What can you add to your plans this Christmas season?
The weather is certainly warming up in New Zealand, and although summer is still a little way off, the air is certainly starting to smell like Christmas.
As a country situated in the Southern Hemisphere, a summery Christmas might be new to you. Rather than breaking out those frumpy knit jumpers and hot chocolate sachets, it's time to don some jandals, shorts and make the most of summer.
Here are some things you can add to your summer plans.
Volunteer as a present wrapper
If you're one of those people that enjoy wrapping presents, this task is for you. Shopping malls will have put out a call for volunteer wrappers by now, and it's a great chance for you to spend some time helping others.
You'll also meet other people, as well as contribute to a good cause – most wrapping stations in New Zealand ask for a gold coin donation to go towards a charity.
Find your local shopping mall and have a look on their website or social media pages. If wrapping isn't quite the thing for you, there are many local community events that call for volunteer reindeers, carol singers or other tasks – all you have to do is reach out.
Explore Auckland's beaches
We've looked at Muriwai beach before, a popular west coast area in Auckland that features sparkling black sand. However, you'll quickly realise that New Zealand, let alone Auckland itself, is full of amazing beaches, all calling your name.
Here are some must-visit beaches this summer:
- Piha beach – Another popular black sand beach. Try your hand at surfing, but beware – the waters can get quite choppy so it's worth knowing high and low tide times.
- Bethells beach – This is right next to Piha, but requires a different road to get there. It takes just under an hour to drive from Auckland city, and is generally less crowded than the more-popular Piha beach.
- Mission Bay – Feel like a true Kiwi by taking a stroll along the road that makes up Mission Bay. On one side, you'll see glistening blue waters, the sands filled with joyous people, whilst the other side of the road is full of stores, restaurants, and most importantly, ice-cream shops!
- Orewa beach – From the Harbour Bridge, you'll arrive at Orewa beach in only 20 minutes. Here, you'll find yourself with 3 kilometres of flat sand and gentle, gorgeous waves.
- Cheltenham beach – It's a true gem nestled in the middle of Devonport. This is just your classic, beautiful beach that'll not disappoint.
Hold a Christmas party
Grab your fellow students and make it a day at one of these beaches – many have BBQ facilities for you to have a sausage sizzle. All you need is a picnic blanket, drinks, bread, sausages, and of course, our iconic tomato sauce.
It's a good way to wind down at the end of the year, and you can really get to know others attending your programme in a setting outside of the Mt Albert campus. Auckland Institute of Studies is a community with a big proportion of international students, and so, many will be relatively new to New Zealand.
Consider this a chance to make lifelong friends – you are all going through the same programme in the same little corner of the world, and what better time to connect than during the Christmas season?
Hopefully, you will have plenty to do these holidays. For more information about Christmas in New Zealand or what to do after your studies, contact the team at Auckland Institute of Studies today.