and summer is the ideal time to indulge in a spot of rafting, jetboating, river-surfing or a bevy of other unique and invigorating experiences. It’s also the best time to travel, taking advantage of the country’s famous walking tracks and reveling in the freedom that ‘camping out’ affords.
Summer in New Zealand really is a special time of the year. It’s a chance for those on a working holiday to enjoy the ‘holiday’ part of their travels, and for international students to forget about the books for a couple of weeks and make the most of this beautiful country.