The New Zealand Winter Escape

June 16, 2015

New Zealand in the winter months should not be seen as a turn off if you are considering a getaway during the months of June through August.

Though obviously a little cooler, the winter months put a new perspective on some of the most beautiful scenery and landscapes, as well open up a whole new set of experiences - especially if you are a mountain bunny on skis or snow board.

“Despite the snow and mountains, it isn’t actually that cold in winter. New Zealand has a temperate climate year round and even though you might feel a little chilly, compared to most parts of the world in winter, it is a lot more temperate.”[1]

A quick discussion around the Kiwi Travel office, and we’ve come up with the three places that are a must visit on your New Zealand winter getaway.

QueenstownYou cannot go past Queenstown. Comparable to some of the best skiing in the world, Queenstown is amidst a frenzy over the winter months, particularly school holidays and weekends, as those near and far migrate to the ski slopes of the nearby Remarkables and Coronet Peak and a hop skip and a ski to Cardrona and Treble Cone ski fields.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Queenstown is a compulsory stop being the adventure capital of New Zealand. From snowboarding to skiing, bungy jumping, riding the Shotover jet, Challenge Rafting, or a tandem sky dive, there is something for every adventurist. Throw in some of the more sedate activities of the region such as a Gondola ride, luging or trip on the TSS Earnslaw steamship, or even a visit to a local winery, the numerous activities of the region will keep even the most avid visitor busy for an extended period of time.

If it’s just some lazing around or rest and relaxation (RnR) required, a leisurely stroll around the waterfront or a hint of shopping awaits you. With plenty of different eateries and pubs, you’ll be sure to find a handy stop to laze in front of the fire with a meal or beverage to keep you company.

For a little extra, and highly recommended, take advantage of some perfect weather and enjoy a helicopter sight-seeing trip, where you can view the majestic nature of the surrounding alpine horizon and the wider basin that houses Lake Wakatipu.

Queenstown is truly one of New Zealand’s winter gems.

Our second winter destination is Hanmer Springs.

Hanmer SpringsWhere Frozen® meets heaven, Hanmer Springs is one of the most romantic places you can find yourself, especially with a winter backdrop. Nestled between mountains and forest, Hanmer Springs is beautiful all year around.

Without a doubt, a trip to Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa are a major draw card. Relaxing in the soothing sulphur hot pools amongst an array of water jets that vary in temperature, the pools and spa are a complete dream against the backdrop of the white capped ranges that overlook the Hanmer settlement. The pools and spa also cater for the kids with an activity pool, lazy river, and water slides, and an onsite café, private pools, spa, sauna and steam room luxury and pampering is mere metres away at any one time.

Much like Queenstown, Hanmer Springs is also home to range of different activities, including Jet boating, the Hanmer Springs Bungy, paintball, quad biking and clay bird shooting. Located 17km from the Hanmer Springs settlement is the Hanmer Springs skifield, so like Queenstown, pack your skis or board and enjoy the fresh air, mountain slopes and soak up the experience of getting off the beaten path.

The settlement also provides a boutique shopping experience, world class cafes and restaurants, parks and even a golf course.

NorthlandNot a specific location, but a region in the upper North Island, Northland is a place where you can get lost in time. New Zealand’s winters are temperate meaning that you can still manage to walk some of the most pristine environments and beaches without suffering hypothermia, especially at the top of the country (aka the 'Winterless Nort'h - warmer due to its proximity towards the equator).

There is so much to see and do, whether summer or winter! A visit to Cape Reinga with its strong connection to Maori mythology[2], and the most northern point of New Zealand, provides a crossroad where you can view the meeting of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

Extend this trip to include a tour along 90 Mile beach, where you view one to the most beautiful beaches in the country and experience tobogganing down the sand dunes.

Another site to visit is that of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The birth place of a nation, the Waitangi grounds signify the beginning of New Zealand as the nation today and provides and insight into New Zealand’s early settlement history and its founding document between Maori and Pakeha.

With a multitude of sea life, there is potential to swim with dolphins and observe them in their natural habitat. With the close links to the sea, you can also experience the culinary versatility of the region, soaking in the smells and flavours of some of the best cuisine in the country.

The DisclaimerWe’ve only highlighted three of a plethora of places you could visit in New Zealand in the winter months. This is by no means an extensive list, but get in touch with us and we can customize an itinerary for you that will suit your time, budget and desires for your time in New Zealand.

Don’t delay, winter is upon us!


Image credits

Heliworks (Queenstown Helicopters Limited)

AA Traveller


Things to do in New Zealand   

Your RV Lifestyle


[2] a spiritual place for Maori where the spirits of the departed leap to begin the voyage back to their final resting place in the ancestral homeland.

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