The long hot summer predicted a few months back has failed to materialise in many parts of the country. However, as we all know, February is the warmest month in many parts, offering more stable weather and a great excuse to kick back and make the most of the heat. February is also the time when grownup Kiwis traditionally travel their own roads, enjoying a break from the school holiday hoards. Whether it’s a day trip or a road trip, here are our top tips for what to do and where to head!
Close to home
If you don’t fancy hauling out the suitcase, keep your breaks local. There are loads of unexplored destinations within a short distance from home, and one of the best ways to find them is to enjoy researching your own region via Google Earth. Take time to study the site, and you’ll soon find by zooming in, you can spot, not only seldom used roads, but walking tracks you may not have known were there. Take time to learn how to navigate the site, and then plan your trip to suit your time and abilities. And remember: if you’re going anywhere remote, leave your intentions with a trusted friend, and take your phone or personal locator device with you.
What a difference a night makes
So often we drive from A to B on an essential journey without ever having the time to explore the intriguing side-road detours we see along the way. “What does that wetland reserve look like?” “I’ve always wanted to take a short day-walk to that waterfall/bay/lake.” “Maybe now is the time to check out the local museum …” If this sounds like you, by leaving home early in the morning, and returning later the next day, you’ll have all the time to explore with only one night’s accommodation to pay for! Pack a flask, some leftovers and picnic ingredients, and you’ve made the trip totally affordable. What’s more, after a pick-me-up back home, you can do it again and again.
It’s the season of garden tours, A&P shows, Shakespeare in the park, outdoor concerts, running and walking events, trail rides, and heritage tours. Go local or overnight to take in the fun. Whatever you’re heading to, invite friends and family to join in. It increases the fun and also shares the cost of travel and accommodation. Research what else there is you can enjoy at the same time, and if you’re planning to eat out, book ahead so you’re not wasting time hunting out a venue or waiting for a table.
Head for the hills
We don’t all want an 8 hour tramp, especially as the years creep up on us. But a cosy bed is never too far away when you visit DOCs helpful ‘Stay in a Hut’ site. By using the filters available, it’s so easy to hunt out a hut within 1 to 3 hours walking distance from the road. Once you’re there, there may also be day trips you can take. Do your research thoroughly and adjust your walking times to suit your abilities. And if you want the place to yourself, your best chance is by avoiding weekends (don’t you just love the flexibility retirement brings!).
We all know summer in this land we love doesn’t always deliver the temperatures we crave. But if swimming isn’t an option, the beach still has plenty to offer. If you haven’t dabbled in photography, the beach is a great place to start – from close-ups of kelp to sea scape panoramas, check out your mobile phone settings for inspiration. Not into photography? Hunt for driftwood shapes to display in your garden, pack your binoculars and bird identification guide, or the kite, yoga mat, barbecue, walking shoes or fishing rod. We have some of the best beaches in the world (and often, all to ourselves!).
This Feb, make the most of summer, by creating memories that will last the whole winter through!