In Oceania countries like Australia and New Zealand, December is the middle of the summer and so New Year and Christmas takes on a very different feel. Many Australian families enjoy the holiday outdoors, with a picnic, barbecue or trip to the beach. At some beaches like Surfers Paradise (in Gold Coast), Santa Claus arrives by surfboard; and instead of reindeer, he is pulled on his sled by kangaroos.
Australia is a multicultural country and with this, our traditions are often mingled and derived from a mixture of other countries. Yes we have Christmas Trees, Father Christmas, Christmas Carols and gifts which are a familiar Christmas scenario. Christmas Dinner may be a barbeque in the backyard or a picnic on a beach though. Champagne instead of eggnog. Pavlova instead of Plum Pudding. Sydney is voted as one of the best cities for Christmas celebrations in the world.
The warm weather allows Australians to enjoy a tradition which commenced in 1930’s. Carols by Candlelight is held every year on Christmas Eve in Sydney, where tens of thousands of people gather in the city of Melbourne to sing their favorite Christmas songs. The evening is lit by as many candles singing under a clean cut night sky. The sky with its Southern Cross stars is like a mirror. Sydney and the other capital cities also enjoy Carols in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Many events and festival are held during Christmas and New Year season like The Taste of Tasmania in Hobart city.
Christmas in New Zealand is less about snow and sleigh bells and more about sun, sand and barbecues in the backyard. Many New Zealanders have a barbecue for Christmas lunch and this is becoming more popular. The food cooked on the barbecue is often ham slices or even venison or some other kind of exotic meat. Shrimps and other fish are also barbecued! Visitors enjoying their first Christmas in New Zealand are likely to experience culture shock – when you add summer and holiday fun to the traditional annual festival it takes on a very different look. Dunedin & the Otago Peninsula is named among best destination for Christmas this year.
Boxing Day (December 26th) in Australia is also a traditional day for two major sporting events: an international cricket test in Melbourne, and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which begins in Sydney Harbour and ends in Hobart, Tasmania before New Years Eve.