Spring is around the corner. In New Zealand, that is! If you’re gloomy about the grey weather in the Northern Hemisphere, read this. New Zealand is not an easy destination to reach, but certainly one worth making time for in a lifetime.
Amanda Searancke, founder of nui organics shares her Best Of. She lives in Austin (TX) with her two-year old son Tama and her French husband but goes back regularly to her home country where nui collections are made, 100% New Zealand organics merino wool. The finest and the purest. (Tested and certified by my little Amalya last winter)
Tell us about the philosophy of nui and how NZ inspires you:
NZ has such a wild and diverse natural beauty, which is really the star of the country. It produces the best organic merino wool in the world, with beautiful natural colors and a perfect texture. It is an intelligent fibre with natural attributes, perfect for babies and children. I try and keep my designs calm and let the natural material be the star.
– What are your favorite places for a family vacation:
I love the diversity in New Zealand: beaches and mountains, lakes, rivers, deserts, forest and farmland. As a child, nothing was ever too far away. You can throw snowballs on Mt Ruapehu in the morning and by dinner be at the ocean.
New Zealand is a young country, without too many rules. There is this freedom to create using the bounty of natural resources with the best methods from people who have come to live from all over. You will find this in food, architecture, fashion, technology. Innovation is second nature, originally from geographic isolation and now its just the way.
The oceans around New Zealand are raw and fresh with amazing colours. I would suggest flying into Auckland, which has a lot going on for kids. There is Waiwera Thermal Hot Pools, Kelly Tarltons Aquarium, horse riding, beaches, amusement parks, ferry rides and so on. For budding astronomers, there is Stardome Planetarium and budding lunatics can always jump off or climb over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Spend the day on Waiheke Island – a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, covered in wineries for mum and dad. Auckland also has some spectacular restaurantsand good coffee almost everywhere you go.
A great way to travel around is a Camper Van. Not for everyone, but they give you great freedom and versatility. They are comfortable, modern and well equipped. You can get them different sizes to fit your family. Popular ones are Kea and Maui. In the beach areas, there are campgrounds galore where you can plug in and take a shower. Plus your kids will meet other kids in a safe environment. They will play. You will relax. Next day you are off somewhere else. Waihi Beach is a great campround.
Summer in NZ is Dec-Feb. It’s the long school holidays and if a mobile camper is not for you, be sure to book accommodation ahead.
This summer we spent time on the Coromandel Peninsula – about 1h30 from Auckland. You could book a house (or book a Bach as NZ holiday homes are called) and do day trips to other parts of the Coromandel or go for a B&B or hotel. You can pretty much get anywhere on the Coromandel in a day. There are vintage railways, scenic boat trips and my favourite – beaches. A visit to Hot Water Beach is a must with its fantastic low tides that turn into personal hot tubs.
Also, take a hike inland. NZ has no snakes, no poisonous spiders and the bush (as NZ forest is known) is full of magnificent native trees and lots of ferns. The rivers are clean and cool for swimming. The Karangahake Gorge is goodto hike with kids. It’s easy to catch your own fresh fish. Just ask at any bait or tackle store where to go and what you need.
– And for a little shopping:
Manuka Honey is delicious. Wooden things from reclaimed native timber, like Kauri and Rimu. are great to bring back, with rich warm colors and amazing texture. You will find galleries all over the country. If you are in Auckland, visit Kura Gallery.
Nui Organics is available online at nuiorganics.com. In the US: New York – Crembebe, Acorn and Yoya. Boston – Hatched. Los Angeles – Wonderland. San Francisco – Natural Resources and Sprout SF. Seattle – Clover In Canada: Toronto – Advice from a Caterpiller Calgary – Rivas The Eco Store. In the UK: Elias & Grace.
Ps: nui has a sister collection, all things lambskin: kina collection. It’s luxurious and beautiful.