I open my eyes to a glow of orange as the sun’s first rays light up our tent. In the distance I hear waves breaking and the call of seagulls as they circle high above the campsite. I breathe a relaxed ‘ah’. The rocky outcrops at the end of the beach appear black against the silver ocean as the sun streams into the bay.
“Where are my sunglasses and what’s that bright yellow ball in the sky?”
Last summer in Taranaki was dismal. A series of westerly weather systems pounded the coast week after week during December and January. After a week at home in early January, Rick and I hurriedly packed up our camping gear and drove north like a couple of United States snowbirds escaping the winter snow – except we headed north rather than south due to the hemisphere difference.
Each summer we choose a different place in New Zealand for a two-week camping trip. Yes, it is a conscious decision to camp, as we both love sleeping out under the stars beneath a thin layer of fabric. And surprising though it may be, camping is very popular in New Zealand. To many people, holidays are all about luxurious accommodation in a five-star hotel or in an exotic resort, but I find that dislocates you from the natural environment.
For me camping is about reconnecting with nature and paring life back to its simpler elements. It can also be quite social, linking up with your temporary neighbours, depending on how spacious the campground is.
It’s great to see Kiwi families embracing camping, introducing their children to the outdoors and the simple joys of summer living.
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