12 Things I Adore About Aotearoa (New Zealand) in Takarua (The Winter)

  1. Winter wardrobe

As a pleasantly plump mother of four, I can assure you that you will not see me out and about in daisy dukes, a midriff or a bikini. I spend all summer waiting for the temperature to drop so I can get back into the wardrobe I prefer.

I am a huge proponent of control top nana knickers, and winter gives me an amazing opportunity to don the Spanx® and some thick tights and a pair of knee-high boots.

I also love scarves, and luscious warm winter jackets.

WinterJacket

  1. Earlier bedtime for all of us

In the summer in Auckland where we live, the sun does not set completely till late in the evening. Convincing my children to go to bed while the sun remains in the sky is a nigh on impossible task.

The long dark winter nights mean we all get snuggled in earlier. The cool nights also mean we can wrap up warm and cosy and sleep well, as long hot muggy days give way to long muggy nights in the summer here.  Winter makes us all sleepy and want to hybernate a bit.

The sun sets fairly early in the evening during the Auckland winter
The sun sets fairly early in the evening during the Auckland winter
  1. Crisp winter mornings

Early starts in the winter are great. Love the feeling just as the sunrise is peeking up over the Eastern bays as I commute the five or ten minutes it takes me to get into the office before the school drop off traffic kicks in. I get in, put on the kettle and the heater, light some soy candles and get ready for another wonderful working day. It’s fresher and nicer than hot muggy summer days in the office as far as I am concerned, and I relish these winter mornings.

Winter morning in Christchurch
Winter morning in Christchurch
  1. Foggy mornings that herald crisp sunny winter days

When the air is still and thick with fog, it generally means that the fog will burn off to clear blue skies and a crisp and still winter day that makes me stop and face my closed eyes toward the sun and feel truly humbled and blessed.

A thick fog generally means a beautiful clear day in the winter here.
A thick fog generally means a beautiful clear day in the winter here.
  1. The drive to the slopes

When Grumpy and I first started dating we liked to go down to the mountain for a ski. We spent a lot of time in the central plateau in our first couple of years of marriage, and I felt that the air was thick with magic and wonder as we drove up to Ohakune after skiving off from work at 3:00pm if we could. The shadows grow long as we travel south and dusk danced across our field of vision as we listened to Lisa Loeb and Supergroove CDs.

  1. Citrus, neeps, lovely leafy greens, and various seasonal fruits and veggies

I really like winter produce in this country. I enjoy the hearty leafy green veggies, mature carrots and potatoes, mandarins and lemons. Winter brings us a bounty of beautiful fresh produce every year here in Aotearoa.

  1. Winter wonderland weekends

Heading down to the snow. It is a time-honoured tradition for any and all Kiwis who are in a fortunate enough position to be able to afford it. Hitting the slopes in Ruapehu or Wanaka, or just arriving at the snow to drink mulled wine and play board games with friends and family, I love winter weekends away.

WinterSkiingTuroa

  1. Slow cooker comes out

Soups, stews, casseroles, dahl, curries. Throw everything in the pot before packing the kids off to school and enjoy a soothing slow cooked supper and the smells that fill the air as you walk through the door. Great stuff.

  1. Rocking to the rhythm of the rain

I adore the sound of the rain on the roof at night. It does make me rather sad to think of the thousands of people around the country that aren’t in adequate housing.  A lot of people (families, children) live in garages or uninsulated homes and cannot afford sufficient heating.  Please think long and hard about this, and research any charitable organisations you might consider donating to who are saying they are addressing poverty, or child poverty, as not all charities are doing a very good job of managing their charity dollars.  I’d put a plug in for the salvation army and even Unicef New Zealand.  Yes, the problem of poverty is so bad that we do have an on the ground United Nations presence in this country.  Just like war torn and drought ravaged nations around the world do.  Makes you think…

  1. Tea ritual

My tea ritual is important to me any time of year. It is, however, even more satisfying in the winter when I arrive in my door, slip into my most snuggly jammies, put on the kettle and watch the steam dance off my delicate china teacup as the wind and rain whip about outside, and I am safe with my tea all toasty and warm.

  1. Low season everywhere but the slopes

New Zealand empties out a lot in the winter. If you want to go someplace like Waiheke or even up to Matakana or the Bay of Islands, the throngs of tourists will not be cramping your style. Beaches are all but abandoned. Bush hikes are deserted. Tourist traps are cheap and cheerful compared to the summer months. It’s nice. It feels like New Zealand in the 90’s when I first got here.

WinterSouthernAlpsNZ

  1. Warm cozy weekends off grid

Probably our single most favourite thing about the winter as a family, is the weekends we spend at our off-grid house just outside of Matakana. We have a large log fire that heats our water, wetback, and then the under-floor heating on the second floor landing. The decks are large and it feels like the most magical place on the face of the planet. Peaceful, away from all the worries of the world. Absolute perfection.

WinterSunriseMatakana WinterMatakanaLookingupatpines


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