It is this time of year that I find living in Europe hard! The long cold winter stretches out before us for a few more months. The warm glow and cheery chatter of the Christmas markets are gone. The Christmas Tree has been thrown out, and the decorations packed away for another year. An icy wind blows across the fields and through the streets, cutting to the bone. Snow turns to slush, and people hurry from their houses to their cars, in a rush to turn up the heater before they freeze.
Meanwhile in New Zealand it is high summer. My friends and family send emails and photos of themselves at the beach – the kids playing cricket and rugby on the sand, or practicing life surfing and body boarding through the waves, while their parents wander along the beach, or grill sausages on the BBQ and enjoy the sunshine. It is the perfect time to do one of New Zealand’s Great Walks or one of the hundreds of other trails traversing the country, connecting isolated beaches, rugged coastal cliffs, farmland, river valleys and virgin forest, or high country tussock lands and dramatic mountain ranges. The weather is normally settled at this time of year, and it is the perfect temperature for walking or biking or kayaking, or one of the many outdoor activities on option in New Zealand. It is also the perfect time of year to visit one of the many wineries, and linger for a long lunch under the vines, while sampling the local pinot noir or sauvignon blanc.
In my opinion, February and March are the best months to visit New Zealand (and the best time to flee the long winters in Europe). Most of the “high season” tourists using their Christmas holidays to travel have left the country, and the local schools are back in session (so kiwi kids and their families are back home) and everything is much emptier. There are more accommodation options available to choose from, and the prices are usually better than during the Christmas period. The water is also warmer, as it has absorbed the strength of the sun’s rays during the summer months. There is also better availability for airfares (and more competitive rates).
It’s not so easy to travel during this time if you have children at school in Germany, but for anyone else, this time of year is highly recommended for your holiday in New Zealand! If I could, I would flee the European winter every year in February or March, for a taste of warmth and paradise on the other side of the world!!