It’s always hard to zero in on your next travel destination. Especially with a family in which each member seeks different kinds of fulfilment. Some want to relax, or to learn about local history, others want to sample the cuisine. I’m one of those whose perfect holiday includes all the above,
and another major criteria: Shopping!
New Zealand then was several notches lower on my radar. That is, of course, till I was proved wrong. I’m one of the rare few who’ve been there three times – and while the spots visited and dishes experimented with changed on each visit, the loaded, brightly coloured bags remained a constant.
There’s no Mango, Zara, Topshop or Forever 21 here. Standing in Auckland’s biggest mall, I can identify all of three brands. Kookai and Max stock affordable clothing, while accessories giant Diva stocks little trinkets.
Move on to Jay Jays for TV show/rock band/cartoon character-inspired tees and accessories, Valley Girl for boho chic; Glassons for glamour; Pagani for smart casuals; and Dotti and Supre for vests and jackets.
Bendon, available only in the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, sells comfortable lingerie. Prices are just as high or low as La Senza or Triumph.
Ezibuy, a homegrown company, sells durable winter wear in countless styles and colours. For those willing to shell out more, Kathmandu has travel and winter wear.
The awkwardly sized needn’t worry. Practically every store stocks abundant options for them. Auckland even has a massive store – Big and Tall – that caters exclusively to men that fit either category. Sizes go up as high as size 16 for shoes and 8XL for tees. Brands in stock include Pierre Cardin and Savile Row.
Farmers is quite like Pantaloons, while Warehouse lives up to its name. Everything here is reasonable – clothes, homeware, food and stationery. Local designers like Karen Walker, Pandora, Sabatini and Muse are sought-after names.
The discount food outlets of Pak’n Save sell groceries, chocolates and cheese. Foodtown, recently rebranded Countdown, is another popular chain. I’ve never seen so many varieties of Cadbury’s chocolate at a single store. Whittaker’s is New Zealand’s second biggest chocolate brand, and their bars are exported to Australia, Singapore and the UK.
Gadgets are priced virtually on par with the most reasonable rates you’d find across the world. Dicksmith is among the popular chains for all kinds of gizmos.
So, plan your trip around June or at the end of the year and you won’t be disappointed. Christmas is beautiful, and the sales will save you a lot more than the budget you’d allocate for shopping on a vacation anywhere in the world. I was in for a surprise on my first visit. I’m sure you will be too.
Points of sale
-A huge draw in New Zealand is the quality of everything. The outerwear from Ezibuy is sure to last a couple of decades at least.
-Cadbury’s fans, rejoice! The country’s supermarkets stock a mind-boggling variety of the brand’s chocolates.
-Another reason to smile, their discounts are really deep. Prices see a genuine drop from reasonable to more than reasonable.
-Since their seasons are opposite to ours, you can find summer wear in December.
Flights: There are no direct flights. You’ll have to transit via Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. Some flights may involve two stopovers.
From HT Brunch, May 27
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