New Zealand has always been a popular tourist destination because of its diverse landscape, glacial as well as volcanic islands, geothermal parks, friendly people, elegant architecture, and mouth watering cuisine. A country which is synonymous with perfection needs an absolute guide to be explored at its best. Therefore, here’s an elaborate travel guide that will help you in planning your next vacation in New Zealand in winter.
Is it a good time to visit New Zealand in winter?
Enjoying its close proximity to the coast, New Zealand experiences mild winters whereas the alpine region witnesses snowfall as well. Winters is a great time to visit New Zealand for nature and adventure enthusiasts as the beauty of the place is enhanced by the snow clad mountains and accompanied by numerous winter activities. Another fringe benefit of visiting New Zealand in winter is that it is an off-season, which is why, the country is not crowded, offers more privacy, and best New Zealand tour packages are available at pocket-friendly prices.
Which are the best places to visit in New Zealand in winter?
1. Sky Tower
Standing 328 meter tall, this prodigious building is the tallest structure in Southern Hemisphere. This 60 storey building is one of the best places to visit during your New Zealand winter travel as it offers panoramic views of the city, adrenaline activities like skyjump and skywalk, and fine dining experience at some of the most opulent restaurants in the city.
Location: Victoria St W, Auckland
Timings: 9 am to 10 pm
Entry Fee: Adults: $29, Children: $12 (Free entry for children below 5 years)
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2. International Antarctic Centre
Get ready to witness the modern day Antarctic life during your New Zealand winter trip at International Antarctic Centre. One of the award winning New Zealand’s tourist attractions, this place offers exciting activities to indulge in, such as Antarctic Storm, Hagglund Ride, 4D cruise, and Penguin Encounter.
Location: 38 Orchard Rd, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch
Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm
Entry Fee: Adults: $59, Children: $29 (Free entry for children below 5 years)
3. South Island
Go on a date with nature at New Zealand’s most picturesque island, the South Island. It is one of the best New Zealand places to visit in winter where one can encounter the snow-clad Alps, glacial valleys, shimmering lakes, rugged coastline, and flourishing flora & fauna.
Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, blanketed by the Alps, Queenstown is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers. Visit this place during your New Zealand winter vacation to indulge in thrilling activities such as bungee jumping, jet-boating, skiing, and hiking,
5. Canterbury Museum
Stand a chance to gather knowledge about the cultural and natural heritage of the country at Canterbury Museum during your New Zealand winter trip. Established in 1867, this museum showcases various exhibitions relating to natural and human history collection, and stories relating to Canterbury earthquake.
Location: Rolleston Ave, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee: None
What are the best things to do in New Zealand in Winter?
1. Skiing in Mount Ruapehu
Confused about what to do in New Zealand in winter? Don’t you worry, New Zealand has a lot in store for the adventure freak in you. Indulge in some of the most famous New Zealand winter activities such as snowboarding and skiing at Mount Ruapehu. Situated in North Island, amidst the volcanic landscape, this place is New Zealand’s largest winter playground housing 2 ski areas with a separate area for beginners.
2. Wash away your winter blues in the geothermal pools of Rotorua
Rotorua, in North Island, is famous for its geothermal activities and Maori culture. Head to this city after a freezing ski session for a cozy bath in these hot water springs, and mud pools, and also enjoy various types of spa therapies which will help you relax and rejuvenate during your New Zealand Winter trip.
3. Skydiving in Queenstown
Welcome to the adventure capital of the world-Queenstown. Quench your thirst for adventure in this thrilling town of New Zealand in winter as it offers various adrenaline activities such as skiing, jet-boating and skydiving. Throw yourself out in the sky and experience the thrill of a free fall by indulging in the venturesome activity called skydiving in New Zealand.
4. Whale Watching
One of the things to do in New Zealand in winter is whale watching. You can spot whales at various places like Whakatane, Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Islands, but Kaikoura is the only place in the world where one can spot giant sperm whales. As peak winters are the time of migration, one can also witness other sea species as well which migrate towards the continental shelf close to Kaikoura.
5. Overnight Hiking to Mount Cook
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Your trip to New Zealand in winter lures you for the best hiking experience to the highest peak in the country, Mount Cook. Hiking along glacial tracks of the Alps in South Island with majestic views of the valley, river system, alluring pools, and the mesmerizing sunset.
Must Experiences in New Zealand in winter?
1. Winter Festivals
Kiwi winter season marks the beginning of a festive season as well. Numerous festivals are held in various parts of New Zealand in winter. Some of the best festivals are Jazz festival in Wellington, Steampunk festival in Oamaru, Fieldays in Hamilton, and Winter F.A.W.C in Hawke’s Bay, and many more.
2. Witness the vivid wildlife at Zealandia
Situated in the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, Zealandia is world’s fully fenced ecosanctuary which aims at conserving the freshwater ecosystem in the valley. Buy tickets in advance to skip the line and witness some of the rare species such as tūī, kākā, tīeke, hihi, little spotted kiwi, tuatara, and many more. Witnessing the rare species in the cold New Zealand climate is a delightful experience.
Location: 53 Waiapu Rd, Karori, Wellington 6012
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee: Adults: $19.5, Children: $10 (Free entry for children below 5 years)
3. Tamaki Maori Village
Witness the Maori culture during your trip to New Zealand at Tamaki Maori Village. Set inside a 200 year old forest, this place depicts the ancient Maori culture, traditions, dance, music, art weaving, wood crafting, facial tattooing. Also indulge into a war practice session, and finally taste the authentic Maori food before heading back to your accommodation.
Location: 1220 Hinemaru St, Rotorua city, Rotorua 3040
Timings: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entry Fee: Adults: $130, Children: $70 (10-15 years) and $35 (5-9 years) (Free entry for children below 5 years)
Average Budget Per Person Per Day In New Zealand
All the main factors like accommodation, local transfers, meals, sightseeing, shopping, and other expenses have been considered for arriving at an estimated budget for an exquisite vacation in New Zealand during winters.
While it is just an estimate, a breakup of the budget per person per day has been listed below:
Flights (Delhi to Auckland): INR 95,000 (round trip)
Avg. Accommodation: INR 3,500 to INR 8,000 (Standard room on double-sharing basis at a 3-star or a 4-star hotel)
Meals: INR 2,500 to INR 3,000 (Lunch & Dinner – excluding taxes)
Sightseeing: INR 2,500
Transfers: INR 2,000 (for hiring a car per day)
Miscellaneous: INR 4,500 to INR 5,000
Average Budget Per Person Per Day: INR 15,000
- Flight rates have been excluded as the amount differs for every traveler and their destination’s origin.
- Arriving at Auckland is much cheaper than boarding a flight to Queenstown.
- An average accommodation price has been included on the basis of standard rooms at budgeted yet lavish hotels in the average budget to arrive at an estimate.
- Also, the lower limit has been included to calculate the average budget.
Which are the best places to stay in New Zealand in winter?
1. Solitaire Lodge
Located in close proximity to North Island, Solitaire Lodge offers the most luxurious stay in New Zealand. With cozy suites decorated in contemporary style, overlooking Lake Tarawera, and providing facilities like hot spring bath, private helipad, and an opulent restaurant, it is one of the best places to stay in New Zealand in winter.
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2. Chateau on the Park, A DoubleTree By Hilton
This hotel boasts of a top notch 4 star property situated in a serene environment close to the city centre. It is one of the best hotels that offers restful rooms, 24×7 room service, restaurant, bar, fitness centre, and a private vineyard for a memorable trip to New Zealand in winter.
3. Heartland Hotel Queenstown
If you are looking for budget accommodations for your trip to New Zealand in winter then check in at Heartland Hotel that offers luxury at economical prices. Built in Swiss style, it is one of the best hotels in Queenstown that offers various services such as buffet breakfast, fine dining restaurant, and a wellness centre for rejuvenation.
Which Are The Most Romantic Restaurants In New Zealand
1. Logan Brown Restaurant
Situated in the capital city of New Zealand, this upmarket restaurant is a must visits during your trip to New Zealand in winter. Built inside an old bank building with a Colonial styled ambience, this restaurant is famous for its chef’s special 5 course meal, and a set lunch menu for a meagre $45 per person.
Location: 192 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 6141
Timings: Sunday-Tuesday: 12 pm to 12 am
Cuisine: British, French, European
Average Meal For Two (With Alcohol): Starts from INR 9,000 (tax excluded)
Zomato Ratings: 4.4/5 | Reviews | Website
2. Orbit 360
Situated at the 52nd level of the prodigious Sky Tower, Orbit 360 restaurant offers delectable food along with panoramic views of the city from a bird’s eye perspective. Treat yourself with a luxurious dining experience at Orbit 360 during your trip to New Zealand in winter which offers lip smacking British cuisine served by an extremely courteous staff.
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Location: Sky Tower Corner Federal and Victoria Streets, Auckland
Timings: Monday to Friday- 11:30 am to 2:15 pm & 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm , Saturday to Sunday- 11 am to 4:30 pm & 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Average Meal For Two (With Alcohol): Starts from INR 6,800 (tax excluded)
Zomato Ratings: 4.1/5 | Reviews | Website
3. Fiddlesticks Restaurant
Looking for budget dining during your trip to New Zealand in winter? Then head straight to Fiddlesticks Restaurant located in the heart of Christchurch. This restaurant is offers a fine dining experience at reasonable prices. It also hosts happy hours when customers can enjoy their booze along with exciting offers and discounts.
Location: 48 Worcester Blvd, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Timings: Monday to Friday- 8 am to 10 pm, Saturday to Sunday- 9 am to 10 pm
Cuisine: Kiwi, European
Average Meal For Two (With Alcohol): Starts from INR 3,600 (tax excluded)
Zomato Ratings: 4.7/5 | Reviews | Website
How to reach New Zealand?
Since New Zealand has evolved as a popular tourist destination over the years, therefore, the means of reaching this country have also developed a lot. New Zealand is now connected to almost all parts of the world via airways. Traveling by air is the quickest, and the most economical way to reach New Zealand. It is recommended to book tickets well in advance to avoid higher fare prices for your trip to New Zealand in winter.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Zealand In Winter
Q: Where does it snow in New Zealand in winter?
A: High altitude areas of South and North Island are the only areas that witness snowfall in New Zealand in winter. It rarely snows in cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Q: Which is the best time to visit New Zealand?
A: Autumn, i.e., March to May, is the best time to visit New Zealand as the weather is pleasant and suitable for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Also, the peak tourist season is over by this time, therefore, places are not crowded and accommodations and flights are available at reasonable prices.
Q: What all should a person keep in mind while backpacking for New Zealand in winter?
A: Most of the areas of New Zealand lie close to the coast, therefore, winters are mild. Southern parts of the country are quite cold in winters. Hence, one should pack warm woolen clothes while traveling to New Zealand in winter.
Q: What is the currency of New Zealand?
A: New Zealand Dollar (NZD) is the official currency of the country. 1 NZD is equivalent to 45.28 INR and the exchange rate keeps fluctuating every now and then.
Q: Which are the best ways of getting around in New Zealand in winter?
A: Being a backpacker’s destination, New Zealand offers abundant means of transport to get around the country. Some of the best means of getting around New Zealand in winter are vehicle renting, buses, trains, and vehicle ferries.
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