Rather than wrapping up and huddling by the heater, winter in New Zealand is a diverse and exciting time to get out and about and get your blood pumping. Aside from the snow activities where colder can be better, off piste winter temperatures in New Zealand are an agreeable 10-15C.
New Zealand's Southern Alps give the South Island a spectacular geography of glaciers, vibrant turquoise lakes, and snow-capped mountain peaks. With a bit of winterization on your car, the perfect adventure seeker's base to reach it all is Queenstown. A winter playground, there a four ski fields accessible from Queenstown with slopes catering for beginners and families through to advanced skiers and snowboarders. The New Zealand ski season runs from June to October - school-holiday events run in July, including the Queenstown Winter Festival - but August usually sees the best snow and quieter slopes.Without a doubt the mountain scenery is spectacular, but there is plenty of aprÃ¨s ski and off-mountain winter action in New Zealand to tempt even the most avid slopesters off the piste.
The Fox Glacier is a stunning 13 kilometre glacier near the west coast of the South Island, and a great stopping off point from Queenstown if you're heading up north. Carving through the mountainside, the vibrant blue ice of the frozen landscape is surprisingly accessible as it flows from the Southern Alps almost to sea-level. The ice is constantly shifting, creating new ice caves and ravines, but with a sure-footed professional guide you can hike up from the base near Fox Glacier townships and explore the mighty glacier - no helicopters required (unless desired)!
New Zealand's North Island is the best place to thaw out in a natural hot spring. While there are private spas which use the geothermal springs in hot pools and treatments, nothing beats finding a natural hot spring and having a soak, completely free! At the appropriately named Hot Water Beach, on the north-east coast of the North Island - and only 2.5 hour drive from Auckland - geothermal heated water bubbles up at the sand next to the nippy Pacific Ocean. If you happen to have packed a spade you can dig your own hot pool, or you can hire a spade from the nearby shops.
In the central North Island near Taupo, you can find the Otumuheke Stream creating natural hot pools as it merges with the Waikato River. Find the perfect temperature by swimming further around and relax in the crisp open air.
This coastal town in the South Island has a blood-pumping claim to fame. Dunedin is home to the Guinness World Record holding Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. Although only a modest 350 metres long, tackling the incline is not for the faint hearted and those who make it to the top are rewarded with luscious photo opportunities. You can also get snap happy for the Dunedin Railway Station, opened 100 years ago in 2016 and built in an unusual Flemish renaissance style, and the Victorian and Edwardian architecture dotted around the city.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments what your favourite activity to keep warm in winter in New Zealand is! If you're planning on an adventure in New Zealand this winter, Auto Europe can help you find the perfect hire car or motorhome. We have been helping customers across the world for over 60 years find the perfect car, and have locations across New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and over 20 other towns. For more information, give us a call on 1300 656 601 or simply book online today!