When stuck in NZ for the winter, you can do one of two things:
- You can run away to an overseas country and pretend that winter does not exist or;
- You can travel around NZ and make the most of this chilly season.
Trust me, we have already heavily considered option one. However this is not always an option; especially when your bank account is looking a bit sparse. For these reasons, I want to focus on the positives that a NZ winter has to offer.
1. GO ON A ROAD TRIP (IN A NICE WARM VEHICLE)
Winter can actually be one of the best times to travel the country (believe it or not!)
For one, there are way less tourists around. Hotel rates are also lower and prices for rental cars are much cheaper. Travel smarter and take advantage of the winter season!
One way to do this is to hire the well renowned JUCY car or camper van. With branches in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, this is a great option for many New Zealanders. A lot of the time, we forget to explore our own home country and make the most of what we have around us. Never gone on a roadie before? Now is the perfect time! Costing only $40 a night during these winter months, this trip won’t break the bank.
2. HEAD TO THE MOUNTAINS
Pack your big ski jackets and head to Mt Ruapehu! Whether you are into skiing, snowboarding (or even tobogganing), there is something for everyone. Peak snow season is actually between June and October, so there is still time to get amongst it!
If you haven’t headed to Mt Ruapehu before, there’s a few things you should know. Firstly, there are two ski fields called Turoa and Whakapapa. If you are a bit wobbly on your skis, definitely pick Whakapapa as it is more suited for beginners. If you don’t know the first thing about snow sports, that is okay too! You can purchase a lesson and hire the gear if you need.
When you’re all tuckered out from your day in the snow, relax on the ‘Sky Waka’ gondola ride and take in the incredible views. Once you get to the top, you can experience some drool-worthy eateries. Maybe even try the well renowned hot choc from Lorenzs’ Bar and Cafe!
3. JUMP IN THE HOT POOLS
Nothing is better than a dip in a hot pool on a cold day. In New Zealand, we have plenty of natural hot springs, such as the Kerosene Springs in Rotorua. Not to mention, these natural hot springs are free so that is a massive plus!
If you don’t mind spending a little money, head to your local spa pool. Bathing in hot water is a treat on a blustery day, and is a great way to get outside in spite of the weather. I am based in Tauranga and love a trip to Fernland Spa or the Mount Maunganui Hot Pools.
If you are anywhere near the Coromandel and haven’t been to Hot Water Beach, you should. However you might have to dig your own make-shift spa, so be prepared to put in a little extra mahi. It is recommended to visit two hours either side of low tide, so make sure you plan your visiting time wisely.
4. TRY WHALE WATCHING
We have amazing marine life in New Zealand, and a lot of the time we take it for granted. If you head to Kaikoura in August, you might still be able to catch some of our majestic sea life out and about! They have set up a Whale Watch Kaikoura experience, where you can get up-close and personal with the marine life on a boat tour. If you’re not afraid of heights, you can even hop on a plan and look from up above. Not only will you see giant sperm whales, but also other marine life such as dolphins and fur seals.
There is also a great whale watching spot at Auckland’s Hauraki Golf. Orca’s and dolphins are frequent visitors, although sometimes you will see up to five different species on a single whale-watching cruise.
5. GET ACTIVE IN NATURE
By getting active, we can warm ourselves up naturally and get rid of the winter chills!
In New Zealand, we have plenty of prime spots for mountain biking. The Redwoods in Rotorua is a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike! With a variety of tracks that range from beginner to advanced, there is something for everyone. They also have a great shop that you can hire from all year round, so don’t worry about being unprepared.
Any one keen on a surf every now and then? Well, the swell is often great during the colder months. Despite this, the number of surfers in the water decreases dramatically. They invented wetsuits for a reason though, right? With less competition in the water, you can finally have your choice of breaks. Not to mention, the risk of burning to a crisp is greatly reduced. Some of the most popular winter surf spots include the coast of Raglan, Mount Maunganui and Gizzy so get exploring!
Need some help on the packing side? Head over to luggage.co.nz We have all your winter travel needs sorted.