If you’re from countries like the United States or the UK, when you think winter, you probably think of hibernation time. But, generally, the winter season in New Zealand is a lot milder than those places, which is awesome because we still have first rate ski resorts but you can also walk on the beach in Nelson or go whitewater rafting in Rotorua.
Depending on where you are, maximum temperatures average between 10 degrees Celsius down South (50F) to 16+ degrees Celsius (61F) up north – that’s practically summer in some places around the world! Some of us crazy Kiwis even surf in wetsuits over winter. Low temperatures can drop to under freezing though, especially in the South Island, which is way cooler then the North Island, so if you are visiting New Zealand in winter make sure to bring warm clothing – we recommend layers, and merino thermals are always a winner. Auckland and Northland don’t experience snowfall, while inland places anywhere south of Tongariro (in the centre of the North Island) tend to enjoy their fair share from June to August.
It goes without saying that skiing and snowboarding are at their best in our winter months. If this sounds like a bit of you, Queenstown or Wanaka are the best places to base yourself from. Many towns in the South Island – especially those that are more inland – turn into a winter wonderland during this time of year, and the crisp, clear light when it’s cooler lends itself to beautiful photography. It’s always a good idea to check the weather report regularly if you’re visiting during winter.