When it’s summer in the Northern hemisphere, it’s winter in New Zealand! What better way to beat the heat than to plan an exciting winter trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud? Here are some suggestions for your itinerary based on the latest additions to some of New Zealand’s most popular destinations during the winter months of June through August.
Planning a Winter Trip to New Zealand
When you fly into New Zealand, chances are you will arrive in the country’s largest city and airport. Start by making your flight reservations and finding a car rental in Auckland. You will need to map out your itinerary but with the right car rental company, you can easily drive between the North and South Islands using the Interislander Ferry system and even return your rental car elsewhere, such as Wellington, Christchurch or Queenstown.
Family Skiing and Snowboarding
Some of the places you may want to include in your itinerary are those where the skiing and snowboarding opportunities are plentiful.
Mt. Hutt, just an hour away from the Christchurch International Airport on the South Island, has a new Early Childhood Centre. This allows adults to hit the slopes while their kids are being taken care of. The Kids 4 Free program allows older children to enjoy winter sports along with their parents for a budget-friendly vacation. The Kruiser Club is in operation during July for kids aged 5 to 15 so they can learn to ski or snowboard.
Close to Queenstown, the Remarkables Mountains feature family-friendly skiing, as well. They have activities specially geared toward children and newly transformed trails for those just learning how to ski. The Burton Snowboard clinic targets intermediate and advanced skiers who want to hone their skills. Camps for kids aged 8 to 17 are scheduled for July. The Tubing Park is a great place for enjoying the snow without having to strap on a pair of skis. Après ski, the Ice Bar is a popular destination for drinks and dinner.
While visiting the South Island, families might want to check out Treble Cone, too. With the largest ski slopes and the longest vertical rise on the island, there is something for everyone in your family. The Jazz Kids Fun Trail is perfect for young beginners to take lessons and enjoy specially marked trails. Parents can make plans for the Ultimate Ski Day, which includes transport via private helicopter and jet boat along with a day of snow skiing.
Destinations for Singles and Couples
A short drive from Queenstown is Coronet Peak. Opening June 8, this is a great place for singles (straight or gay) to take the Cupid Express to the top of the mountain and possibly meet a new match! After skiing, enjoy a bratwurst from the new Greengates Ice Bar or a casual meal at the renovated Heidi’s Hut.
Thrill seekers will want to make plans to ski Mount Ruapehu, home to the North Island’s only two skiing resorts. Whakapapa features the longest trails while Turoa boasts the longest vertical descent and the highest lift.
On the North Island, the Lake Taupo region is another popular destination for adults who don’t ski but still want to enjoy New Zealand’s cold winter weather. Choose from activities such as mountain biking, golfing or simply relaxing in hot thermal pools. Visitors in August can attend Winterfest and enjoy a film festival, sled dog races and a winter ball although there are other annual events, such as a mid-winter ball and an art show scheduled in June and July.