Beach Christmas: 'totally weird, yes?'

German tourists (from left) Sara Schafer (19), Swenja Lauppe (21), Michaela Killmaier (30), Henriette Kempel (24), Paul Roeter (19), Charlotte Harke (19) and Dominik Sailer (21) make the most of a Christmas in the southern hemisphere. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
German tourists (from left) Sara Schafer (19), Swenja Lauppe (21), Michaela Killmaier (30), Henriette Kempel (24), Paul Roeter (19), Charlotte Harke (19) and Dominik Sailer (21) make the most of a Christmas in the southern hemisphere. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Snow-covered trees, frosty footpaths and hot Weisswurst were far from the minds of a group of German tourists celebrating Christmas at St Clair Beach yesterday.

As temperatures soared to 26degC in Dunedin, heavier clothing was swapped for bikinis and board shorts for what they felt was a very "untraditional" Christmas Day in the southern hemisphere.

Paul Roeter (19), from Munich, celebrated with six friends he had made at a backpackers hostel during his travels around New Zealand.

Non-alcoholic wine, snacks and a Christmas tree were all they needed to keep the festive spirit alive, despite unfamiliar surroundings, he said.

"We don't have beaches back in [our part of] Germany.

"There is lots of snow outside at this time of year, so it is something special to be able to come to the beach on Christmas Day.

"It is totally weird, yes?"

Munich recorded a minimum temperature of -1degC yesterday.

The tourists were among more than 100 people at St Clair and St Kilda beaches yesterday making the most of the warm weather.

Despite the sunshine, Mr Roeter confirmed the water was still not much warmer than that in Germany at this time of year.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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