Every must-do activity for the cold months

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With travel borders now officially open, Australians are enthusiastically returning to travel. But while long-haul travel is certainly exciting, you shouldn’t overlook the benefits of visiting our friends in New Zealand, especially during the winter months.

Sure, Australia has its own gems to see in the cooler months, but New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful countries you can visit in winter and it’s only hours away. of the.

If you’re looking to plan a trip to New Zealand this winter (or next), the country’s Tourism Board has got you covered by sharing its top tips on everything from skiing to hiking. Check them out below.

How to visit New Zealand during the winter months

new zealand skiing

Mount Hutt. Picture provided

If you’re after skiing – which you assume if you’re visiting New Zealand in the winter – it’s worth noting that both islands offer fabulous ski areas.

Tourism New Zealand shared that on the North Island, “Ruapehu is a winter lover’s paradise. This mountain is home to two popular ski areas, Turoa and Whakapapa. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended that you visit Happy Valley in Whakapapa, which Tourism New Zealand has described as ‘one of the best beginner’s courses in the country’.

Crossing the South Island, Canturbury is the recommended home of skiing. Here you will find Mt Hutt which “has the longest season in the country and has been voted the best in the country [ski resort] for six consecutive years.

Porters, Broken River, and Hanmer Springs are also worth adding to your must-see list.

Queenstown and wanaka complete South Island offerings; areas known for their exceptionally steep slopes,” added Tourism New Zealand.

“State of the art chair lifts…groomed runs, great playful pipes and spectacular views for a fun day out no matter where you choose.”

winter hiking

Moving from tracks to more grounded pursuits, hiking is another hugely popular experience to try in New Zealand during the winter – just dress warm.

Tourism New Zealand has advised that you should:

“Head south for the snowy slopes of Ben Lomond Where Queenstown Hill and mountain vistas. Rakaia Gorge Walkway is a good option for a quiet day near Canterbury Fields, along the turquoise waters of the Rakaia River. If you’re after a hike with less snow, head north to Cape Brett for milder temperatures.

“Wherever you’re going, make sure you’re prepared with snacks, water and plenty of layers for the dropping temperatures.”

Adventure in the New Zealand winter

The adrenaline experience doesn’t stop at the hike either. If you’re heading to New Zealand in winter, you can try a bit of dog sledding in Underdog, a cruise with Queenstown Snowmobile or even heli-snowmobiling if you’re up for it.

HeliBike NZ or Southern Lakes Helibike offer more action packed tours, or if you want to slow down a bit “the Timber Trail is a great scenic option on a bike or for [an even] slower option, take a train car on the Forgotten World Highway”.

Do whale watching

Winter in New Zealand is the perfect time to witness the magic of whales in the wild.

The tourist board has shared that you can “catch migrating humpback whales as they escape Antarctica’s cold winter temperatures and move on to warmer New Zealand waters in the South Island “.

“Whale Watch Kaikoura offers boat tours for a closer look, take to the skies for a spectacular bird’s eye view with Wings Over Whales or watch from land and watch for the seals that line Kaikoura’s rocky coastline.”

Winter food and wine in New Zealand

Knoll Ridge Cabin. Picture provided

New Zealand wine is a premium product, and if you enjoy a drink, visiting a few wineries is a must when visiting in winter.

Tourism New Zealand recommends:

“Head toward Waipara to Canterbury for a drink in Waipara Hills or Greystone, or there is no passing a pinot noir while in Central Otagoa region famous for it.

“Gibbston Valley runs tours offering a deeper understanding of the grape’s journey, or Amisfield and Akarua are renowned for their options, and set in beautiful locations.”

Mount Difficulty near Cromwell or Rippon in Wanaka are other places to consider as well.

Let’s move on to food, Knoll Ridge Cabin is probably your first choice – sitting 2,020m above sea level on the edge of Mount Ruapehu.

“Take the Sky Waka for a meal with stunning skyline views in this architecturally award-winning building. End the day with a meal at the cozy Powderkeg in Ohakune or grab a classic [meal] from the hotel Chateau Tongariro…”

Other New Zealand Winter Experiences

    new zealand winter
Onsen hot pool. Picture provided

Haven’t seen anything to your liking yet? How about a chance to see the Aurora australis, or aurora borealis? Winter in New Zealand is the perfect time for this.

You can also admire the majesty of age-old glaciers with Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, while the Onsen hot pools are a short distance from the Queenstown slopes if you are looking for something a little more relaxing.

There truly is an option for every type of traveler. Now, is anyone else feeling that familiar old wanderlust again?

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