12 January 2015

Auckland, New Zealand - a rather Kiwi Christmas holiday

My Christmas trip home to New Zealand was a rather last minute amazing fortnight that I spent with family and friends. Over the two weeks I traipsed across most of the North Island, and was lucky enough to enjoy 25°C temperatures and sunny blues skies (except for New Years Eve which transpired against a planned bonfire - but hey, it meant that we toasted 2015 in snug and warm inside).

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Most tourist guides / people / recommendations / stories feature the South Island as the place to visit. Well, that's very true - think majestic alpine ranges, breathtaking glaciers, winding roads and a fair few sheep. The North Island comes off as a much poorer relation - if you're thinking of visiting it does have a plethora of secrets to delve, and is worth popped by. Long and thin, much like the rest of New Zealand the landscape is hilly, covered in bush and nowhere is more than 3 hours from a beach.

3 hours from a beach people!

The last time Mr Kiwi and I were in Auckland we spent a day haunting the waterfront, jumping up and down on the glass floor of the Skytower (well, he did, I stayed as far away from them as I could) and did a harbour cruise on a powered yacht under the Auckland Harbour bridge. We were even allowed to steer - I was terrible but my trawler brawler was pretty good!

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

This time (sans Mr Kiwi, who spent Christmas with his family and on Skype to me) my few days began with brunch - as most good days do - fresh beignets, muesli and flat whites in the shadow of the SkyTower - our tallest building dominating the Auckland skyline - just what the Doctor ordered after the best night in a bed I've ever spent. Travel for 30 hours on a plane and you'll understand.

Auckland brunch, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Pohutukawa trees line the waterfront and many roads - this year the New Zealand Christmas icon was an explosion of vibrant red, crowning each of the many trees lining the waterfront and roads. I knew I was home.

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi
One tree hill (not to be confused with the American TV series) is an Auckland landmark - despite having no tree anymore...
My lovely family organised for a Christmas lunch kiwi-style (my second of the year already :D) and an afternoon of catching up (perfect for jetlag suffering)...

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

..and included two of my absolute favourite Christmas desserts - perfect Pavlova and Jaffa Slice. Oooooh Jaffa slice! (And yes, I basically spent two weeks in New Zealand bouncing from missed food item to food item like a typical homesick expat - the first thing I did off the 30-hour flight was take a shower then leg it to the supermarket. True story!)

Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

I spend a few years growing up in Auckland, so I'm a little biased, but I rather like it in many ways. A smaller slower paced version of London, it's our biggest city both population and land-wise and is home to around a million people. A million people brunching, speaking with Kiwi iccints (that's accents for the un-initiated) living life and getting caught on spaghetti junction - a rather twisted pocket of motorway that loves traffic jams.

Best of all it's home to my lovely, kooky, crazy Sister and a fair few aunties, cousins and friends. And, when all else fails you can boost it down the motorway to pastures quieter.

** You gotta love an outtake of someone learning to use their camera, and having to remind themselves not to fiddle with the settings hey? I've entitled it "Oops".


Auckland, New Zealand - Adventures of a London Kiwi

22 comments :

  1. I know exactly what you mean about jumping from food item to food item when you get the chance to go home! No matter how hard I try to make some of my favorites from home here, they always taste better when I go back to Tennessee!

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  2. All that Kiwi food - looks just right! And I love the bottle of L&P slap bang in the middle of the table! What an awesome time :) I grew up in Auckland for quite awhile and will always have a soft spot for it!

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  3. I had a list of food that I had to eat that I used to tick off when I visited Australia, now I feel like I will need a new food list for when I visit London! I so hear you on the whole sleeping in a real bed thing after that long ass flight home, it's always in my top 5 best night sleeps ever!



    P.S. I have to ask, what is a beignet? I have seen loads of people talking about them and I really want to try one, because I think it's kind of like a donut?

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  4. Sounds like such a lovely time home! I headed to the grocery store my first day back home as well! And requested my favorite meals from my parents, it was the best.

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  5. so pretty, and a lovely warm trip rather than the bleak weather in the UK!

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  6. So lovely seeing pictures from home, it all looks so familiar.

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  7. So what is a traditional Kiwi Christmas dinner? It looks very different. Also, do you have crackers? I was surprised to learn that they don't seem to be a big thing in America, so it made me wonder if it's just a Brit thing.

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  8. Looks like you had a great trip at home Emma. Looking forward to meeting you sn. xx

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  9. I loved the North Island too! I'm glad we took a month to travel around it because it was amazing seeing everything. Mmmm so many jaffa slices!

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  10. Beignet's are rather delicious "pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry" dusted with icing sugar and in this case accompanied by a passionfruit dipping sauce. I can report back that my breakkie companions found them delightful!

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  11. It's a fairly cool city as far as cities go (but Wellington stole my heart even though I lived in Auckland for years)

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  12. I kinda made a list before I went *blushes*

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  13. It's funny the things you miss as an expat :)

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  14. It was perfect, just perfect. Coming home to rain delays was hilarious though.

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  15. It's strange isn't it? I also find it weird that I still have mental maps of all the cities I've lived in - even though I've been to so many since!

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  16. A traditional Kiwi Christmas dinner is a Roast or a BBQ or variations on those themes plus Christmas pudding or mince pies - always a must! We do have crackers on our table normally (this year our table was pretty low-key) but as a country we are fairly British - we even have the Queen on our currency!

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  17. They do sound AMAZING! I'm definitely going to have to search them out here in Brisbane.

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  18. Hmm what is this mysterious Jaffa Slice... I'm off to investigate!

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  19. Oh that first shot is of my old work building - just got a touch nostalgic about sitting outside on the pier at lunchtime! Where are the beignets from - they look awesome!?

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  20. I think I've underestimated Auckland as a destination lately and will need to plan a visit soon. I'm blaming you :)

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