Tired beating the heat, sitting in air-conditioned rooms and making dashes to the fridge for cool climes? The easier (and more indulgent) way would be to be heat-free would be hopping onto a flight and landing up in the land of white fluffy clouds, clear skies and the perfect temperature, which is neither freezing nor making you sweat it out. We are talking about one of our favourite countries, New Zealand.
Why New Zealand is a top pick
A long strip of island, packed with nature’s wealth, the north of New Zealand is quite subtropical whereas the south is temperate. December, January and February are the warmest months, and the coldest are June, July and August — the exact opposite of India, which is a true blessing. While Indian plains and southern parts are reeling under high forties in the middle of the year, New Zealand is cocooned in a comfy 10-15ºC.. Spend a week on the classic Auckland–Rotorua-Ruapehu trail and explore one of the most feted regions, without the tourist throng.
Special Treats in Auckland
Meet New Zealand’s Hangi Master
The country has a rich culinary and cultural life. You can get a bite of Rewi Spraggon’s take on Hangi, the oldest cuisine in the country. The Maoris, original Polynesian settlers in New Zealand, arrived on the islands between the 13th and 14th centuries. The culinary culture of these warriors and hunters was anchored on food available in the wild: birds, fish and livestock along with root vegetables like potatoes and yam. Their food was always cooked in Hangi style, or simply, in the ‘earth oven.’ The communal cooking was done with the help of stones and earth, giving the food a natural smoky flavour. Over centuries, time’s tide swept the traditional methods away. Chef Rewi Spraggon, a revivalist, is reintroducing the original Hangi to New Zealand’s palate. You can find his black-and-orange signature truck at weekly night markets, music concerts and festivals where he dishes out sandwiches and taco-like wraps with Hangi meat stuffing.
A K-Road Walk
Mosey down Karangahape (or just K-Road) to discover one of the most unpretentious cities, comfortable with its Polynesian heritage straddling modern-day slants. But see it through the eyes of graffiti artists! If nothing else, it’s a colourful recap of the city’s last few decades. Start with St Kevin’s Arcade on Karangahape Road, the beginning of Auckland’s graffiti scene, and admire works by Cut Collective and TMD (The Most Dedicated, or back in the day The Most Dangerous), made from stencils and word-based designs. Walk the rest of the K-Road loop to see the transition to art and characters. You see bold works of contemporary artists Owen Dippie, Askew New (Elliot O’Donnell), Flox (Hayley King), DEUS (Elliot Francs Stewart), Enforce1 (Garry Wong), Trustme (Ross Liew) and GASP (Liam Hindlsey).
Watch out for metal boxes on either side of the road. These seemingly innocuous wire containers of a telecom company are given an artistic lease of life by graffiti artist Paul Walsh. Light-hearted and goofy yet relevant, they offer a thought-provoking narrative as well. For example, one of the boxes shows a Dodo sitting on a cassette: The artist's way of reminding the world that both are now extinct. A Dog At Work shows a dog wearing an orange reflective jacket and a clipboard, masquerading as a parking attendant.
Mt Ruapehu stands at 297m and is the North Island's highest mountain. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. In March 1945, it spewed lava over Crater Lake for over a year, blasting clouds of ash as far as Wellington. It's been dormant since then, and now Ruapehu is a premier ski retreat. Whakapapa, located on Mt Ruapehu's northwest facing slopes, is a tourist magnet because of its dramatic volcanic terrain, spectacular views of the Tongariro National Park, and offers extensive skiing facilities for beginners. Turoa, on the southwest-facing slopes, is another popular destination that offers massive snow bases, volcanic terrain, and natural wild trails. The region has the longest vertical descent at 722m, perfect for skiing enthusiasts.
Whether it's mountain biking in Whakarewarewa or dipping into typical Polynesian spas, Auckland (and New Zealand) can never disappoint those who love a place with friendly faces and an easy-going vibe. Reach us if you have any more questions and let us help you plan a perfect summer holiday with the family.