Because no one does winter better in the Southern Hemisphere than New Zealand except maybe Antarctica (but that’s a little extreme)
New Zealand in winter is so beautiful, the Southern Alps are covered in snow, full of amazing adrenaline junkie outdoor activities and so much fun that beaches will be the last thing on your mind.
10 REASONS WHY WINTER IN NEW ZEALAND IS AMAZING
Spending a winter holiday in a place that embraces the great outdoors and nature as much as New Zealand is truly inspiring. It may not have be scorching, but the sun certainly shines, and makes you totally forget that you are on a winter holiday!
PICK AND CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION
Off-peak travel means less people. Which means less demand for hotels and hostels. Which means lower prices, better rooms, more food at the breakfast buffet and more money in your pocket for you. YES!
HIT THE SLOPES
New Zealand’s slopes are legendary. The South Island boasts the most resorts, with 5 across Queenstown and Wanaka alone. Alternatively, head to region for some back country skiing, or combine a city break in Christchurch with skiing or boarding at Mt Hutt, just 1 and a half hours from the city.
The North Island doesn’t let the South take all the glory, though. Meet the world’s only skiable volcano at Mt Ruapehu! Half pipes on old lava flows, anyone?
THE GLACIERS ARE AT THEIR BIGGEST AND THEIR BEST
Taking a hike on the Franz Josef or Fox glaciers is at the top of many travellers’ New Zealand bucket-list, and there’s no better time to make the trek than in winter. First of all, the chances that it will rain are considerably less in winter, so a drizzle-free hike is on the cards, and the ice won’t be as slippery. Secondly, the ice that makes up the glacier is much more, well, icy in winter! The glacier will be at its biggest and best, meaning you get the best possible glacier experience and amazing insta photos! Winning.
TWO WORDS: HOT POOLS
What could be better after a winter’s day outdoors than stepping into an outdoor hot pool surrounded by snow? Not a lot, that’s what. New Zealand has hot springs all over the place. Making the dash through the cold air from the changing rooms at the South Island’s Tekapo Springs makes those piping hot pools all the more rewarding, and with awesome views of Lake Tekapo and the snow-covered Southern Alps, you may never want to leave.
It’s all about relaxing in the hot pools, like this one at Tekapo Springs
WATCH A WHALE
There’s no better time of year to spot a humpback, blue or southern right whale at Kaikoura than in June and July. It’s bang in the middle of their migration period y’see, and they’re often spotted closer to shore in winter than at any other time.
THE QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
Every year, backpacker hot spot Queenstown celebrates the start of winter with a 10 day extravaganza of parties, fireworks, music, comedy and plenty of mountain based fun. If you are lucky enough to witness the Dog Derby, where anyone with a dog can get involved racing down Coronet Peak with their furry friend. The winner is the first person across the finish line still holding their dog – you will not regret watching this. It’s one of the funniest things you’ll witness, and a few hairy (‘scuse the pun) moments where dogs looked as though they were going to take out a few skiers. Hilarious.
Snow + dogs = hilarity, at the Queenstown Winter Festival Dog Derby | Image courtesy of Stefan Haworth/
IT’S NOT EVEN THAT COLD!
Especially on the North Island. The average winter temp at the Bay of Islands is 16 degrees. 16 DEGREES! If you are from the UK, that’s a balmy British summer day at the best of times.
PRETTY, PRETTY SNOW
Snow makes everything more beautiful, fact. Driving around the country becomes even more of a feast for eyes than usual, and you’ll get breathtaking views from the plane as you soar over snow topped peaks. And if a skydive is on the agenda, brace yourself for some seriously amazing views.
LESS PEOPLE AT TOURIST HOTSPOTS
Since New Zealand in winter isn’t at the top of the list for loads of backpackers (fools), you’ll find you’ll have many of the tourist hot spots practically to yourself. No waiting in line to bungy; a practically empty day relaxing in the hot springs of Hot Water Beach; less people to get in the way of your pictures at Milford Sound… you get the idea.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES YOU CAN ONLY DO IN WINTER
New Zealand is all about the outdoors, and the fun doesn’t stop in winter. In fact, it gets even better, with an array of activities that you can only do when it’s cold. In the beautiful town of Wanaka on the South Island, for example, you’ll find sled dog or snow mobile tours, and snow and ice driving experiences. Over at Tekapo Springs or the Ozone Tubing Park near Queenstown, you can try your hand at snow tubing – yep, like the tubing made famous in Laos’ Vang Vieng, but over snow instead of a river. Too much fun.
Have you spent winter in New Zealand? Tell us all about it in the comments thread below! If you fancy packing your thermals and heading there, then check out our cheap flights to New Zealand! We can hook you up with all you need to get around and see the country too, with offers on flexible bus passes, campervans and tours all year round.