In New Zealand, summer is synonymous with the classic Kiwi road trip. There are few things we love more than unwinding from our 9 to 5 than by jumping in the car and making a break for the open road while exploring the majestic scenery our beautiful country has to offer.
Whether you’re beach or bush bound, consider the new MINI Countryman the Kiwi roadie’s new BFF. We challenged Remix food editor Julia Matthews to rediscover the magic of the New Zealand roadie by spending a day exploring beautiful Piha in the new MINI Countryman.
With plenty of room in the back for three adults, Julia packed her friends and her favourite seasonal produce and made use of the fold out picnic bench contained in the boot for a well-earned coffee when they arrived at their destination on the wild west coast.
After a day spent roaming Piha’s picturesque black sand beaches, Julia and her crew jumped back into the MINI Countryman to begin the windy ride home. Lucky for them, then, this newly minted MINI navigates tight corners and rugged terrain like a pro. Hugging close to the road as Julia eased her way around the cliff-edged roads, the MINI’s go-kart handling allowed every passenger a smooth journey.
Upon arriving back into the city, Julia checked the speed limit information via the MINI’s traffic sign recognition system to ensure she kept proper pace.
Remix caught up with Julia to find out more about her experience in this new whip, her favourite beaches fringing Auckland and her ultimate road trip playlist.
HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL BEACH DAY GO?
My favourite beaches to go to are Piha, Tawharanui and Minnehaha. I’ll jump in the car, grab some snacks, go out, hang at the beach, have a swim and sunbathe. I’d make sure to pop into Farro or Huckleberry to pick up fresh fruit and veges, chips and dip. Can’t help but treat myself to a Choc Bar or a Fruju Tropical Snow on the drive home.
WHAT BEATS DO YOU AND YOUR CREW PLAY ON THE CAR RIDE?
Singalongs! I’ve got a ‘90s R&B playlist on Spotify, and I know the words to every song. Lauren Hill, TLC, Ginuwine, Relax Street, Blackstreet, Usher, Brandy, 112, Faith Evans, Boyz II Men. I love driving, so I’m usually behind the wheel controlling the music!
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING HOME?
Auckland is so much easier to get around than Sydney. It takes an hour and a half to get across the city. Here the traffic is so much better and it’s easier to get carparks. Plus, I have all my friends here, so I make the most of every weekend. Like the other day, we all piled into the MINI Countryman – do you know how much you can fit in that car? It’s insane, I was so surprised. The boot is really big and has this cool thing you pull out and sit on like a seat. Next time I want to take my surfboard…
WAIT… YOU SURF?
Yes! I can surf. I have a surf board. I probably wouldn’t surf out at Piha, but I can get up and ride the wave in.
SO, YOU GET HOME FROM A LONG DAY AT THE BEACH AND HAVE YOUR WHOLE CREW AROUND. WHAT DOES JULIA MATTHEWS, FOODIE EXTRAORDINAIRE, WHIP UP FOR THEM?
I love the barbecue, and having big salads and platters. With cheeses, yummy meats, homemade dips – like hummus and beetroot dip – crackers, and grapes. Then I’d make chicken and steak on the barbeque. I’d make a homemade tabouli, a rocket salad and some baby potatoes with butter and mint.
Photography by Hone Hernandez
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