New Zealand – a Winter Wonderland
New Zealand’s summer months are often seen as the perfect escape from the cold dark days of a British winter. However, for those with perhaps a little more time on their hands and able to travel outside peak summer season, winter is an equally attractive proposition to visit the land of the long white cloud.
Winter in New Zealand
Make the most of New Zealand’s infinite winter charms and enjoy a holiday during the UK summer months. It may be winter on the other side of the world, but if the thought of being too cold has deterred you from visiting during July and August, think again. Winter has far more to offer than you may think – fewer visitors, a variety of attractions, greater flexibility and availability, extra seasonal activities, affordable holidays at reduced cost, snow-dusted landscapes and the sort of soft light that is perfect for photo opportunities.
North Island in winter
With a temperate climate, days are milder than you might imagine in the North Island, especially in the ‘winterless’ Far North . Spend your day exploring the region’s forests, beaches and countless islands, before returning to one of New Zealand’s luxury lodges to enjoy the finest food, wine and pampering, with a superb range of spa treatments.
South Island in winter
Simply stunning at the best of times, the South Island can be even more spectacular in the crisp winter months. July and August are potentially the best months to visit when the weather is cold but clear. This time of year also often allows better viewing of the Southern Alps with magnificent glaciers, lakes and mountains providing a photographer’s dream.
New Zealand’s wildlife
Ever present is the wildlife of New Zealand, particularly whales, dolphins and penguins. Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales. And then there’s the Hector’s dolphin, one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins found only in New Zealand waters. There are three species of wonderful penguin, the incredibly rare Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin), found on the Otago Peninsula; the korora (little-blue) penguin, the smallest in the world, can be found on the South Island; and finally the tawaki (Fiordland crested), which is one of the world’s rarest penguins .This beautiful bird lives in the rainforested areas of Haast, Lake Moeraki, Stewart Island and Fiordland.
Take your pick of the best weather days for sightseeing and adventure, while spending the less favourable days relaxing with a glass of NZ wine in front of a roaring fire, looking out at the dramatic winter wonderland outside.
Feeling inspired to visit New Zealand in the winter? Why not consider our Winter Wonderland holiday and discover snow-capped mountains, frozen glaciers and sparkling lakes as you follow a circular route from the picturesque town of Christchurch. Experience one of the world’s greatest train journeys, the TranzAlpine, through mountain gorges and dramatic scenery, enjoy a full day guided snowshoeing adventure in Queenstown, bathe in the natural hot pools at Hanmer Spring and marvel at the alpine beauty of Wanaka.
Read our Best time to visit New Zealand article for more top tips on when to travel.