A Kiwi Christmas

festive

We are immensely lucky to have such good friends out here in Auckland. Friends that we have known for over a quarter of a century, from waaay back when we were in high school.  And ever since being teenagers, they have always made us feel part of their family. So it was a pleasure to be invited along to the family festivities.

Having been on the road now for over 6 weeks, it was also nice to know that Fin would be able to spend time with kids his own age over the Christmas period.

So we all descended upon Mt. Albert, travelling from Scotland, Manchester and San Francisco, to come together for some serious Christmas fun!

The kids enjoyed a special Christmas Treasure Hunt on Christmas Eve, and they were all given gifts of matching Christmas pyjamas, which they all looked adorable in.  A huge festive ham was prepared and we all tucked into an exquisite Christmas Eve buffet.

Fin had a relatively early night, and was super giddy about the prospect of Santa coming all the way across the world to deliver his presents. He was asking so many questions about the logistics of Santa delivering his toys and how he didn’t really want Santa on the roof of the house!

Waking up on Christmas morning, Fin jumped straight up out of bed, shouting “Is it Christmas morning?” He ran to the Christmas tree in the living room, which was of course now surrounded by lots of presents.  “He’s been!”

Fin and his new best friend Alfie, sat unwrapping their many gifts. This was an extra special Christmas for us, watching him, as he seemed to really ‘get it’ this year.

His Christmas list was simple and really sweet.

  • Christmas tree

  • Star for the Christmas tree

  • A Coconut

  • Truck

  • A book with a lock

  • A football

  • New activity pad

  • Special new pen

  • A Campervan

He was amazed that Santa had read his list and had delivered so many wonderful gifts.  Watching him open his coconut with such excitement was cuteness overload.  Santa had also thrown in a couple of surprises. Fin was chuffed to ribbons to receive his very own (proper) mini guitar, along with some fab new (travel-friendly!) toys.  We had one very happy boy on our hands.

It had rained solid for a couple of days (not the sunny kiwi style Christmas that we had in mind ha ha!) but on Christmas morning, the sun started to make an appearance.

Everyone gathered at the house and we had the most delicious Christmas Day brunch.  It was quite a fancy spread of fresh fruits and cheeses, warm croissants and bacon butties. By this point all the children were running around the garden, playing rugby and giving their new toys their first spin!

Christmas Dinner later that day was the most delicious BBQ feast of two huge fillets of beef and all the trimmings.  The kids were gathered around their own table and tucked into a mini kids bbq.  The wine was flowing and we all enjoyed a fabulous afternoon.  Our kiwi Christmas was just lovely, even though we were thousands of miles away from our own family!  

Boxing Day, and it was time for our big group trip to Auckland Zoo. Fin was really overtired initially and he was having a tricky time as we arrived, he was livid, as he really wanted to see the giraffes first, which triggered an almighty meltdown!  Think the build up over the last few days had started to really catch up on him.  

Fortunately, after a few family team cuddles, we got over the bumpy start and Fin was soon running around the zoo with all his friends.  

Auckland Zoo is a facility that makes you feel that the animals are really well cared for.  They have lots of space in their enclosures and the animals seem to look happy and healthy.   Whilst zoos are sometimes a little controversial, (let’s face it, no wild animals should really be kept in cages, in an ideal world), they also do important conservation work to protect the species, many of which are endangered these days.  Also educating the next generation about the animal kingdom is super important.  It has to be said, Auckland Zoo is perhaps one of the best in the world.

The kids learned about a baby zebra that had been born just two days earlier, on Christmas Eve.  He was a little dude, brand new to the world, chilling out in the sun with his parents and family.  We also learned a lot about the elephants there during a conservation talk with the zookeepers.

We finished the day off with ice creams and it was safe to say everyone was exhausted!

The next day, it was time for a big family boat trip!  It was all go! 

Meeting down at the marina in the very centre of Auckland, we hopped on board our boat for the day and set sail on our adventure on the water.

The boat was heading inland and we were soon sailing underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

We weaved into the inner harbour and all sat on the top deck of the boat, enjoying the views on a lovely sunny morning.

The boat arrived and pulled up at a remote little jetty, to a place called Riverhead.  This was quite a famous little place as it was where the oldest pub in New Zealand still stood.

We tucked into a gorgeous lunch on a fancy terrace with views over the valley, and then headed back to the boat for our sailing back to Auckland harbour.  

That night we spent the night at Westhaven in our campervan, back at one of our favourites spots, with views over Auckland city, the Harbour Bridge and the boats in the marina.  

To round off the festivities, we went to stay with some friends the following night in One Tree Hill.  It was amazing to see the guys after a few years. Pre-Fin, we had shared some very funny (boozy) nights together, back in Manchester.  These days the guys were settled into their NZ life and we were excited to catch up on all their news.

That evening, we sat drinking wine on their deck underneath trailing grape vines, and laughed till we cried!  

Our few days over Christmas had been everything we could have hoped for. Fun filled days, surrounded by the best of friends and life long memories made together.

Jen Skehan