A global study by Expedia recently reported that New Zealanders are depriving themselves of holidays1. It seems we all need to work harder at taking time off!
While New Zealanders are good at summer holidays – bach, boat and beach – winter’s when you really need a break. So with this in mind, here are our picks for a cool weather getaway in our gorgeous country.
Wish you were in Wellington
Wellington isn’t always windy. You’re just as likely to strike clear days and mild temperatures, making it easy to set off explorations of the culture-intense inner city area.
You could easily spend a day or two exploring Te Papa and the City Gallery. The hunt for live music could find you at the Town Hall or a jazz bar. And no visit to Wellington would be complete without a visit to Bats Theatre for some live drama. To tune into New Zealand’s cinematic culture, visit Weta Workshop in Mirimar and see what’s playing at Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (NZ Film Archive) in Taranaki Street.
On and off the snow in Canterbury
Canterbury’s big winter attraction is Mount Hutt, which is known for wide, welcoming slopes and reliable snow cover. The field is reputed to have the lightest, driest powder in Australasia; it also has the longest season, opening in early June and running until late October.
Even if snow fun is your main focus, other attractions around Christchurch will encourage you to diversify. Allocate a day to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa, where eco-adventures on the harbour are the thing to do. And the port town of Lyttelton has become famous for great coffee and food. Time your visit for a Saturday and you can also check out the Lyttelton farmers’ market.
Taking it easy in Queenstown and Wanaka
Snow sport up on the mountains and fun down in the valleys – that’s the deal when you head to Queenstown or Wanaka for a winter holiday.
Queenstown has two snow sport areas – Coronet Peak and the Remarkables. Both have excellent areas for beginners, as well as more challenging terrain for intermediate and expert skiers and boarders. Live music on the deck at lunchtime is a Remarkables speciality – you can watch the antics of kea (mountain parrots) and soak up the huge views. Coronet Peak is the only field in New Zealand that offers night skiing.
If you choose Wanaka as your base, there are three snow sport areas within easy reach of the town - Cardrona, Treble Cone and Snow Farm. Cardrona is very family-friendly, while Treble Cone offers amazing challenges for more experienced skiiers. Snow Farm is New Zealand’s home of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fatbiking (mountain biking with extra-fat tyres), with 55kms of scenic trails.
When you’re not on the slopes, Wanaka and Queenstown have great pubs and restaurants, beer tasting, golf, horse trekking, wine-tasting, hiking, biking and lake cruises.