In the UK, when we hear of Brighton Beach, we think of the grand pier, sticks of rock and a thriving LGBT community.
Yet juxtapose this with Brighton Beach in New Zealand. Soft, sandy beach stretching for miles along the Pacific Ocean, empty except for the annoying, and very friendly, seagulls that patrol the beach.
I felt like a billionaire as I placed down my beach rug on the sand, beneath the blazing kiwi sun. Like Richard Branson, I had my own little island for where I could relax, splash about and ride the waves.
And boy, what waves they were! Any island/ country that is lucky enough to lie on the Pacific Ocean will no doubt have plenty of pleasure riding the waves, with New Zealand no exception. I do not surf personally, but just bobbing up and down as the waves carry you in-shore was fun enough, even if I did get a mouthful of salt water.
Brighton Beach can be many things. For me, it was a chance to relax and unwind from a stressful year, for others it is a place to explore. You can take your dog, your football, your cricket set, you can take anything.
Like a lost island, I was living my very own Swiss Family Robinson. Every time I visited (three times in total), it was just the same. Clear skies, fresh sand, tranquil atmosphere and gorgeous blue waters, frothing with plenty of surf. Another reason why New Zealand really is an 'island of paradise'.