How to Enjoy 72 Hours of Labour Weekend

Ahhh, Labour Weekend. The first long weekend in months and for many, the official marker that summer is finally on its way. If you're stuck for things to do this weekend, here's a list of things you could - and a couple you definitely should - fit in.

1. Check outdoor furniture and clean the barbecue

While it would be a great joke to see one of your friends fall through the lining of the deckchair, that's childish and dangerous. So check the outdoor furniture is up to taking someone's weight before letting your guests relax. And to save you the embarrassment of guests seeing the cockroaches emerge from the barbecue when you turn it on, fire it up first before they arrive.

2. Surf and snowboard in one day

Also known as the great New Zealand double, try having a surf and a snowboard (or ski) in one day. Just think, cutting it up at Whakapapa or Turoa in the morning and then packing up and heading where the swell is. Take your pick - head west to Taranaki, check out Raglan, or even the sunny Bay of Plenty. Remember to take the goggles off first before hitting the waves.

For snow report check

and surf reports see


3. Check the lawnmower

The grass is starting to grow again so it's officially lawn mower season. You don't need to go overboard with maintenance on your mower (because they are almost invincible after all) but do the basics: check spark plugs, air filter and the blades (this goes without saying, but don't do this when it's on). Most importantly, beware of using old fuel. Drain the tank if need be and get some new juice. Your mower will love you for it.

4. Change your duvet inner

There's nothing worse than getting so hot in the night that you drown your partner in sweat. Now's a good time to remove that thick featherdown and replace it with something light and airy. Even better: buy a bright new cover to get you in the mood for summer lovin'.

5. Plant a herb garden

It's salad season, and there's no better way to jazz up a bowl of lettuce than by adding a handful of fresh herbs. There's also no better way to encourage dead plants in your fridge than to buy them from the supermarket. So why not plant your own? They look great in big pots on the deck and you'll save yourself a fortune.

6. Learn a water sport

So you've always wanted to surf? Or you just want an excuse to buy that old Holden station wagon? Start now so you don't embarrass yourself in summer. You don't have to flail about aimlessly - just pick up the phone and book a lesson, be it surfing, windsurfing or kitesurfing. There are surf schools at Muriwai, Raglan and elsewhere. Check out

7. Check your camping gear

Sleeping in a piece of canvas is challenging enough without mushrooms growing in the seams. Don't wait until you're setting up camp in the half-light to deal with it, either - air out the tent while the weather is fine. You might as well replace the gas canisters in your stove and the batteries in the torch, too.

8. Plan your new year's resolutions

Yep, it's pretty geeky. But if you start thinking about your goals for 2007 now, you'll rev yourself up for when the day comes and you're too hungover to operate a pen. Plus it means you've still got time to get whatever it is - smoking, laziness, expensive stilettos - out of your system.

9. Get at one with nature

Whether it's a bush walk or beach swim, head outdoors this weekend and get down with your green self. Check out Waitakere's Arataki Visitor Centre for a whole range of walking trails, suitable for all fitness (or laziness) levels. Or head to any of Auckland's regional parks for some fresh air and room to roam. See

10. Learn to fish

There's two ways of doing this ... The first is simple. Grab a hook and line of some description, buy some bait, and start dangling it off the nearest pier, jetty or rock cluster. The second could prove trickier, but will undoubtedly be more fun. It involves finding a proud boat owner and fishing enthusiast, buttering them up till they offer to take you out for the day, then proceed to sit back and enjoy sunning yourself on their launch while making the most of their flash facilities.

11. Start your christmas shopping

Okay, this one's scraping the barrel a bit, but if you've absolutely nothing better to do, why not? Labour Weekend's the last long weekend before Christmas so there's bound to be some sales on - plus, parking should be sweet because everyone else will be at the beach and enjoying life. which may lead you to question, why aren't you?

12. Take a moment for reflection

There's a reason you're allowed that sleep-in on Monday, remember? So it's only fair to acknowledge the peeps - in particular carpenter Samuel Parnell - who made it possible. The first Labour Day was 116 years ago to celebrate the struggle for the eight-hour working day. For more info, go to

13. Rejig your wardrobe

Heavy winter coats, bulky snow boots, thick, woollen scarves ... whatever it is cluttering up your wardrobe, it's time to ship it off to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind, possibly under-the-bed area. It'll make your life easier when looking for an outfit in the morning and you'll have an excuse to go shopping for summer clothes.

14. Draw up a fitness plan

Avoid Heffalump-dom on the beach by kick-starting your fitness regime. Yes, we know it's one of those things you were going to do anyway but it's amazing how effective it can be just to write it all down. Stuck for ideas? Go to

15. Stock up on reading material

If there's nothing on your bookshelf but last week's NW, it's time to go shopping for holiday reading. You don't need to spend much. A day trip to Devonport for second-hand books, followed by a reading session by the water is a great start.

16. Graze and laze

Few things are sweeter than lounging around on a fresh patch of grass, munching on tasty treats. For a fool-proof picnic, hit the deli section of your local supermarket and stock up on pre-made salads, freshly baked bread, creamy cheeses and finely sliced meats (avoiding all those that resemble dog roll). Pick up some fresh strawberries and vino for the ultimate indulgence and head to your local park, beach or forest woodland.

17. Test your togs

It has probably been a while since you last donned your bathers and it's always worth giving them a quick run through before their season debut. A winter of sitting unused and un-stretched means there's every chance the elastic is bung, which could lead to a rather embarrassing expose if caught unawares. To avoid public humiliation, test your togs for wear and tear. Any see-through patches or saggy bums, head straight to the shops for new ones.

18. Sports

No, you don't have to sit through a five-day cricket test or drink a Chilly Bin of beer at a one-dayer. Save that for later in the summer. This is just a reminder to get the cricket bat and (tennis) ball out of the laundry and chuck it in the boot. And don't forget the soccer ball, touch ball, hacky sack and frisbee. And, if you can get your hands on one, a peg ball set. But beware of the flying, cartwheeling pegs.

19. Maintenance

Check that guttering, clear those drains and give the deck, or any dirty concrete areas, a water blast. Just think of it as a springclean for the outdoor area.

20. Go somewhere new

So you think you've been everywhere, do you? That's not possible, so this weekend just get in the car and drive. Here are a few suggestions. Explore the lovely Kauaeranga Valley (from Thames township take Parawai Rd and then Kauaeranga Rd). On your way to Kai Iwi Lakes in Northland call in for a beer at the Toka Toka Tavern (on the road between Brynderwyn and Dargaville). Kaiaua, on the Firth of Thames, is popular - if you haven't been there for fish'n'chips, you haven't lived.

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