I hope you’re all having a fantastic start to the new year!
It feels a little bizarre that my first post in 2023 is about Christmas but, that’s just where we are on the New Zealand storytime journey.
So please join me in throwing it back to festivities I’m December 2022. Although, I have to admit, Christmas in New Zealand felt like a normal day and nothing at all like the usual chilly Christmas’ we are used to on the UK.
After spending Christmas Eve doing the crossing, I was quite excited for Christmas Day knowing that it meant things would be slighter slower paced. Although, it was the busiest Christmas Day I’ve ever had!
We arrived in Taupō on Christmas Eve to stay at my brother’s friend’s house with her for Christmas.
After a spot of eggs on toast for breakfast, we coated ourselves in suncream and headed down to lake Taupō (an active volcano!!) for a Christmas Day swim!
We joined a few of my brother’s friends which was really lovely… although we may have broken their inflatable unicorn when trying to get 4 grown adults (or basically big children) on it at once. Oppsie!
I’ve really loved every opportunity to go wild swimming whilst in New Zealand. I’ve been a few times at home, and definitely had a few more dips in 2022 than in previous years, but swimming in New Zealand has been like no other. It probably helps that we were there in the middle of summer, so getting out of the water isn’t a speedy rush to get dry and warm and moving as quickly as possible. But the thing I love most about wild swimming is the peacefulness of swimming in such beautiful locations, and in New Zealand, you are never short of beautiful swimming locations!
A Christmas Day swim will now always be on my Christmas to do list, although I’m not sure any location will ever beat Lake Taupō.
After the swim, we headed back to cook a Christmas lunch which of course had to be a BBQ when it’s summer time!
Then… we had a nap! It’s the first time we napped on the entire trip that wasn’t just an accidental falling asleep in the long car journeys. It felt so good to get a bit of a rest in. Can you tell we were so busy the entire trip?
Post nap, we went to play a bit of frisbee golf. Sadly I hadn’t improved at it since I last played and well… let’s just say I certainly didn’t win. Nonetheless, it was good fun and nice to enjoy some evening sunshine.
No Christmas Day is complete without a board game, so we finished our day with a game of Ticket To Ride.
Boxing Day meant everything was open again so we took a road trip to Rotorua, otherwise known as Rotovegas.
We began our visit to Rotorua in Kuirau Park and explored more of New Zealand’s geothermal activity.
Although excited by the steam vents, I learnt that I don’t like going to near them as it feels like you’re in a steam room and I don’t feel like I can breathe!! I recommend admiring from a slight distance!
Then, we did probably one of my favourite activities: luging!
If you have never gone luging before, make sure you put it on your bucket list. This was so much fun.
We had to get a cable car up the hill, and then after luging down, we took a ski lift back up. I’ve always been quite uncertain about ski lifts (although I’m not sure if that uncertainty has totally lifted) but we survived and I did manage to let go of the bar on occasion!
The rules may or may not have said no racing down the hill or being competitive and we may or may not have been. You’ll never know ….
Afterwards, we were starving and raided the nearest supermarket for some snacks before we headed into the next activity: Redwood Tree Top Walk
Although not native to New Zealand, the redwoods here are protected. And they are absolutely remarkable. They are GIANT.
Walking through the forest on a tree-top walk was so fun too, crossing bridges and circling around platforms and getting great views of the forest was something I won’t forget anytime soon. It makes a standard Forest walk back home look incredibly inferior.
On the drive back we went for another dip in lake Taupō, which was actually super cool as we found some warm spots where we reckon there were steam vents nearby (and no we hadn’t taken a wee!).
Even though I did not feel festive, it was probably the coolest Christmas Day and Boxing Day I’ll ever have!!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break.
The next blog will be the final instalment of my New Zealand trip which takes in our final stop in Wellington. Hope to see you there! Make sure you subscribe if you want an email notification of when I next post.
Thanks for reading!