I do have a friend and her family visiting later in the year so here you go, tip tips for travelling to New Zealand.
Firstly - sun protection. I thought I was OK in the sun, usually tanned well with no burning, how wrong was I over here. Sunburnt in the first couple of weeks, really not a good look and a wee bit sore - and I'd put some sun cream on! The second summer I got burnt on my back after getting into the snorkelling stuff and Adam had terrible sunburn this year. So what I'm saying is; the sun really is stronger here and you really need to be aware. I wear a SPF 30 on my face year round, and recently ran out so had to resort to my SPF 15 and boy did I know it, and it wasn't a full on sunny day. So good sun protection cream then plus a hat. I look stupid in a hat but I wear them a lot here and it really does the job. That and cool, long sleeved tops etc so that you can cover up if you need to. Then it's really just the sensible advice of keeping out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, drinking plenty of water etc. We have a sun shade tent we take to the beach for a bit of shade and a marquee type thingy in the garden to give some shade out there.
Drawing on my early experience of New Zealand my second point would be insects!! I had such a bad reaction to a mozzie bite I was on antibiotics, now I know not everyone is as juicy and tasty as me, but it's a warning. They bite, they itch, they swell and I won't even go into sandflies - they are well covered in all guide books to NZ!! So add an insect repellent to your list and a soother of your preference for when they get you (and if they don't bite you I will be very very jealous and maybe a little bitter).
Sticking with the nature theme, I think the weather deserves a mention. It's true, you really can have four seasons in one day. So be prepared. Rain is really wet, seriously the english think they do weather but the Kiwis have it covered I'm afraid. I did try planning activities around the weather forecast. Nah, forget it, just do it, but have a raincoat and warm top etc for any great change. Don't worry about getting wet. The place looks great even in the rain and wind. Then ten minutes later it will be baking hot, humid and sticky. There are seasons, and up here in Auckland we get a touch of frost in winter, but head a bit further south and you notice the change in temperatures, so the time of year makes a difference to the the temps but really it can be all over the place. I'm descending into waffle so I think I'm just trying to say bring a selection of clothes to cover all eventualities and if you're heading to the south island that means snow as well.
Am I selling the place, maybe not, but I haven't moved on yet have I so it must have something!
We're based in Auckland at the moment and while we've travelled around a great deal, there are certainly a great number of places to see and things to do in our immediate area, so here's a taster for your trip.....
Maritime Museum and do the harbour tour
Auckland Museum great for kids
Devonport gives a great view of the city, great beach and the tunnels to explore
Mission Bay for the atmosphere and ice cream
Sky Tower for afternoon tea, but the kids might want to go to
Auckland Zoo is a good day out
The Waitakere Ranges are a must
Auckland Regional Parks are all fab for walking, exploring and enjoying the outdoors
Mt Eden is a usual tourist visit and has wonderful places for coffee
Cornwall Park is our local and a fantastic place to visit
Goat Island isn't too far a drive and a great spot for snorkelling
Rainbows End is the theme park, but I haven't been yet
There is an Auckland Explorer Bus
Kelly Tarlton's is pretty cool
A drive north will take you to Sheep World
That's all for now folks!!
I have lists, lots of lists, but a photo will start the year very nicely. It makes me smile when I actually look at all we've done over the past year and makes me think...'must do more of that...' So lets see.
It seems I didn't take or upload much in the way of baking photos during 2010, I really should remedy that. However, 2010 seems to have been the year we took the van out. We had loads of camping trips and that was our aim, so isn't that great. Australia was a big big highlight and a wonderful time, we want a bit more Oz in 2011. We have a good life that we appreciate, enjoy and make all we can of. Happy New Year all