From the snowy peaks of the North Island to the wide-open terrains of the South Island, there is a winter activity in store for everyone in New Zealand.
As temperatures begin to soar in sunny Singapore, there is no better time to escape the heat and travel to a wintery wonderland. Being in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand is the perfect destination to beat the heat and its borders have reopened just in time to welcome Singaporeans.
Here are some noteworthy activities for your upcoming travels to the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Bust out your snow gear
Credit: Miles Holden
The hilly mountainous regions of Central Plateau, Canterbury and Central Otago are blanketed with white snow as ski enthusiasts zip through the various ski tracks on offer.
The New Zealand ski season typically kicks off in the South Island from mid to late June and finishes in October, while the North Island season starts and finishes a little later. The South Island is home to Queenstown and Wanaka, which are a haven for snow lovers. Some of the most picturesque regions to ski in these parts include The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Snow Farm. These attractions cater to skiers at every level, including Olympic-sized super pipes, state-of-the-art chairlifts, cruising groomed runs, big mountain style and breathtaking views.
The Central North Island is home to Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand's largest commercial ski field. Skiers can experience Whakapapa and Tūroa – two of the largest skiing areas in New Zealand which boast some of the country’s longest ski runs with spectacular views.
For more family-friendly activities, sledding at Whakapapa's Happy Valley Snow Park or tobogganing down the slopes of Mount Hutt and Cardrona is the perfect way to engage the kids in the spectacular outdoors. Other fun activities include long walks in the deep snow called snowshoeing, thrilling snowmobiling rides and dog sledding.
Marvel at a spectacular starlit sky
Castlepoint-Wairarapa; Credit: Daniel-Rood
The starry skies of New Zealand are one of the most spectacular sights during the winter months. With constellations and shooting stars dotting the skies; most of New Zealand has no light pollution and is home to some of the most accessible observatories in the world. Covering much of the Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie region, the Dark Sky Reserve has been labelled as one of the best stargazing sites on the planet. Big Sky Stargazing at the foot of Mount Cook or Dark Sky Project are just some of the tours available at Tekapo's Mount John Observatory. Here, you’ll be treated to professional telescopes and knowledgeable, passionate guides for an unforgettable stargazing experience.
New Zealand during the winter months is also treated to a symphony of colours that is the Aurora Australis. The Southern Lights are seen mainly in the southern half of the South Island, in and around Lake Tekapo, Dunedin, Queenstown, Southland and Stewart Island. July or August are the perfect months maximise your chances to view the spectacle.
Stretch your legs with a scenic hike
The North Island boasts one of the most scenic hiking trails during the winter season. The marvellous Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4km medium level hike across a spectacular volcanic landscape. Speckled with crystal clear turquoise crater lakes, alpine meadows, high volcanic peaks and stunning 360-degree views of the central plateau in this world-renowned hike, this experience is perfect for enthusiasts looking to stretch their hiking needs.
Blue Lake Track at Rotorua is an easier hiking path, perfect for leisurely strolling with the family and little ones. This easy walking loop circles Rotorua’s beautiful picturesque Blue Lake, taking in pristine beaches, native bush and the exotic conifers of Whakarewarewa Forest.
Take a dip in New Zealand’s hot pools
Otumuheke Spa Park; Credit: Miles Holden
Contrasting with the cold weather, New Zealand is also home to impressive, naturally-heated hot springs. After a long day of skiing and winter sports, a long soak overlooking spectacular mountain views is the perfect way to relax your weary muscles. Soak in Hanmer Springs, known for its mineral-rich hot pools that are surrounded by gorgeous gardens and alpine visits. An experience at the Hot Tubs Omarama leaves you gazing at a clear starlit sky while enjoying the warmth of the hot springs.
Taste your way through Hawke's Bay
During the winter months, Hawkes Bay is the perfect destination to sample delicious citrus fruits and hearty vegetables. Visit Havelock North farmer’s market for some of the most delicious locally grown produce. For foodie enthusiasts, Hawkes Bay also boasts an array of excellent food and wine. Delicious Hawke's Bay apples and pears are harvested in autumn and foraging for truffles and mushrooms is a highlight during the winter months and loads of fun to involve the children.
For a more adult-friendly gathering during winter month of June, Hawke's Bay locals come together to celebrate their beloved produce in the annual Winter Food and Wine Classic event (F.A.W.C). Restaurants, food trucks and eateries set the bar high, serving gourmet cuisine brilliantly prepared by established chefs using seasonal produce. Breweries, cideries and wineries come together under one roof to tickle your tastebuds with superb liquid creations.
This article is brought to you by Tourism New Zealand.