New Zealand summers are beautiful and changeable. Most of the time they’re warm (but not broiling) with plenty of sun but, this being NZ, there’s also rain. Not to worry – all of that rain is what keeps this beautiful country so lush and green. Keep that in mind the next time those clouds cause you to run for shelter 🙂
I remember being struck by how HOT it seemed to be during our first summer here. Not helping was the fact that I was (a) pregnant, (b) horribly sunburned – more on that later, and (c) living in an apt without air-con. Now, it still seems hot here but not unbearably so. You adapt, and you realize that you don’t need (or want) icy-cold rooms that cost a fortune to chill.
About being sunburned… you’ll hear it many times but in NZ, you’ve gotta slip, slop, slap, and wrap. Slip on a long-sleeve tee (or at least cover as much of yourself as you comfortably can), slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap some sunnies (sunglasses) around your face. I slipped and wrapped, but forgot to re-slop after 2 hours of Waiheke Island sunshine and yes, I was burnt to a crisp. Charbroiled. I couldn’t leave the apartment for 24 hours and had to avoid any sunshine coming through the window. Heed my warning – wear sunscreen and REAPPLY!
It does feel quite warm and humid in Auckland, but there are plenty of ways to have fun and stay cool while doing so. Here are some of my favorite ways to beat the heat while having fun with Joe and Chris:
1. Get in the water! Whether it’s the beach, the local public pool, or just splashing your feet in a fountain, find some water and get in it. The beaches here are beautiful, but the ocean can be frigid even in summer, not to mention rough, especially those west coast beaches. My favorite water activity is undeniably the pool and, even better for those of you with children, Auckland is moving toward making all public pools free for under 16s (should be so by April 2013… naturally just after our last summer here).
2. Go for a hike – There are plenty of shady, short walks around Auckland of varying degree of difficulty. If you’ve got a really little one, put them in a backpack carrier, grab some water, and go. If your kids want to walk alongside you, then find a track of an appropriate difficulty level, pack a rucksack, and head out. It’s even better if you visit one that ends in a waterfall or runs along the beach. Check out the DOC’s website for Auckland tracks and walks or TrampingTrack’s Auckland walks. If tramping and hiking is something you do regularly, consider joining the Auckland Tramping Club or going along for one of their scheduled trips.
3. Find some free air-con – If you’re past the broiling point, then find some free air-con. Some of my favorite spots to visit when feeling overheated are our local public library, the Auckland Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery, Kelly Tarlton’s, or a Westfield’s shopping centre. If you’re really desperate, just visit the grocery or catch a LINK bus and ride around with their free A/C and wi-fi 😉 (you’d have to be pretty far gone to do that, but if all else fails…)!
4. Cool down from the inside out – Stock up on chilled drinks, ice blocks/ice lollies (what I call popsicles), ice cream, frozen yoghurt, whatever! I bought a big bag of ice blocks about a week ago and made some banana strawberry “ice cream” at the same time. I’m slowly making my way through the homemade stuff (neither Chris nor Joe are fans – more for me!) and am saving the ice blocks for when it’s particularly wilting outside.
And remember, keep reapplying your sunblock!