Friday, December 8, 2023

Get Off the Couch: The Summer Holiday Edition!

Looking for some inspiration these holidays? Perhaps you’re having a staycation and looking to make the most of it, or, maybe there’s some wet weather predicted and you are at your wits end with what to do with the kids when you’re once AGAIN stuck indoors! Never fear! Here’s our guide with the best of the best activities to try these summer holidays.

Oh God, it’s raining!

Boo, it’s supposed to be summer! Yes, it’s SO lame that you can’t go to the beach today, but… it means you have the perfect excuse to go and see Wonder Woman 1985 at the movies!

We’ve been starved of great popcorn blockbuster films in 2020, but on Boxing Day we finally got a movie that almost makes up for not having much to watch this year.

I’m not someone who is big on Marvel or DC movies (or can even decipher which is which and what an Avenger is) but Wonder Woman is one franchise I can sure as heck get on board for.

She’s a long movie at 2hrs 35minutes (which I guess is good in terms of getting more for your buck – or the one bazillion bucks that the movie theatres like to charge now for tickets, popcorn and a frozen coke). But it truly is a good time.

I won’t even spoil a second of it for you, just get along and watch it for yourself (and marvel at how ridiculously beautiful Gal Gadot is).

Oh God, it’s raining… and you have kids!

If you’re in Auckland, get thee right now to Auckland Museum to take in their ‘Brickman Awesome’ exhibition.

Brickman is a certified Lego Professional and makes THE most jaw-dropping displays, all out of Lego.

The kids will be into it big time – but, as an adult it’s also truly amazing to see. From giant creepy crawlies, to a replica of the Sydney Opera House (complete with a cross-section so you can see inside to the theatre, bars and service areas).

There’s several rooms to explore, plus, there’s a few pits in every room to dig in and make your own creations (with two MILLION blocks available for building). Entry is every half hour, but there’s enough to see and do for hours.

I have FOMO because everyone else is away

Sometimes there’s absolutely nothing better than a staycation, but sometimes it can also involve moments of FOMO when Instagram seems to be full of OTT summer holidays (Pro Tip: Stay off insta!).

If you’re sticking around home this summer and you’ve got a bit of FOMO or the blues, why not treat yourself to a little night away in your own town/city?

Last month, I booked in for a night at the new QT Auckland, where I had a cocktail at their rooftop bar (why are there not more of these in NZ?) which has a spectacular view across the harbour (with a perfect view of the America’s Cup races).

I indulged at Sean Connolly’s new restaurant, Esther for dinner (the oysters and duckfat potatoes were my faves) AND breakfast (I had the breakfast bowl but I have it on good authority that the Breakfast pide wood-fired ‘kach-a-puri” with hens’ eggs, feta, massimo’s mozzarella and ricotta is where it’s at).

I can highly recommend booking into a hotel nearby and playing tourist in your own town for a night or two!

The quirky, stylish rooms at QT Auckland.

Dang, I wish I was overseas…

If you’re itching to get away from it all, and a change of scenery to the beach doesn’t seem to be scratching that urge, jump in a plane and head to Hamilton Gardens.

In my opinion they easily have the BEST international gardens in NZ. They’re so convincing, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in another land. There’s the Indian Char Bagh, the Italian Renaissance, Chinese Scholars’ and English Flower Gardens, plus the impressive Japanese Garden of Contemplation to explore.

Then, you can travel to a whole other realm with their Fantasy Collection gardens, including my personal fave, the Surrealist garden, where you literally feel like Alice in Wonderland. Kids, adults and seniors alike will love it.

Plus, it’s FREEEEEEEE! Enjoy!

It’s a beautiful day, but I’m over the beach…

How about a spot of strawberry picking? Or blueberries? Or something a little more different, like lavender picking?

During the school holidays the Lavender Backyard Garden is open for pick-your-own lavenders and PYO blueberries. The orchard is in Newstead Hamilton, near the Waikato Expressway Ruakura ramp.

Or, have a google around your hometown for where the best blueberry/strawberry picking is, and make an afternoon out of it!

The Lavender Backyard Garden in Hamilton

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