Winter might be dreary and boring elsewhere in the world, but in New Zealand the colder months promise as much adventure and enjoyment as ever. With the winter season promising snow in certain parts of the country, the list of New Zealand attractions only gets longer as temperatures begin to drop – but thankfully, we’ve narrowed that list down to the best winter activities that the country has to offer, from classic snow outings to slightly less predictable pursuits.
Fun in the snow
Winter in New Zealand wouldn’t be the same if not for the skiing and snowboarding that it generates. NZ’s love for all things do with snow is evinced in the sheer number of ski parks that pepper the country - and boasting a landscape full of mountains, it’s little surprise that New Zealand has no shortage of alpine parks. Try Cardrona and Coronet Peak in Queenstown, or Turoa in the Ruapehu region for two well-established and well-equipped parks (both great locations, especially, if you’re seeking the perfect winter activity for kids).
- Check out our Guide to the Ski Season in Queenstown and Wanaka!
Winter beach walk, anyone?
Beaches aren’t only worth visiting in the summer, and with Aotearoa’s coastline taking on a unique pale beauty when the colder months roll around, a beach walk is definitely one of the best things to do in a New Zealand winter. One of the many upsides of visiting NZ in winter is the lack of other tourists, so take advantage and scope out places that would usually be packed in summer (hint: Hot Water Beach is always a worthwhile stop if you’re in the upper North). Wandering along an unpeopled shore is a bucket-list experience that New Zealand allows you to tick off.
Take a road trip
With temperatures getting lower the further down the country you travel, a walking tour around NZ might not be so comfortable in the middle of July. Armed with a cosy, heater-warmed car full of snacks, though, you’ll be good to go – and a road trip of some sort is almost compulsory if you’re touring New Zealand. It really is true what they say about the country’s scenery: around every corner you’ll find a new gorgeous scene to peruse, and the photo ops are sure to be endless. This is one winter activity you definitely won’t regret, so if you’re flying into New Zealand this winter, collect an airport rental car and get exploring.
Do anything in Queenstown
The winter capital of New Zealand, Queenstown does the opposite of most cities do when winds get chillier: it comes alive! With snow almost guaranteed in this lowest part of the South Island, the city – which is really more of an alpine town – has an almost European chic to it is sure to please both the shopping-inclined and the adventure-seeking. Queenstown’s bungee jumping is top on the list of New Zealand tourist attractions year-round, and its snow activities are unparalleled, so it makes sense that many of the top things to do in New Zealand are centred in or around this urban hub.
Warm up in the Rotorua hot pools
A geologist’s dream, the thermal springs in Rotorua are prized by native New Zealanders, and you’ll quickly see why. Approaching Rotorua, your nose will alert you to the hot pools before they even come into view, but don’t let their sulphuric odour put you off. Soaking in the springs after a long day of exploring and adventure will do wonders for your cold, tired limbs, and it’s thought that the water in the geysers is uniquely healthful, so if you’re needing some jetlag-inspired rejuvenation then a quick or prolonged dip will do wonders. You won’t get the chance to bathe in a geyser in many other parts of the world, so make sure to take up the opportunity whilst in wintry Aotearoa.
About the Author: Alex Cordier is based in Auckland, New Zealand and has worked in a variety of sales roles within the tourism and hospitality sectors in the country. Writing and traveling are her passion, and these have led her to several parts across Asia and North America. She enjoys writing about anything under the sun and has been published in various websites on topics ranging from travel, home living, to health and lifestyle.
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Image - Ultimate Jump photo - credit Nzone - The Ultimate Jump via Tourism New Zealand