Summer rolls around each year and the first thing we are desperate to do is leave our air conditioned houses—that we pay inflated rent or mortgages on—to pack up the family and stay in sweltering dome shaped abodes known as a ‘Tents’.
The primary reason for this ritual is so we can be as close as humanly possible to a beach. And it’s not as if beaches are all that hard to find here. New Zealand has 15,134km of coastline, putting us ninth in the world.
We actually have more shoreline than Brazil, China, The UK, South Africa, and the list goes on. But despite the fact we can comfortably drive to any number of these beaches within a jiffy, we would much rather unplug from the matrix and get amongst the salty fresh air for days, or even weeks on end.
My latest camping experience took me to the west coast of the North Island. Rugged, wild, beautiful and unforgiving. Just like me, except for everything I just mentioned. And as we arrive, the wind decides to blow an almighty westerly gale. Let’s just say if this ‘Gale’ was a woman, she’d be a grapevine admin with 14 cats and a large dream catcher tattoo. With no choice in the matter, we persevere with putting up the tent directly in the teeth of the wind. I swear it would have been easier to baptise one of Gale’s cats, but with the help of our new neighbours we eventually pegged the damn thing to terra firma. Right on cue, the wind dissipates and the scorching sun greets us. We are sandwiched in a postage stamp sized camping space so we decide to walk to the beach. Before we reach water, our feet begin to melt in the piping hot black sand.
The walk becomes a skip, then advances to a run. Note to self: ‘bring jandals next time’. After a few hours of riptide roulette, we retreat to the campsite ready to cook dinner. Tonight’s menu is sausages and potato salad with a side of food poisoning.
I find it ironic that one loose match can burn down the entire state of California, yet it takes me an entire box of Beehives to spark up my little portable BBQ. The night draws to end with an acoustic version of ten guitars. Then it’s bed time. At least it should of been. Bristling with mosquitoes and ambient chatter of drunk people laughing, I wriggle and stare at the top of the tent until 4am.
When I do eventually wake up it is after lunch time. Thirty degrees, I arise looking like Post Malone on bath salts, ready to be tasered.
This cycle continues for the next few days. Brunch. Beach. Dinner. Sunset. Bad Singing. Worse Sleep. Repeat. Before you realise it, you have created so many great memories and a bunch of new lifelong friends.
There’s no denying it. We definitely are a funny wee bunch, us Kiwis. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, except maybe I’ll bring some mossie repellent next time.
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