Don't worry guys - while most of you were cowering under what was left of your tent on the Coromandel or up north, I was holding the fort here in Auckland, getting things here at

Travel

under way for the coming year.

Actually, as a newspaper staffer from way back, I'm used to working over the Christmas holidays, and the City of Sails isn't such a bad place to be once it empties out for the holidays.

The roads are empty and the shops are quiet, and while it's sometimes a challenge to find a decent coffee, at least when you do the queue is short.

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That's not to say it wasn't torturous being at work during the week between Christmas and New Year when the days were warm and bright and the office air-con was freezing.

I consoled myself with day trips: a swim at Pt Chev beach here, a picnic at Cornwallis there, and, best of all, a couple of lovely walks - one along rugged Piha Beach in the blazing sunshine and another on the Pipeline Track near the Nihotupu Dam, also out west.

Come January 15, a friend and I will be loading up a campervan and heading off on our annual roadtrip, which this year will take us all around the East Cape to an empty-of-Rhythm-and-Vines-ravers Gisborne, then northwest to Lake Tarawera.

Hopefully the crazy drivers will be back at work and the weather will have settled down. I'm leaving Auckland to you.

To everyone else who had to slog it out over Christmas heading away in January instead, happy holidays.