Winter Destinations In New Zealand

Owing to its location in the southern hemisphere, seasons in New Zealand are reversed, and for many people it takes some getting used to. Just imagine cold July and warm Christmas. Seems weird, right?

But believe us, those people who live there or have even shifted there from the northern hemisphere take it in stride and are quite accustomed to this ‘opposite’ order of things.

If you are thinking of a vacation in summer and don’t wish to head to warm places, how about booking your ticket to New Zealand for a change? It will be nice to experience winter in summer, and believe us, it doesn’t get prettier and more fun in winter than it does in New Zealand.

Here is a list of 10 things that make New Zealand one of the coolest places to visit in winter. 

#1 It’s off season, so no tourists – just you

People generally visit New Zealand when it’s cold and dreary in their part of the world. Winters are practically bereft of tourists. So if you dislike crowds, this is the perfect time. Except for a smattering of people at the ski fields, there are hardly any tourists to be seen.

Imagine empty beaches and empty mountains. Even campsites, roads, holiday parks and other popular sightseeing spots will have such few people (or none!) that you’ll think you have the whole country to yourself. 

All of New Zealand will feel like your personal playground. Your only companion is perfect solitude.

#2 Off season means it’s so much cheaper!

New Zealand in winter is off season, which means everything is cheaper. Hotel rates, ticket prices and sightseeing charges all go down. You are guaranteed excellent deals wherever you go. If you don’t see it advertised as such, feel free to ask anyway. The saving will be stupendous.

#3 It’s really not that cold

Your mind says winter and your body automatically believes it’s cold. For some of you who might have experienced the winter of the northern hemisphere winter in New Zealand will actually feel pleasant.

In South Island, it snows only in the mountains and the flat lands are just nippy. Plus, with so many lakes around, the towns are actually warm.

Then up in the North Island, the temperature is so mild that you can actually even plan a day at the beach during the winter.

A word of caution, though. Most of New Zealand doesn’t have central heating. So early mornings can be cold, especially in old homes with single-paned windows. Simply carry enough long underwear, pull on thick socks and snuggle with a hot water bottle.

#4 Snow and snowy mountains everywhere

Hooker Valley

New Zealand is home to some glorious mountain peaks, but when you see them in summer all you see are jagged slopes and perhaps you can catch a glimpse of a glacier or two somewhere in the distance. But in winter, everything changes magically.

June onward the mountains start to change colour and begin to take on whites. The snow line drops lower and lower with each passing day creating the perfect picture for Instagram. You wouldn’t be faulted for wanting to take a bit of them too, since they have now started to take on the appearance of chocolate cupcakes with delicious vanilla frosting.

These snow-white mountains are the perfect backdrop for road trips and you can also access some of New Zealand’s best walking trails and hikes during these cold months.

#5 Exciting snowboarding awaits you

Looking for some adventure? How about snowboarding or skiing? Head straight to Wanaka, home to Treble Cone, considered to be one of the best ski fields in New Zealand. Of course, this is where the crowds will be, but there is no better place to cut your teeth on winter adventure than here. You will find plenty of instructors who will be more then eager to help you find your feet. And once you get the hang of it (after a few falls and soft landings), it will all go downhill from there, literally.

People say that once you figure out how to keep your balance, then there is no bigger joy than flying down the mountain with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair. The fantastic views along the way are simply icing on the cake.

#6 Have you tried your hand, oops, legs at dogsledding?

Now that you’re done experiencing skiing and snowboarding, how about upping the ante a bit? Have you tried dogsledding? Travel to Wanaka in Cardrona and ask for the Snow Farm. You can go skiing here as well and stay overnight in quaint huts. But the biggest attraction is dogsledding.

What can be better than being taken for a ride by howling, fluffy wolf dogs as they race along the snowy white hills! Not many people know about this and wouldn’t it be great if you could go home and talk about your great snowy adventure under the New Zealand sun?

#7 Go awwww at these baby seals

Kaikoura Canterbury

If you like dogs then we’re guessing you might love seals too. And these are babies!

On the South Island, 15 minutes from Kaikoura, is a beautiful waterfall which is home to baby seals in the winter months. How do they get there? It seems mumma seals drop off their babies to frolic and play in the waterfall and become nice and chubby before they make their way into the seal colony on the beach.

#8 Soothe your soul in these hidden hot springs

Kerosene Creek

New Zealand sits on a fault line and is known the world over for its geothermal appeal. Most popular volcanoes are on the North Island and they come with their fair share of hot pools and stinky volcanic lakes that everyone visits.

Compared to that, down south just has big mountains. But tucked away in one corner is a local secret. Southwest of Kaikoura and north of Christchurch is the famous kiwi holiday town of Hanmer Springs. And this has numerous natural hot pools that draw people to it every year. This iconic New Zealand holiday spot doesn’t see many tourists; it’s frequented mostly by the locals who have turned it into an annual pilgrimage of sorts. 

Do add this to your itinerary. The beautiful location, near the mountains and in the middle of woods, is the perfect destination to get away from the crowds and to connect with oneself. Just because it’s in the middle of nowhere doesn’t make it rustic. There is a proper spa resort with all the trappings of a comfortable vacation.

#9 Were you expecting to see the Southern Lights?

The northern hemisphere has the Northern Lights. So guess what you get in New Zealand? You bet! Southern Lights. The same beauty and the same stunning visual display.

#10 Get chatty with friendly locals

Since there are fewer tourists, the locals have plenty of time on hand and are more open to chatting with you. What better way to get to know the local culture and best sights to see than over a mug of beer or glass of wine shared with a local?

And don’t worry if you’re traveling alone. New Zealand is a safe place and you can easily befriend a local without worrying about all the bad things than happen to people who let down their guard.

Have we triggered your travel itch already or not? Plan a winter holiday to New Zealand and we promise you it will be unlike any vacation that you’ve taken in a long time. All you need to do is pick the dates and we will do the rest for you.

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