We all went on a summer holiday


We all went on a summer holiday

New Zealand Doctor team

New Zealand Doctor team

Cathedral Caves cropped
The Cathedral Caves, in the Catlins, live up to their majestic title

New Zealand Doctor|Rata Aotearoa and Pharmacy Today|Kaitiaki Rongoā o te wā reporters share snippets from their holidays

The Catlins’ charm
- Zahra Shahtahmasebi

This year, my family swapped our usual Christchurch staycation with a Christmas-week holiday in the Catlins. This part of the South Island is notorious for its bad weather, even in late December. (We’d got rained out and had to leave early one memorable new year, camping in Owaka.)

So we weren’t holding our breath this time and, true to form, Christmas Day was a classic. It was hosing down. On our venture out for a walk, we got no further than 200m down the garden path before throwing in the towel.

Then the weather gods decided to smile upon us. On Boxing Day we were out and about, from Matai Falls, to the Lost Gypsy Caravan in Papatowai, then to the Cathedral Caves.

We walked through the “cathedral”, which is eerie and majestic. Removing our shoes, my brother and I splashed through the pool of water and back out onto the beach on the other side, yelping at the icy bite. The kids played in the sand and ran races along the beach before we decided it was time to head home for dinner.

Summer staycation
- Fiona Cassie

It started with him glancing up at our double-height, dirty windows.

We were in the midst of our summer staycation. I’d got quickly bored with sifting through old shoes and rubbish in the garage and was heading to find my book and the sofa.

The next thing I heard was: “I’m heading to Mitre 10 for some coach screws and stuff.”

Before I could ask, “What’s a coach screw?”, he was back with some timber on the roof rack.

He disappeared into the garage and returned dusting off the builder’s apron from his student days. Next came a ladder, and soon my slumber on the sofa was disturbed by the sound of drilling.

Then there was a cheerful: “Just heading back to Mitre 10.” He returned with yet more timber. There was more drilling, the whine of an electric saw and yet more drilling.

Finally, there he was, standing proudly on his sturdy, homemade scaffolding platform. I handed him window-washing paraphernalia and returned to my sofa.

The result – clean windows, a happy handyman and another book read from the bedside pile. Holiday perfection!

Fiona Cassie snaps a picture of her husband's spontaneous summer staycation project

Glorious waters
- Anna Lee My partner and I had the pleasure of spending part of the summer on a sailboat cruising our country’s glorious waters for just over a week.

The yacht cruised through the Bay of Islands and Whangaroa, hopping from bay to bay. However, my partner, ever the perfect timer, was five or six weeks’ post-op from pectoral surgery.

Following doctors’ orders, he wasn’t allowed to swim. But, in an effort to keep fit, he often resorted to using a blow-up paddleboard as a floatie and kicking it around a harbour for an hour. Meanwhile, after being bribed, I perched on the end for resistance.

On this particularly cold and drizzly day, and after exhausting every book on board and losing all remnants of sanity from being stuck in close confines for hours on end, I reluctantly hauled on some wet-weather gear for another day of being motored around the bay.

Pharmacy Today reporter Anna Lee with partner Nic, cruising through Bay of Islands and Whangaroa

An adventure right on your doorstep
- Zahra Shahtahmasebi

Armed with a handful of snacks and a handful of kids (four to be exact), my brother, his partner and I hopped in the car and went on our merry way to the Christchurch Adventure Park.

Not wasting any time, we enquired at the information desk, to be told the walk to the top of the hill takes about one to one-and-a-half hours and, if we make it, we can ride the chairlift down for free.

Not ones to shy away from a challenge, off we went.

The kids enjoyed scrambling up the track, looking at the view and watching as the bikers came charging down.

The chairlift came into view eventually, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Alas, we were fooled, as the track seemed to loop around the hill and the lift disappeared from sight.

We had been walking almost two hours now; the kids were tired, the snacks were gone, and we were starting to wonder whether we would ever get to the top. Heck, we were no longer sure we were even on the right track.

Turning back was out of the question, so we pressed on to the top, arriving sweaty but exuberant, and enjoyed our well-deserved chairlift-ride down.

Zahra's nephews enjoy their walk in the Christchurch Adventure park

A place to reflect
- Simon Maude

Less than 40km from central Auck-land is another world, the west coast’s Bethells Beach.

A patrolled surf beach by day, the wild black sand shore and sur-rounds possess a beautiful melancholy at dusk.

It’s a place to reflect, as well as to marvel. Overlooking the beach is Te Henga Walkway (Bethells’ name in te reo Māori). A new footbridge over the Waitākere River eases access at the walkway’s Bethells Road access point. The winding bush-clad path looms over the Tasman Sea, up and around spurs before dropping in to snug O’Neill Bay.

It continues on, vaulting up a windswept clifftop, meandering north, all the way to Muriwai Beach.

As you return along the shore from O’Neill’s, the fading pastelled light softens life’s outlook.

Bethells Beach at dusk

Boy, ball and wild West Coast beach
- Barbara Fountain

On a summer evening when the skies are clear, people flock to the rock seawall at Punakaiki Beach to enjoy the spectacular West Coast sunsets.

The newly upgraded seawall is the last defence of the coastal road, State Highway 6, which is squeezed between the high limestone cliffs of the Paparoa Ranges and the Tasman Sea.

On this evening, a group of kids, having given up on sunset gazing, were kicking a ball near the shallows.

This lad was displaying his soccer skills to a large audience sitting on the rocks. The opening of the Paparoa Track – a three-day tramp and two-day mountain ride over the ranges from Blackball – is the latest attraction for beautiful Punakaiki, already on the tourist map for its blowholes and pancake rocks.

The two rivers either side of the main settlement are excellent for kayaking (Pororari River) and swimming in the lagoon (Punakaiki River). Sea caves at the Punakaiki River mouth are another attraction for the intrepid.

The solo image of a boy and ball belies the fact that crowds had gathered to watch the sunset