Just because its winter in New Zealand doesn’t mean that you will struggle to find ways to entertain yourself. In fact, New Zealand is gorgeous during the winter season with plenty of things to do and places to see making it the ideal destination for a wintertime road trip in a rental van.

"On the road to the Alps. NZ" BY Bernard Spragg. NZ via flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/32739252695 under Public Domain

If you’re searching for a vacation full of adventure, fun, and long-lasting memories then New Zealand is the place to be!  Not many people realise just how incredibly beautiful this country is, unless of course, you are a big-time Lord of the Rings fan. With much of the scenery in the movies being filmed in this location, you can only imagine how gorgeous it is to see it in real life – even in winter.

If you’re considering a road trip in New Zealand, check out the following places you just have to stop by:

Include Queenstown on your itinerary

Everyone knows it: Queenstown is fabulous during the winter. There are so many things to do that visitors just don’t stand a chance at getting bored. If you’re travelling with your family, one thing you must do is to join in on the fun of the Queenstown Winter Festival! Here you can expect to see races, both in the snow and even on the water, as well as typical festivities including fireworks, delicious food, and refreshing drinks.

"Winter Queenstown." BY Bernard Spragg. NZ via flickr.com/photos/volvob12b/9721028559 under a Public Domain

Queenstown is also a place where you can go night skiing. While this isn’t often heard of, there is a place called Coronet Peak that will allow it.  There are also the relaxing Onsen hot pools that you can visit as a break from the action-packed days on the slopes.

Visit Rotorua and warm up in the hot springs

Speaking of hot springs, Rotorua is a great destination for winter time fun. While the weather is cool, its decent enough to enjoy the outdoors and you can explore the forests while cycling or hiking. You can even have some days of relaxation in the hot springs in the area.

"New Zealand: Polynesian Thermal Spa in Rotorua" BY Eli Duke via flickr.com/photos/elisfanclub/6187666225 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

Another benefit of visiting this area is learning more about the Maori culture and its fascinating history.

Check out Arthur’s Pass

Arthur’s Pass National Park is a must-see destination if you are winter road-tripping in a camper van hire. Just take a look at the picture below – need I say more?

"Arthur's Pass, New Zealand" BY Mrs. Gemstone via flickr.com/photos/gemstone/325745510 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

The snowy mountains, the beautiful views, and the skiing fun make this a destination to visit in the winter. Just make sure to winter-proof your vehicle before setting out.

Go skiing in Ohakune

If you are up to more skiing, which you should be if you’re visiting New Zealand in the winter, you may want to head on over to Ohakune.

"Ohakune" BY Jeff Hitchcock via flickr.com/photos/arbron/8288723726 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Here you can visit the Whanganui National Park, as well as the Tongariro National Park while also having the opportunity to ski at the Turoa ski field.

Go to Kaikoura to see some of the best marine life

If you’re an animal lover, you will want to check out Kaikoura in the winter time. Here you can expect to enjoy watching whales off the coast line – a truly memorable experience!

"Kaikoura - Whale Watching" BY whoapower via flickr.com/photos/whoapower/4398163613 under a Creative Commons attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

You’ll love Kaikoura because it’s a beautiful city located right by the water, meaning you get the best of both worlds. Just imagine seeing the snow capped mountains in contrast with the ocean. Don’t forget to book a tour to go whale watching—you may even get to see other marine wildlife.

Visit wineries

Sure. This is something that you can do all throughout the year, but why not enjoy wine to warm your spirits during New Zealand’s cold months? What could be better than observing beautiful snowy views while sipping on rich reds?

"Vines @ Marlborough, New Zealand" BY Tim Parkinson via flickr.com/photos/timparkinson/272103865 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Marlborough is a well-known wine-destination where you can be sure to enjoy some of the best wines found in New Zealand. Or, you could visit Napier, where you’ll be rewarded with coastal beauty and world-class bottles.

See Hakatere in the winter

Definitely worth a glimpse in the winter, Hakatere is already a gorgeous area in the summer, so you can only imagine how this region full of natural beauty looks in the winter.

Frozen lakes, snowcapped mountains, and views you can’t even imagine make Hakatere a favorite winter destination for locals and tourists alike.

Visit any and every beach if you like

While ski destinations are full of people in the winter, the beaches aren’t as busy. This means that if you were looking for an enjoyable visit to the beach, you won’t regret going in the winter.

While you may not want to don swimmers or a bikini, strolling along the beach will be particularly peaceful, especially with snowy mountains in the distance.

Don’t let the idea of cold weather dissuade you from seeing New Zealand in the winter. Fortunately, the views and beauty of this country are worth it, no matter the season. For those who love snow, skiing, and cool weather, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure to get your camper van hire winter ready, pack some warm blankets, and enjoy the winter vacation of a lifetime.

Don’t forget to download our brand new ApolloConnect App!

With access to campsites, vehicle ‘how-to’ & safety videos plus great deals on local attractions, ApolloConnect is your must-have travel companion.


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