As New Zealand’s winter approaches, there are plenty of travelers and locals alike who are thirsty for relaxation as well as adventure. From skiing to hiking, hot springs to wildlife sightseeing, there are plenty of exciting winter activities to check out during this time of the year. And if you want to get the most out of your trip, then you better pick the right location so that you can take advantage of everything that the islands have to offer. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best winter getaways in New Zealand. Read on to find the perfect place that will suit all of your wintertime travel needs down under.
- Lake Tekapo, South Island. If you head to the South Island’s Lake Tekapo in the wintertime, its elevation means you’re almost guaranteed snow. It’s easily reached on a 3-hour drive from Christchurch and when you’re there, you’ll find a plethora of New Zealand ski packages and outdoor adventures to be had, from snowshoeing to cross-country skiing. While you’re visiting Lake Tekapo, take a drive up to Mount John Observatory for spectacular views over the mountains or visit nearby Lake Pukaki for some seriously Instagramable snapshots.
- Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel, North Island. Hotels don’t come much better than the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel, found just one hour outside of Auckland. With its cosy lounges and roaring fireplaces, this 19th-century hotel is the perfect place to hole up for a winter vacation. While you’re staying at the hotel, there are plenty of snowy activities in the surrounding countryside, though many like to take advantage of the hotel’s three natural hot springs. If you choose this relaxing activity, you can take in all the beautiful scenery while listening to the gushing nearby river just a few steps from your hotel room. Be sure to book early because the hotel is one of the most popular getaway spots in the country.
- Kaikoura Range, South Island. The Kaikoura mountains sit along the northeast coast of New Zealand’s South Islands and are best visited during the winter months when they are blanketed in snow. There are a ton of outdoor adventures to try out, including cross-country skiing, but many visit the area for the wildlife spotting opportunities like seals which lie out along the rocks. Alternatively, if you’re feeling active, you could go hiking along the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.
- Rotorua, North Island. If you’re looking to warm up a bit, try the Rotorua springs, which contains more than two dozen mineral pools of differing temperatures. After a day of hiking, there are few things better than slipping into one of these hot pools and soaking those weary muscles. While you’re there, be sure to swing by the luxurious spa where you can indulge in all sorts of treatments which range from mineral mud baths to massages.
- Port Waikato, North Island. The gorgeous area on the North Island’s unspoiled western coast overlooks the Tasman Sea and is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. It rarely gets as cold as the mountains on the South Island and has a variety of bracing coastal and beach walks. If you’re into surfing, be sure to bring your board and wetsuit because you’re not going to want to miss catching some of the consistently good winter waves. There are several accommodation options like surf lodges and b&bs to use as a base for exploring.
Do you know of any other noteworthy winter getaways? Comment below to let us know your favorites!